No one sets out to be a helicopter parent. We all want the best for our children and do our best to prepare them to succeed in the world. However, sometimes, this can lead to becoming a helicopter parent.
The world is a complicated place, full of amazing beauty and its share of disappointments. Parents want to protect their children from the frustrations of life, and so try to make life easier for them.
Helicopter Parenting at Its Finest
Born out of worries and fears, both real and imagined, helicopter parenting or over-parenting is a regimented parenting style used to protect the mental and physical well-being of the child, even at the risk of stifling the child’s development.
As much as you want to, it is impossible to protect your children all of the time. Instead, it is better to equip them to take care of themselves.
According to Self-Determination Theory, everyone needs three things for healthy development:
- Confidence in their abilities
- Feel loved and cared for
The closer we all get to have these three needs met, the more satisfied we are with our lives. Based on this theory, Holly M. Schiffrin and Miriam Liss, and their co-authors measured the effects of helicopter parenting on college students. The results of the study indicated that over-parenting undermined these three basic needs.
The Impacts of Helicopter Parenting
The impacts of helicopter parenting aren’t all bad. Helicopter parenting can be a warm and supportive parenting style that encourages ongoing communication, emotional support, and openness between parents and children. The downside is that when parents solve their children’s problems for them, they may not develop the competence and confidence to solve their problems.
The difficulty lies in recognizing when the instinct to overprotect kicks in and learning when to step in and when to back off. Children do need guidance and support as they move through their teenage years and develop into adults. Parents need to respect boundaries to ensure that their teens mature and thrive.
At GR8NESS, we recognize that no matter how much you want to, you can’t protect your children all the time. We also know that striking the perfect balance isn’t easy. Take this quiz to find out if you are a helicopter parent, a free-range parent, or if you’ve found a balance between the two.