Avoiding Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting is a parenting style where parents are overprotective, undermine their child’s independence, and struggle to give up control over their kids’ lives. It’s often detrimental to the child’s development for a myriad of reasons. It can hinder creativity in kids, breed anxiety for both children and parents, and ultimately keep them from learning to self-regulate

As parents, despite our need to care for our kids every chance we get, we ought to find a balance between being supportive and not overbearing.

Types of Parenting Styles

According to researchers and psychologists, there are four different parenting styles:

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Authoritative
  3. Permissive
  4. Neglectful

Diana Baumrind developed the first three styles as a result of studying the effects of differential parenting in early childhood. The fourth category, “neglectful,” came as a result of the expansion Of Baumrind’s work, Along with evidence that these early parenting styles have adverse and predictable impacts on adolescent development and academic success of kids.

Baumrind’s Conclusion 

Alongside other professionals, Baumrind consistently found the authoritative parenting style-marked with a balance of high demands and high responsiveness- to be the best way of supporting kids without stepping into the realm of extreme, overbearing helicopter parenting. Since parents set the expectations and enforce safe boundaries while being warm and empathetic, this approach has the best outcome for childhood and adolescence; all without overstepping or interfering with the Childs’ independence.

2 Critical Steps Parents Can Take

As it is, parenting is already hard enough. As such, any attempts to objectively assess our parenting style can be intimidating or disheartening depending on your level of comfort as a caregiver. That said, here are two foundational aspects of authoritative parenting with further explanation on how you can become a more accepting and supportive parent without stepping into helicopter parent mode.

  1. Set rules, guidelines, and expectations for your kids

Provide for your kids a strong framework for humility, kindness, and good manners. Give them responsibilities on a daily basis and hold them accountable. To raise open-minded and creative kids doesn’t mean you should let them govern themselves before they are mature enough to do so.

Make your kids feel safer and confident when exploring and figuring things out by embracing a structure for which you can build a trustful relationship. In as much as you want your kids to trust you, you must also be willing to trust them in return. Without trust, you’d easily resort to helicopter parenting mode and interpret challenges as perceived threats that your child needs protection from.

  1. Let your kids be once rules are established

Childhood is a phase for exploration and curiosity. To raise self-aware and independent humans, we ought to allow kids to take ownership of their development. Allow them to make mistakes, fail and solve problems within the structure you provide. Your role is that of the distant observer that monitors and intervenes when necessary, guiding your kids when to ask for help and when it’s appropriate to leave them to their devices.

There is no doubt that parenting is a challenging affair. However, with these guidelines in place, your child is better positioned to achieve personal and academic success, have healthy relationships, and feel supported at home.