Helicopter Parents

Kyra Netting, Contributor

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You’ve likely heard the term “helicopter parent” at least a few times. Helicopter parents are known to hover over their children and become overly involved in their lives. Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parents who are over-focused on their children. It means being involved in your child’s life in a way that is very controlling. Helicopter parents are “obsessed with failure and preventing it at all costs”. They don’t let their children have much freedom or choice. University of Georgia professor Richard Mullendore described the rise of the cell phone as a contributing factor for helicopter parenting. Parents always want to know what their children are doing and what they are seeing on the internet. Their parents use smartphones to constantly check on their kids and some even track their movements by following them. They are determined their children will never be uncomfortable or feel pain, so they try to shelter them from anything that could cause them discomfort.

Kids in our school were asked if they think they have helicopter parents. 6th grader Bryce Carver said, “I don’t have helicopter parents but occasionally they will check on his things to make sure I didn’t break or lose them.” He said his mom will check his phone more than he wishes she did. He said that a helicopter parent to him is a parent that is overprotective or has lots of interest in their child. He said that he doesn’t think he will be a helicopter parent when he gets older because he hates when his parents check his phone or worry about him too much.

7th grader Grant Clemens said that he thinks that he doesn’t have helicopter parents because they believe he’s a good kid. He said the only thing they are overprotective of is his apple watch because they don’t want him to break it. He said that he thinks the definition of a helicopter parent is, “A parent that hovers over you or your siblings and checks your phone or any of your other things. They want to make sure you’re okay, but sometimes it’s really annoying.” I asked him if he thinks he will be a helicopter parent when he gets older, and he said no because “I will teach them to be good kids.”

Jazzy Harris said that her mom is a half helicopter parent and half not. She said that “She wants to make sure I’m OK, but she also thinks I’m old enough to handle some of my own problems.”  She said that her mom is overprotective of her phone because her mom paid for it and she can take it at any given moment along with expensive jewelry. I asked her if she thinks she will be a helicopter parent when she gets older and she said that “When it comes to certain things like boys and school work – definitely, but I will be more open to hanging out with friends after I meet their parents. Jazzy’s definition of a helicopter parent is a guardian who goes the extra mile to make sure nothing bad happens to their child or children.

In my own life, my parents can be overprotective of some aspects of my life, but overall they give me quite a bit of freedom. Sometimes they can be annoying and they seem like they worry too much, but I know they just want me to be safe. My parents will occasionally take my phone, but once we talk about why I got my phone taken away, I will most likely get it back. A helicopter parent to me is a parent who doesn’t give their kid or kids freedom and is excessive about checking on everything they do. I don’t think I will be a helicopter parent because I know how annoying it is when your parents are always looking over your shoulder and making sure you’re always doing the right thing. The question I would like to know the answer to is if helicopter parenting is a good and effective way of parents getting their kids to follow the rules and be safe?  Is helicopter parenting the way that modern-day families should function? Is this method of parenting even effective?

In 2010, a by researcher Neil Montgomery, a psychologist at Keene State College in New Hampshire, found that overprotective parents might have a lasting impact on their child’s personality by prolonging childhood and adolescence. Approximately 300 college freshmen were surveyed about their level of agreement with statements regarding their parents’ involvement in their lives. The results showed that 10 percent of the participants had helicopter parents. The research also revealed that students with helicopter parents tended to be less open to new ideas and actions, and were more vulnerable, anxious, dependent, and self-conscious. Helicopter parents might seem good-natured and just a little over the top when their children are young, but helicopter parents actually can affect their children when they get older and move out of the house.

Worry can drive parents to take control of all aspects of their child’s life in the belief that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed. Usually, that does not work and only makes parents and their kids grow farther apart. Overall, many students have said that they don’t have helicopter parents, but their parents do have certain things that they are overprotective of. For example, Grant Clemens said that his parents are only overprotective of his apple watch, and Jazzy said that her mom can be overprotective of her phone.  The students say they know that their parents worry about them and their parents want them to be safe, but they’re getting older and they want more freedom. Sometimes when kids have helicopter parents they can turn out to be in bad groups, do drugs and even get into legal trouble. Why? Because once they get the slightest bit of freedom they go crazy and do impulsive things. Letting your kids have freedom in their childhood can prevent them from making impulsive decisions when they get a car or go to college.

 

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