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"Helicopter" Parenting: beneficial or hurtful in our children's development?

More and more I see parents not letting their children take the "bumps and bruises" that are part of the development process to become strong adults. Are we hurting their development? Are we creating a generation that feels entitled?

What are the benefits and ramifications of Helicopter parenting?

My definition of "helicopter" parenting is lobbying coaches for your child to get more playing time in high school sports or getting in the middle of a roommate conflict in college. There are other more minor acts as they grow up - blessing out another child who slide tackles your kid but thinks its great when your child does it in rec soccer. My personal favorite is going to your teens former employer and yelling at the owner for firing him for wrecking the delivery truck because he was texting and driving.

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    Sep 15 2013: I am lucky that I was given two parents that were not very hovering. I have thought about parenting for much of my childhood, mainly because I'm very reflective and try to see other people's points of view on situations. So let's tackle the question and subquestions.

    I see helicopter parenting as hurting a child's development. I have a couple reasons for this answer. One: helicopter parenting does not give a child a sense of responsibility or a belief that things must be earned. If a parent consistently tries to perfect a child's life by removing the consequences of the child's actions, I believe the child will grow up expecting someone else to stand up for them and thinking that there mistakes do not matter very much, which promotes carelessness. Two (partly addressed in the first explanation): h-parenting leads to the child thinking they have little control in their lives. I believe that if a parent or anyone really is deciding what their child should do and will do from infancy to nearly-a-legal-adult years, that child will likely become increasingly dependent on someone else after they move from that governing person. For example, if a mother always cleans up (cleaning up includes dishes and laundry as well as just picking up after them) after a child throughout his life, the grown "child" will most likely expect that to be done from him and if/when he marries or has a serious relationship, he will most likely expect his significant other to do the same as his mother. Now this isn't the best h-parenting example since just because your parents are deciding things for you doesn't mean they clean up after you, but I think this is a decent example of what happens when a child mainly, if not wholly, relies on another person to do something for him/her.
  • Sep 13 2013: It is natural to look out for your child. To hover and stay close to them so that they don't hurt themselves. The opposite of that is neglect, which is far worse.

    The trick is to know when you can start to let go and let them make their own mistakes on their own.

    Parents who hang on too tightly, do not allow their children to fail and learn. Those are the children that will struggle in the future.
  • Sep 13 2013: I personally think it hurts the development of the child. I have seen parents involved in high school and even college.
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    Sep 15 2013: Part 2

    There are defnitely other cons to h-parenting, but I can't think of any major ones right now, so I'll try to think of some advantages to h-parenting. H-parenting can lead to a better on-paper preparation for colleges and life with a lot of community service, clubs, and history of employment and good grades, even though my belief is that a child pursuing what he or she likes (most likely multiple things) is the best preparation for continued education and a future career. H-parenting may also give the child a hope (even if a false hope) that they are better than they are, which while it could lead to cockyness, but may give the child some confidence.

    I'll try to think of some more pros and cons, but for know I hope that this will suffice (let me know if it doesn't). Thanks for the question!
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      Sep 16 2013: I appreciate that you are taking the analytic approach of looking for positives as well as negatives. I think you are right that parents can sometimes secure for their children valuable opportunities- not just on paper- that those children could not have secured for themselves. This is true whether the parent is of the "helicopter" type or not.

      Some things may be lost and some things gained.
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    Sep 13 2013: Here is a short article I read a while back on this subject:

    http://www.parenting.com/article/helicopter-parenting

    Personally, I must agree with what Fritzie stated.
    As parents we have to know when to step in, and when to keep out.
    Kids are like rubber bands. ....you want to release them progressively.....little by little.

    As an educator I have seen the full spectrum of parenting personalities........from helicopter parents all the way through to neglectful ones.

    Balance is key.

    Great topic.
    • Sep 13 2013: How often have you had a parent come in and gripe that little Johnny can't complete all of his homework because you give him to much, but the rest of class gets it done? Another good one is a parent lobbying for the method of determining the valedictorian of their child's class wanting to change the grade point value of class because "arbitrarily" is not as tough as the classes their child takes? Or threaten to sue the school district if their child isn't Valedictorian?
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        Sep 14 2013: I think some parents have 'control' issues......

        Many times in affluent areas, there are parents who wield their pocketbook to get favors for their child........even getting a teacher from the same grade level their child is in, to tutor the child in areas of weaknesses.............Their definition of tutoring?.............A word for word review of the test that will be administered the following day in his own class.

        Trust me Spencer...........I've seen it all, and then some!!

        Don't get me started.

        Helicopter parents do a lot of harm to their child, because they do not trust the child to make choices on his/her own..............If the parent discovers the root of why she helicopters, then maybe, just maybe, she can change her parenting style enough to undo some of the harm.
        And I say she, because I personally have only seen moms do this type of parenting.
        • Sep 14 2013: Dads do it too...especially in the areas of sport. My problem is I'm seeing more and more of this ... and it is weakening our country.
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          Sep 15 2013: I have seen the dad version, but less often.
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        Sep 14 2013: How do you make the connection from helicopter parents to ........ weakening our country.
        I'm a bit curious.

        It seems to me that these types of parents have always been around........If there are more of them, then there must be a 'root' cause.

        Have you done any serious reading on this topic?
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    Sep 12 2013: I think most people who study or work in child development would say that young people learn executive function by using it rather than by relying on adults to steer them through all their decisions. Parenting is about progressively letting kids make their own decisions as they become capable of judgment. That includes making mistakes along the way.

    The key, of course, is to identify which decisions a child is ready to make when. The costs of bad choices differ widely among the decisions kids might be allowed to make. The term "helicopter parent" usually refers to a parent who orchestrates aspects of a child's life in which the child's making his own choices would not have potentially devastating implications. It would not be "helicopter" not to hand over the car keys to a kid who is not ready to drive safely.
    • Sep 13 2013: I agree with you on all points. My definition of "helicopter" parenting is lobbying coaches for your child to get more playing time in high school sports or getting in the middle of a roommate conflict in college. There are other more minor acts as they grow up - blessing out another child who slide tackles your kid but thinks its great when your child does it in rec soccer. My personal favorite is going to your teens former employer and yelling at the owner for firing him for wrecking the delivery truck because he was texting and driving.
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      Sep 15 2013: The dad version of helicopter parenting.............have you seen it with everyday life choices, or out in the field of athletics......where???
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        Sep 15 2013: I don't have any experience with the athletic field- only academic concerns.