Are You a Helicopter Parent?

Are You a Helicopter Parent?

A friend once recounted to me how she was cautioned by her spouse on being “over-protective” as she was hovering over her 4-year-old daughter who was being left out of the ongoing game at a birthday party. It was a bit of a shocker to me, and on browsing the internet that is a favorite source of information; I was introduced to the term “helicopter parenting”. It makes you want to laugh out loud as the coining is so appropriate, but it is happening more and more with parents and children everywhere.

Helicopter parenting is a colloquial term coined in the 21st century to describe over protectiveness displayed by parents over their young children. The reference to helicopter is used to describe the ‘hovering’ habit of some parents, wherein they are never out of reach.

Keeping children safe is a priority for all parents but, where does one draw the line between being protective and becoming over protective? With all the information available to kids nowadays, and the use of computers from a young age, internet safety is one of the biggest concerns most parents face. Depending on our individual style of parenting we might choose to deal with such situations in our own way. Some may choose internet monitoring tools, while others may choose to only have a frank talk with the child and occasionally monitor their internet use.

It is essential for all young children to be taught the concepts of safety using simple instances and terms like “stranger danger”. This will help them understand that there are situations when it is important for them to make a noise and draw the attention of known elders. But at other times where the situation is only something that might bring disappointment, not danger, it may be a good idea for parents to let the child figure out and manage for themselves.

In order not to become helicopter parents it is essential to step back from the situation and assess if it would in any way harm the child if you don’t intervene. If the only difference you can make is to protect your child from getting hurt emotionally, then try to look at it as something that will teach him/her to confidently handle things on their own without depending on you each time.

Parenting is a big responsibility. It is important to recognize the line between being concerned parents and overprotective ones, to be able to teach your child to be independent and capable of handling any situation they might find themselves in.

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