Are You a Helicopter Parent?

Believe it or not, there are pros and cons to helicopter parenting

The term “helicopter parent” refers to a guardian who resembles a helicopter by hovering closely over offspring.

The comparison between super-involved parents and aircrafts was first made in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott. Ginott’s book Between Parent and Teenager included examples of guardians who monitored and “helped” their children do almost everything. Helicopter parents sometimes do children’s homework and/or choose friends for their children during their youth. In adulthood, helicopter parents may contact college professors and employers on behalf of their grown children. In many cases, the adult offspring wishes the parent would be less invasive. Careful, hyper-involved parenting is usually done out of a loving desire to shield children from physical and emotional pain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always yield optimistic results in the long run. Helicopter parents can have negative and positive impacts on the physical, social, and mental health of children.

Dr. Haim Ginott | 98thPercentile

Helicopter Parenting Pros and Cons Chart:


Physical Health

  • Helicopter parents know where their children are at all times, which keeps them safe.

Social Health

  • Children with helicopter parents tend to be more involved in school activities and special programs than those with neglectful parents. Involved families are willing to bring children to events, like sporting games or art shows.
  • Youngsters trust they can go to parents for help, which in turn helps them trust others.

Mental Health

  • Youths who are never neglected or ignored by caregivers tend to feel secure about themselves and humanity as a whole.
  • Some helicopter parents are critical of their children and others are complimentary. Those with parental figures who shower them with praise feel confident and loved.


Physical Health

  • Protective parents have overly concerned reactions to any and every minor injury and illness of their children. This teaches youths to fret over them too, which makes them unable to build resilience.

Social Health

  • Youths struggle to develop healthy, normal relationships with peers and teachers due to parents being involved in their social lives.
  • Teenagers lose trust in helicopter parents in adolescence due to lack of privacy.
  • Adolescents are unable to develop independence and remain dependent on the parent.

Mental Health

  • Juveniles develop low self-esteem and a sense of personal inadequacy when they are not trusted to do tasks independently.
  • Youngsters have low motivation (and may become lazy or entitled) if they are accustomed to elders doing everything for them.
  • Minors with guardians who worry frequently about things being perfect can become anxious perfectionists themselves.
  • Offspring feel constant pressure to please helicopter parents rather than focusing on their own personal goals.

This chart shows there are more drawbacks than benefits for children raised by helicopter parents. To prevent raising a child with the problems described above, parents with hovering tendencies can identify causes of their over-involvement. Thereafter, the adults can take steps to ease up so their children are granted freedom to achieve independent success.

5 Causes of Helicopter Parenting:

  • Adults feel they have failed in some area of life (career, familial or romantic relationship, etcetera). As a result, they over-compensate by putting extra attention into their interactions with children.
  • People who are dissatisfied with their own circumstances seek a purpose in life. They focus intensely on the lives of their children to experience the world vicariously through them.
  • Caregivers are anxious their children cannot handle disappointment and endeavor to protect them.
  • Parents fear their children will “abandon” them. The natural progression of life is for youths to move out of the family home once they hit adulthood. To stop this from happening, nervous adults strive to make themselves indispensable to children.
  • Guardians experience peer pressure to have “high achieving” offspring and/or to be “good parents.” These judgmental peers are usually other adults overly involved in the lives of minors.

5 Ways to Avoid Helicopter Parenting:

  • Parents have something in life that fulfills them beyond their children, such as a job, volunteer work, or artistic hobby.
  • Caregivers let children do age-appropriate things for themselves, like select friends and clean their bedrooms.
  • Adults show children love by teaching them how to handle daily living situations (cooking, cleaning, etcetera). They instruct youngsters how to cope with social conflict resolutions on their own rather than taking care of things for them.
  • Guardians consider the long-term negative impact of “helping” their children too much. Realize adolescents won’t develop essential life skills if they rely on others to fix their problems.
  • People allow juveniles to experience hardships, such as failure. It is good to comfort and support disappointed children, but unwise to prevent any and every disappointment from occurring.

Giving youths tools to succeed on their own is one of the best gifts parents can give! If your child is struggling in language arts or math, then don’t do their homework for them. Do not ask the teacher to stop assigning them work either. Instead, get your youngster educational games and a tutor, like the ones at 98th Percentile.

Show children love by encouraging and supporting them while they learn skills and achieve goals as independently as possible! Book your child's free trial classes with us today!

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