Home Parenting Exploring the impact of helicopter parenting

Exploring the impact of helicopter parenting

by Tania Griffin
A young girl riding her scooter

In the delicate balance of parenting, a fine line exists between nurturing and hovering too closely. Helicopter parenting – characterised by overprotection, micromanagement and excessive involvement – while rooted in love and concern, can inadvertently hinder a child’s development.

Ursula Assis, country director of Dibber International Preschools, sheds light on this and its long-term effects on children, urging parents to find a healthy balance between support and autonomy.

Understanding helicopter parenting

As Assis explains, helicopter parenting stems from a deep desire to shield children from harm and ensure their success. However, this hyper-vigilant approach can impede children’s ability to develop crucial life skills such as independence, resilience and problem-solving.

The long-term impact on children

Assis outlines five significant long-term effects of helicopter parenting on children:

  • Decreased confidence and self-esteem: By constantly intervening and limiting their independence, helicopter parents inadvertently hamper children’s confidence and self-esteem, hindering their ability to navigate challenges with resilience.
  • Inability to cope with emotions and failures: Sheltering children from failure deprives them of valuable learning experiences and coping mechanisms, leaving them ill-prepared to handle setbacks and disappointments.
  • Increased anxiety: The constant pressure to meet parental expectations and the lack of autonomy can lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels among children, affecting their overall well-being.
  • Sense of entitlement: Children accustomed to having their every need catered to may develop a sense of entitlement, expecting success without putting in the necessary effort or facing adversity.
  • Non-existent life skills: Overprotected children may lack essential life skills such as problem-solving and resilience, making it challenging for them to navigate the complexities of the real world independently.

How to avoid helicopter parenting

She offers practical advice for parents on how to avoid falling into the trap of helicopter parenting:

  • Empower independence: Allow children to tackle challenges and solve problems on their own, gradually increasing their autonomy as they grow.
  • Encourage resilience: Support children in facing setbacks and disappointments, emphasising the importance of perseverance and resilience in overcoming obstacles.
  • Promote life skills: Provide opportunities for children to develop essential life skills such as decision-making, problem-solving and emotional regulation, through hands-on experiences and real-world challenges.

Be the net when they fall

Assis underscores the importance of being a supportive presence in children’s lives, offering comfort and encouragement when they encounter difficulties. Parents can help children build the resilience and confidence they need to thrive by serving as a safety net rather than a hovering presence.

“It is important to balance support and autonomy in parenting, allowing children the freedom to explore, learn and grow while providing a safety net of love and guidance.

“By avoiding the pitfalls of helicopter parenting and fostering independence and resilience in children, parents can empower them to become capable and confident individuals, prepared to navigate life’s challenges with courage and resilience.”

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