Although the term is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students who do tasks the child is capable of doing alone (for instance, calling a professor about poor grades, arranging a class schedule, manage exercising habits), helicopter parenting can apply at any age.
In the case of a young kid, a helicopter parent might constantly shadow the child, always playing with and directing his behaviour, allowing him or her zero alone time. Here are 5 signs that indicate that you may be becoming a helicopter parent:
1. You find you are doing everything for your child (e.g., feeding your 4 years old, tying older children’s shoes), not allowing him/her to solve his/her own problems. A 2-year-old who never climbs up the stairs, a 3-year-old who can’t put his socks on, a 4-year-old who can’t wash his hands – these are a few examples of too much parental problem solving. Helicopter parents are so invested in solving their children’s problems that their children never learn to solve any of them on their own.
2. You are overly focused on your children’s achievements and enroll them in numerous programs that you believe will help them get ahead, but that may not be age-appropriate. Helicopter parents are very worried about making sure their kids are successful. But instead of focusing on developing traits like self-reliance and perseverance, they focus on skills.
3. You’re upset when your child fails at something and consider it a personal failure.
4. Your child shows signs of dependence, clinginess, anxiety or anger.
5. You and your child have no free time to just play and enjoy each other’s company. A helicopter parent never let his/her child get bored or play by him/herself. Instead of allowing the child to develop his/her imagination, the helicopter parent will often direct all the play too.
So, are you a helicopter parent? What kind of helicopter parent are you?