Being a helicopter parent is something that most of us don’t want to think we are. A helicopter parent is exactly what it sounds like; it is a parent that hovers too closely for comfort. A helicopter parent is a parent that refuses to give their child the space they need to experience a normal childhood. The intentions of a helicopter parent are undoubtedly good but the results can be very bad. The result of helicopter parenting is an overanxious parent and a child dealing with stress issues that desperately wants a little breathing room.
Why do parents turn into helicopter parents? Usually it is because they have fears about their child developing their own life apart from them or things that could happen to their child. They may have been the sole caregiver for their child since birth with little or no help, making them feel overly responsible.
If you see signs of being a helicopter parent in yourself, there are things that you can do. Slowly, carefully start giving your child a little breathing room. You don’t have to let go completely all at one time. Start by allowing your child to walk themselves halfway down the hall to their classroom alone.
Encourage your child’s independence. They may feel a little anxious without you hovering constantly in the background because that is all they have ever known. Encourage them to take a few steps out on their own and be sure to applaud them when they do.
Drop the guilt. If you have been a helicopter parent, don’t waste time feeling guilty. It is a fixable situation. And give yourself a break. You only behaved that way out of love for your child, regardless if it was the correct parenting strategy or not.
She Knows has an informative article on avoiding being a helicopter parent.