by Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW

You’re all getting a bad rap. Helicopter parents do a lot of good things for their kids. 

You can act fast, swoop in to protect your child at a moment’s notice, and swoop away really fast (great skills for parenting a teenager). And that bird’s-eye view of the big picture really comes in handy.

Best of all, helicopter parents have met two great parenting qualifications: they show a lot of love to their children, and they spend plenty of time with them, often pulling the night shift.

So, if helicopter parents are so great, why all the negative publicity? Here’s why: With all this love onboard, most helicopter parents forget the fine print in their flying manual.


That’s what this alert is about.


The best flight plans include four parts:

1. Keep your gas tank at least 80 percent full of Unleashed Parental Love at all times. Children thrive when they feel a supportive parent will always be available and when the children feel they are acceptable and understood no matter what mistakes they make. That’s why helicopter parents are so great — their kids can always see or sense their smiling parents somewhere, no matter what happens.

2. Don’t immediately hover too close, or land and take over when your child has a problem. Kids need to learn how to handle failure on their own — when they’re ready. Some stress is important for developing resilience and self-confidence.

3. Do hover close by when your child is first learning to solve something really tough. Success knocks out a problem pretty fast. (Be ready to land if necessary.)

4. Land and command when your child veers too far off the charted course. You know, things like breaking curfew, lying, and destructive relationships. That’s when you land and then discipline firmly and consistently to make sure your child gets headed in the right direction. Expect resistance (rarely will you hear, “Thank you, Mom/Dad, for getting me back on track.”) And one other thing: Don’t land and command or hover too close on personal choices like hairstyle, clothes, etc. 

Helicopter parents, I salute you. Stay the course with the right flight plan. Your child’s self-confidence and resilience will flourish.

Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW, is a child and family mental health counselor with nearly forty years of experience. He is the author of the award-winning book Unleashing the Power of Parental Love: 4 Steps to Raising Joyful and Self-Confident Kids (

Michelle La Rowe

Michelle La Rowe

About America's Nanny:

Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors for the past five years. During that time she has also served as the associations 1st Vice President. Michelle is also a proud member of Christian Nannies.

She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert, and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print.

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Books by Michelle LaRowe

A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity - Grocery lists. Checklists. To-do lists. Lots of people love--and live by--lists. And parents are no exception. Today's families are busier than ever, and moms don't have the time or energy to search and scramble for the parenting information they are desperately seeking. This handy, practical reference guide will save time, money, and sanity for today's busy women.To learn more, visit

Working Mom's 411 is your one-stop resource guide for navigating through the often choppy waters of managing kids, career and home. With extensive experience as a credentialed nanny, household manager and as a working mom herself, Michelle is sure to make you laugh out loud as she shares her expert take on the common dilemmas that working mothers face. 

Nanny to the Rescue - America's nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.

Nanny To the Rescue Again - Faced with multiple choices regarding school, friends, and activities coupled with the ever-widening influence of the outside world, parents of 6-12 year olds need help. America's nanny is back to offer a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced children.
Michelle La Rowe La RoweParenting AdviceActivities for Kids,Ages and Stages,Family Fun,Parentingby Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW You're all getting a bad rap. Helicopter parents do a lot of good things for their kids.  You can act fast, swoop in to protect your child at a moment's notice, and swoop away really fast (great skills for parenting...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids