The hard truth about helicopter parenting
February 28, 2018 | 3:16 PM
by Times News Service

As parents, we want the best for our kids. It almost seems like we keep wanting to raise the bar, so we turn into Supermoms and Superdads. But in the process, do we end up becoming a bit over-protective, aggressive, pushy, or overconcerned? Don’t think so? Let’s take a quick, hard look then. Are you the one finishing your child’s homework and school projects? Is it ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your child’s deadlines are met and work is submitted on time or even that the school bag has the right books for the lessons the next day? Do you take it as a personal affront if your child gets a low grade and get an immediate itch to send an email to the teacher about it? Do you pack your teen’s lunch box and iron his/her uniform? Does your child look at you when someone asks him/her about what he/she wants to do when he/she is older? A whole lot of parents will nod reluctantly. Let’s face the fact that we are a generation of helicopter parents. So, what is helicopter parenting? The term “helicopter parent” was first used in Dr Haim Ginott’s 1969 book Between Parent and Teenager, by teens, who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter. The term became popular enough to become a dictionary entry in 2011. There might be a whole section of readers who strongly believe that they are doing nothing but their duty as good parents to be so involved in the lives of their children. The fact that there could be such a thing as over-involvement does not even occur to them. But as parents, don’t we also have a responsibility to make sure our kids grow up making their own little mistakes and facing their challenges and fears? Here are some reasons why you should stop hovering over your children.

Low self-esteem

If you are constantly around then your children will get used to turning to mommy or daddy for all the answers. Not only that, they will start losing confidence in themselves and their instincts. Every time they make a decision, they will feel the need to run to you and check whether they are right. That’s because your constant presence sends out the signal that you don’t trust their judgement.

Lower adaptability

Kids today will be adults tomorrow and before you know it, they will be out there battling it on their own. They have to graduate, get jobs, find partners, and finally raise their own children. Looking at your gawky teenagers now and imagining them doing all that will certainly seem remote to you but you have to start envisioning them doing things by themselves. Give them opportunities to adapt to different scenarios and challenges. Else, they will be misfits in the real world.


If mommy is going to polish his shoes and daddy is going to call up the teacher every time he gets a bad grade, then what is the son going to learn? He will think that there is someone always there to clean up his mess and pamper him. In this day and age, no woman is going to tolerate a husband who is an overgrown baby. Not only that, your children will grow up thinking that they deserve certain things, like graduating from Oxbridge or living in the cool side of town, instead of working hard and earning the fruits.

No Life skills

Who will respect your children if they can’t make themselves a cuppa or boil an egg? I know girls who’ve never cleaned their rooms or made their beds. How are such children going to live alone in some far away city all by themselves managing a full course load, keeping their hostel rooms clean, doing basic cooking, having enough clean socks and underwear, and finding time to have a social life? These things don’t happen overnight. We have to train them to take care of themselves and it should start early.

Farzeen Ashik is the author of the prize-winning novel ‘Rainbow Dorm Diaries-The Yellow Dorm’.

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