Helicopter Parenting


A study conducted in India based in Mumbai stated that 75% of the Indian mothers had helicopter parenting style.

Helicopter parenting is an intrusive parenting style, which is described as an over-controlling behaviour of parents which can affect the children’s ability to manage their emotions and deal with challenging demands of growing up. The parents are hovering around their children and controlling every aspect of their child’s life.

Hike in Helicopter Parenting!

Helicopter parents being brought up in the 80’s and 90’s who were raised by parents following an hands-off approach, where they were allowed to play with friends a lot of time, eat food from street vendors and relatively less pressure to score high marks. They are adopting a helicopter parenting style basically because of the unfold fear of one’s child being left behind in the rat race. Most parents also feel that unless their child is good in every step, they are incomplete as a parent.

Clinical psychologist mentions that most of these parents suffer from low self-worth and they want to change this by excelling as parents. Further, they wish that their child should be exceptional so that it can boost their self-confidence. Though most of the helicopter parents starts off with a good intention, eventually they end up doing more harm than good.

Are you a helicopter parent?

Few signs which distinguishes helicopter parents from the others.

  • Waiting in school for long-hours to pick child up.
  • Writing long letters or message to teachers constantly checking about their child’s progress and development.
  • Dissuading the child from talking to others kids.
  • Pressuring the child to indulge in activities of your choice.

  • Deciding for your child even for smaller things.
  • Doing things for your child like homework, activities.
  • Fighting your child’s battle like speaking for your child when he/she struggles in putting forward his/her view.
  • Planning and maintaining your child’s activities/ schedules.
  • Getting angry while someone (relative/ friend) tries to correct your child’s behaviour.
  • Yelling out directives to your child.
  • Spending sleepless night thinking or worrying about your child.
  • Heart palpitation on letting your child out for trips.

In general, constant worry about the child’s safety, imposing more restriction on the child and feeling more anxious about child’s matter.

Implication of Helicopter Parenting

Parent involvement in the child’s life can be extremely beneficial, but only to the extent if it is developmentally appropriate. Research suggests few positive implication of helicopter parenting.

  • Parents who are involved with the child provide appropriate support for their development by providing them a sense of belonging.
  • Parent involvement tend to facilitate in academic achievement of child and also improve their ability to build relationship with others.
  • High level of maternal support is associated with hope and socially acceptable behaviour in young age.
  • Children who have helicopter parents feel positive towards them i.e.., they feel that they are involved and emotionally supportive.

Children learn through trial and error, unfortunately helicopter parenting limit the child’s ability to engage in this opportunity and research indicates that helicopter parenting can stunt a child’s cognitive and emotional development.

  • Reduce the child’s ability to succeed with their own initiative.
  • Makes the child less perseverant in nature.
  • Difficulty in psychosocial adjustment in later years of life.
  • Engaging in socially inappropriate behaviour like acting out and externalisation of problem.
  • Reduce the child’s ability to develop growth mind-set i.e.., develop essential trait like grit (passionate and persevere challenging task) and curiosity (being open to learning new things).

  • Leads the child to develop fixed mind-set and poor coping skills.
  • Lack of self-confidence, because of their inability to handle their issues themselves.
  • Sticking to their comfort zone and only doing things that they are comfortable with, without exploring other dimensions.
  • Rebellious and stubborn behaviour because of the lack of freedom.
  • Increases the vulnerability to have mental health illness like depression, anxiety, eating disorder and dependency.

Change your parenting style

Experts believe that helicopter parenting is due to the abandoned dreams that the parents hold. Here are few strategies that parent could use, in order to work on their parenting style.

  • Giving the child the space: Providing the child the space and autonomy to make decision according to his/ her age level and face the consequence of his/her decision.
  • Don’t expect every activity to be geared towards achievement: Don’t pressurise/ force the child about performing the best in everything he/she takes up.
  • Get real with kids: Ask the child if they are feeling hovered and if so, work out ways to build trust.
  • Delegate responsibility: Indulge the client in some activities like household chores or doing an activity of their choice rather than you doing all their works.
  • Constructive Feedback: Provide constructive feedback to the child based on his/her behaviour and action. Encourage the child for what he/she has done well and areas that the child needs to work on or improve.
  • Take a back seat: Accepting the fact that it is your child’s life, supporting them but taking a back seat in order to let the child face their own challenges and learn from their own experiences and mistakes.
  • Give leeway gradually: Allow the child to explore activities on their own without you constantly providing directives or supervising them.
  • Reclaim your time: Pursue activities that is of interest to you than overseeing your child all the time.
  • Psychoeducating the parent about helicopter parenting and its negative effect.
  • Exhibiting appropriate behaviour to the child by using positive coping strategies to express their emotion and behaviour, so the child learns from their parents who serves as model.
  • Accepting the child to be: Understanding and coming into terms with fact that the child is an individual being who has to live his/her life through his/her experiences.
  • Social Support: Talk to fellow parents or an elder member to get an idea about how to rear a child effectively and to get an idea of how they are dealing with the issue.
  • Seeking professional help: If you feel, your signs are beyond your personal control make yourself open to seeking professional help.

Acknowledge the fact that supporting your child with love and not with fear is the best thing for your child and always remember that your child came through you not to you!