A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter) is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. The term helicopter parent was originally coined by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead.
The term “helicopter parents” is a pejorative expression for parents that has been widely used in the media.
The metaphor appeared as early as 1969 in the bestselling book Between Parent & Teenager by Dr. Haim Ginott, which mentions a teen who complains: “Mother hovers over me like a helicopter…”
It gained wide currency when American college administrators began using it in the early 2000’s as the Millennial Generation began reaching college age. Their baby-boomer parents in turn earned notoriety for practices such as calling their children each morning to wake them up for class and complaining to their professors about grades the children had received. Summer camp officials have also reported similar behavior from parents.
The rise of the cell phone is often blamed for the explosion of helicopter parenting — University of Georgia professor Richard Mullendore called it “the world’s longest umbilical cord“. Some parents, for their part, point to rising college tuitions, saying they are just protecting their investment or acting like any other consumer.
While you may find yourself heavily involved in your child’s life early on, attending school events, helping in the classroom and chaperoning field trips, at a certain point you’ll likely find that your child wants – and even needs – for you to be less involved, so that he is able to grow, make his own mistakes and learn from them.
These 18 blog entries explore helicopter parenting and the affect it has on children, and can help you decide if it’s a parenting tactic you want to employ or not.
If you find yourself constantly stepping in every time your child faces a problem, you risk your child never learning how to resolve conflicts or make decisions on his own.
When a child feels that he is not trusted to make a mistake or a decision, it can cause him to lack self-confidence, which can be detrimental to his emotional well-being.
To learn more about how being a helicopter parent can affect a child’s confidence, check out these six blog entries.
- How Your Parenting Style Affects Your Kids When parents protect their kids from anything and everything that is potentially scary, it can cause kids to have a lack of confidence.
- The Long Term Effects of Helicopter Parenting By undermining every decision your child makes throughout his life, you can inadvertently end up crushing his confidence.
- How Do We Ground Helicopter Parenting? When parents fight all of their kids’ battles for them, it can cause children to grow up lacking the confidence to fight their own battles.
- Hovering Parents: Is Helicopter Parenting a Unique Form of Parental Control?Parents that constantly monitor a child’s every move send the message that he is not capable of making his own decisions.
- Helicopter Parenting Hurts Children’s Mental Health, Study Finds Parents who are overly involved in their child’s life send the message that they don’t trust their child, which can squash their confidence.
- Attention Helicopter Parents: New Study Shows When It’s Time to Stop Hovering When parents hover over their child through childhood and adolescence, it can keep the child from maturing into a responsible, self-sufficient adult.
Anxiety medication is on the rise for children who have been raised by helicopter parents, which is likely because someone has made all of the child’s decisions for him throughout his life. This can lead to uncertainty and stress regarding decision-making once that child is out on his own.
To learn more about why these children suffer from anxiety, read these six blog posts.
- Landing the Helicopter Parent, The Dangers of Over-Involvement Kids who are raised by helicopter parents suffer from more anxiety because they often worry about doing the wrong thing.
- Helicopter Parenting: Little Study, Big Sound Bites Parental hovering can cause dissatisfaction in a child’s life.
- Study Examines Effects of Helicopter Parenting When parents are overly controlling it can cause extreme anxiety in a child’s life.
- Professors Study Effects of Helicopter Parenting Children and teens who are raised by helicopter parents become so used to having their parents think for them that they can end up suffering from a lot of anxiety when they have to think for themselves.
- 10 Detrimental Effects Found from Helicopter Parenting More children are medicated for anxiety that have helicopter parents than those that don’t.
- How Can Helicopter Parents “Land” By controlling every aspect of your child’s life, you can end up causing undue anxiety.
When a teen graduates from high school he should be able to research job opportunities, create a resume, interview for a position and land a job on his own. Just being able to have the confidence to answer questions on the fly is a big part of getting a job in a difficult job market. Children with helicopter parents tend to lack these essential skills, which can end up costing them a job.
These six blogs entries go into further detail about why teens need to be allowed to make their own decisions without the help of a helicopter parent.
- Helicopter Parenting—Uh-Oh, It’s the Law! Kids raised by helicopter parents can be scared to take risks because they’ve never been allowed to try anything on their own.
- The Impact of “Helicopter Parenting” Some parents go so far as to talk to their child’s boss when the child feels he is being treated unfairly, which can have a negative impact on the child’s career and life.
- Helicopter Parents are Damaging America’s Future Helicopter parents that are so involved that they do their kids homework for them can cause the child to be unfit for a job.
- Professionalism 101 What Your Helicopter Parents Should Have Taught YouChildren raised by helicopter parents were the center of their parents’ world, and often grow up with a sense of entitlement that can come across during an interview.
- Helicopter Parents: Is Hovering Harmful to Career Goals? Children who have always been told what their goals are find themselves unable to set their own goals.
- Helicopter Parents on the Job Search Your child needs to be able to contact employers on his own and show confidence, something that is often missing in children raised by helicopter parents.
Submission thanks to Maureen Denard