5 Major Consequences of Being A Helicopter Parent
By Tyler Jacobson –
We all know a helicopter parent or two. Perhaps we are helicopter parents ourselves. Either way, it’s a parenting style that has gained prominence and attracted ridicule and attention in equal measure.
If you ask them, helicopter parents will claim that they’re only looking out for their kids’ best interests—and they are. The only problem is that they’re going about it the wrong way.
The thought of seeing their children struggling, getting hurt or disappointed is often too much to bear. So their blades start spinning, and they hover around their kids’ lives clearing their path, getting rid of any obstacles and making tough decisions on their behalf. They even go so far as to rescue their kids and teens from the consequences of their bad decisions, never allowing their teens to learn to cope with their choices.
What many don’t realize is that helicopter parenting is actually destructive. It hurts more than it helps. Here are some results from being a helicopter parent:
1. Teens don’t learn to make good choices for themselves.
With all the risk factors facing teens in the US, it’s understandable why some parents want to shield their kids from the harsh realities of life. However, constantly swooping in to save teens from the consequences of their bad decisions doesn’t help. It only encourages them to remain dependent on their parents to sort out problems on their behalf.
2. It compromises the kid’s autonomy and personal growth.
Parents are charged with helping their kids acquire enough knowledge and skills to become independent adults. Helicopter parenting does the opposite and curtails a teen’s personal growth. To become self-reliant adults, teens are meant to take risks and make mistakes—that’s how they learn what works and what doesn’t.
3. Teens develop poor coping skills.
Clearing all obstacles from your teen’s life might seem like a good thing. Unfortunately, it means that your teen won’t develop the necessary coping skills and resilience to cope with challenges that they’ll undoubtedly encounter in life. This results in teens who are predisposed to increased anxiety, frustration, and stress.
4. It undermines their self-confidence.
Taking over tasks and doing every little thing for your teen sends a subconscious message that you don’t have faith in their abilities. They internalize this, and their self-confidence takes a hit. Helicopter parenting results in teens who doubt their own skills, competence and their ability to successfully make their own way in the world.
5. Puts the parent-teen relationship at risk.
As teen’s search for autonomy, some fight their parents’ helicopter parenting style. They find it intrusive, suffocating and even humiliating. As a result, they might either get angry and start acting out, or they withdraw from their parents. None of these bodes well for the parent-teen relationship, both in the present and in the future, when the teen becomes an adult.
It’s hard for parents to sit by and watch their kids and teens floundering, making mistakes and getting hurt or disappointed. But, instead of stepping in to solve problems for them, a better way would be to provide guidance and support to help them overcome challenges and obstacles on their own.