What Is Helicopter Parenting, and Why Do Parents Do It?

If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the term “helicopter parenting.” But what is helicopter parenting, and why do parents do it? In this post, we’ll explore helicopter parenting and take a look at some of the reasons parents might choose to helicopter their kids. We’ll also discuss some of the pros and cons of helicopter parenting so that you can decide if this approach is right for your family.

What is the Helicopter Style of Parenting?

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If you’ve ever seen a parent hovering a little too closely over their child, always ready to swoop in and save them from any potential harm, then you’ve seen helicopter parenting in action. This type of parenting has become increasingly common in recent years, as parents strive to give their children every advantage in life. But while helicopter parenting can have some benefits, it can also be detrimental to both children and parents.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Helicopter Parenting?

There’s no denying that helicopter parenting has its benefits. For one, parents are highly protective and likely to know where their kids are at all times. Studies also show that helicopter parents enjoy greater happiness in their lives. But does this enjoyment extend to the kids? Unfortunately, not always. Some studies suggest that helicopter parenting can actually lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression in children.

There’s no denying that helicopter parenting has its advantages. After all, what parent doesn’t want to do everything they can to protect their child? But there are also some potential downsides to this approach. For one thing, it can prevent kids from developing important problem-solving skills. If parents are always swooping in to fix things, kids never learn how to figure things out themselves.

Additionally, helicopter parenting can lead to dependence on parents. Kids who are used to having their parents handle everything for them may have a hard time when they have to do things on their own. And finally, helicopter parenting can interfere with the parent-child relationship. When parents are always meddling in their kids’ lives, it can be tough for kids to feel like they can come to their parents with problems or concerns. So, while helicopter parenting may have its benefits, it’s also important to be aware of the potential downside.

What Are the Characteristics of A Helicopter Parent?

It’s no secret that parenting has changed a lot in recent years. With the competitive landscape of college admissions and the ever-changing landscape of the job market, it’s no wonder that parents are feeling more pressure than ever to give their children a leg up. Enter helicopter parenting: a parenting style characterized by constant involvement in every aspect of their child’s life. From homework and school projects to after-school activities and friendships, helicopter parents are always there, deciding what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and with whom to do it. While this type of parenting can certainly have its benefits, it can also be excessive and overbearing.

The Alternative: Scaffolding Parenting

Scaffolding is a parenting style that involves providing support and assistance to your child as they learn and grow. This can take many forms, from helping them with homework to providing emotional support during tough times. While scaffolding parenting is often associated with helicopter parenting, the two are actually quite different. Scaffolding parenting is about giving your child the tools they need to succeed, while helicopter parenting is more about the parents doing it themselves. Here are some things you should know if you’re considering using scaffolding parenting with your child.

First, scaffolding parenting is all about tailoring your support to your child’s needs. Every child is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to scaffolding. You’ll need to adjust your level of support based on your child’s age, abilities, and interests. Second, scaffolding parenting requires patience and consistency. You can’t expect your child to master a skill overnight; it takes time and practice. Be prepared to offer ongoing support and encouragement as your child grows and learns. Finally, scaffolding parents are always available to listen to their children, answer their questions, and provide guidance when needed. But they also know when to step back and let their children take the lead. As a result, scaffolding parenting fosters independence and self-reliance in children while also providing a foundation of support.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Scaffolding Parenting?

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There are both advantages and disadvantages to scaffolding parenting. One of the most significant advantages is that it can help children develop a sense of independence and self-confidence. Allowing children to try new things and figure things out for themselves can help them feel capable and competent, which can be a great foundation for later success in life. Another advantage of scaffolding parenting is that it can help to foster a close bond between parent and child. You can create a strong sense of connection and love by taking an active role in your child’s development.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to scaffolding parenting. One of the main disadvantages is that it can be time-consuming and demanding. Providing constant support and guidance takes a lot of energy, and it can be difficult to maintain over the long term.

Why Do Parents Hover? Which One Is Best For You?

Given the characteristics, pros, and cons of helicopter and scaffolding parenting, it is plain to see that helicopter parenting is more enjoyable for some parents. Some well-off families lean towards helicopter parenting as they deem it necessary to build the child’s future success. True: hovering over the child means fewer chances for failure; you can get the best people to do the project for your child, and this would bring great results under your child’s name. You can then be a proud parent that your child has great achievements.

Special Circumstances

There are some cases where the child has some pre-existing learning disability. In those cases, the only way to raise the child is to keep a very close eye on them. Other parents also switch to hovering over teens that have somehow developed risky behavior or have attracted an external factor that can threaten the teen’s safety. It is also best to hover over children that have been through severe trauma or something similar. But it would also be best if the parents were sensitive to situations and understood when and where to ease off.

Let’s Rephrase The Question: “Which one is best for the child?”

Although the child’s safety is important, an overprotective parent might provide the child with a skewed sense of security. Children with helicopter parents often have poor social lives and mental health issues. These children may also lack the basic skills to fend for themselves once their parents are gone.

Now, let’s forget for a moment that scaffolding parenting can take a toll on the parents (see our other posts for tips on how to lessen the stress). Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will limiting parental involvement in your child’s activities promote healthy development?
  • Will providing tools and teaching the child to use such tools develop essential life skills?
  • Would it contribute to healthy emotional development if you let the child make mistakes and had them take responsibility and accountability for their actions?
  • Will letting the children make and break their own friendships and relationships teach them social skills?
  • Will teaching them to make their own decisions help them in their adult lives?

Try to imagine scenarios where we focus on raising a well-rounded, healthy and emotionally stable person. Answer as honestly as you can.

So, what works when it comes to parenting? Definitely keep what is working and avoid what isn’t. Seek professional help if needed—your child’s development depends on it! Be flexible and be ready to adapt as the child grows and their needs change. What things have you found to work well for you as a parent? Please share it in the comments below or on our social media pages!



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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