How To Avoid Being A Helicopter Parent
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How To Avoid Being A Helicopter Parent

October 10, 2019


So, what is a helicopter parent? We’ll
define that first and then get into some steps for how to avoid being a
helicopter parent. The term helicopter parent originally came to my attention
through Foster Cline and Jim Fay. You may be familiar with those names. They are
the founders and originators of the parenting with love and logic approach.
There’s a couple of books that they put out under that title. Some amazing
resources by the way. I highly recommend Klein and Fay, Parenting with Love and
Logic. And this term helicopter parent. So, what does this mean. If you picture a
helicopter and the blades are spinning and it’s just hovering right there. And
so, if you’re a child right here and you have a helicopter parent right here, that
parent is hovering and watching over and it just kind of always right there. As
opposed to maybe a distant parent or a detached parent who is, who knows where?
Not here. So, those might be the two extremes, we’ve got the the detached or
the distant parenting style versus the helicopter parent that’s constantly
hovering and trying to take care of everything right here close to the child.
What if there’s a third alternative to be a conscious, loving, positive parent. We
could add all kinds of fun words to this. I like the word conscious and present
because those words imply that you are nearby and close enough to respond when
necessary. But not so close that you’re interfering with every little decision
that that child makes. How do we accomplish that and avoid being the
helicopter parent? Here’s the first thing. Remember your job. This is something that
I’ve reiterated so many times right here on our channel in the positive
parenting playlist and on our parenting powerup audio course. If you’re connected
to that. You’ll hear this from me again and again and again. Your job is
love them no matter what. And even if to love them no matter what and even if.
Look, as parents, we get distracted sometimes. We start to think that our job
is something else. Like for example, okay, my job is to make sure that my child
does his homework, does well in school, right? Okay, that’s when we get sucked
into a lot as a parent. If I think my job is to make sure that he does his
homework, can you see that I’m likely to become this helicopter over this child
who’s doing homework? I’m going to hover there, I’m going to stand over him and
make sure that he does this. Now, make sure that they can apply to almost
anything. I used homework as an example. Make sure that they treat each other
kindly. The kids, make sure that they are respectful, make sure that they don’t use
drugs, make sure that they don’t get involved in a relationship too early,
whatever, okay? That’s when I’m more likely to hover over this child and
become a helicopter parent. So, understanding your job is to love them
no matter what and even if. Helps you to back off from
the hovering a little bit. And stop being that helicopter parent. Here’s another
perspective that might help a bit. When we hover, when we are helicoptering over
our children, probably we’re feeling nervous about what they are either doing
or experiencing right now. And then we get distracted about our job and we
think our job is to protect them from whatever experience they they’re about
to have. As a general rule, most of the experiences that our children will
encounter are experiences that they can handle. And that they need in order to
learn or grow or develop or stretch in certain ways. The homework theme for
example. Here’s my child and here’s me as this helicopter parent trying to make
sure that my child does his work, right? What if I’m not there? Do you
see what fear starts to come up? Well, my kids probably not going tO get his homework
done? Okay. How is that a good opportunity for my child? You think about what’s
going to happen if he doesn’t get his homework done, he doesn’t turn it in and
whatever it is, right? He’s going to have to come to terms with that at some point.
The teacher, the next day, for example might be asking my child, “Hey, where’s
your homework?” Now, if I’m the helicopter parent making sure that he gets it done,
then we’re going to have some conflict at home over that. But it’s going to get done
and he doesn’t get to have any opportunity or any experience tomorrow
with the teacher. Now, that may not be the best example. But think about other ways
that this might apply. What if my child doesn’t get his room cleaned or what if
she doesn’t treat her friends nicely? Do you see all of these things that we
start to worry about as parents are actually learning opportunities for our
children? But because we’re doing our job, remember what’s our job? To love them no
matter what and even if. If we’re doing our job well, we’re going to worry about
them having consequences out there in the real world. Do you see that? Connect
with that for a moment. Because emotionally, you get tied in to your kids
consequences and helicoptering over them is often an attempt to rescue our kids
from their own consequences. Most of which, they need to have a wonderful
learning opportunity. And then we can come in as a supportive benevolent
loving parent with empathy and compassion and love. We put our arms
around them and say, “Oh sweetie, that’s a hard consequence isn’t it?” Not in an
i-told-you-so sort of a way. But we get to be the empathic loving supportive
parent after they’ve had their consequence. Let them have their
consequences. They need them for their growth and development. Let’s not rob them of that opportunity that special, wonderful,
precious learning opportunity that really comes at a lower cost when
they’re young. Think about that for a moment. The consequences that our kids
are facing, relatively speaking, are much less expensive than if they had a
similar consequence later on in life. Okay? Quick example: If I go into a store
with my 5-year-old, okay? Little kid. And we both are feeling the munchies. And
we see the candy bar there on the shelf and we take the Fivefinger discount, if
you know what that is. Grab the candy bar, head out of the store without paying.
Okay? I do it, my 5-year-old does it. Officer friendly is right outside the
front door. He stops us he says, “Hey, saw you see take
the Fivefinger discount there on the candy bars.” What happens to me? What
happens to my 5-year-old? Do you see how the cost is very, very different for
an older person. We want our children to learn what they need to learn now.
Because tomorrow is more expensive, yesterday’s not an option, now is good.
Don’t rob them of that opportunity to have a learning experience at the lowest
cost possible. Now, here’s a little brain hack for you. I capture this in 3
messages. If you’ll focus on these 3 messages, it will help you to back off of
the helicoptering and become a conscious present parent. We’re not talking
detached, we’re not talking helicoptering. We’re talking conscious and present.
Here’s the 3 messages. Message number 1 is your job. I love you no matter
what and even if. Send that message regularly and powerfully to your
children. Message number 2, if you have any questions, ask. This is your way of
acknowledging that as a parent, you’ve been around for a while. You’ve had some
experiences. You can probably help them out with this. But you’re not going to cram
it down their throat, okay? You’re going to back off from the helicoptering
and you’re going to say, “Look, if you have any questions, ask.” Message number 3,
“Good luck!” That’s the hardest one by the way. Because that’s where you actually
back off of the helicoptering. And you’re there, you’re present, you’re
conscious. Remember message is 1 and 2. But you’re not going to interfere.
And you’re affirming to your child at this point that they are smart enough
and bright enough and wonderful enough to learn from their experiences and to
handle their life in a way that’s going to make them ultimately more happy. I
hope that you’ve found this helpful. If you’ve enjoyed these parenting videos,
you’re going to love the Parenting Power-Up course. You can connect to it
right over there.

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  1. Wow 🀯 profound information you just relayed! I definitely need to let go and let my son experience and learn and stop rescuing him from his consequences!!!!! Never thought of it from that perspective but it makes 100% SENSE πŸ€—πŸ’œ thank you Dr. Paul

  2. You make sense of EVERYTHING! Thank you for putting out your content, I am so happy I stumbled up on your channel. <3 The positive parenting series is especially great (maybe cause I have a wild 3 year old at home…) Anyway, thank you for sharing your knowledge. <3

  3. This reminds me of a lady I helped today. I work at a men’s formal wear store in the rental department & I was helping a woman rent a tux for her son’s homecoming; she would give her opinion on the various tux style options, then would ask her son what he thought- along with comments about how he doesn’t care what he wears & is cool with whatever she chooses. It sounds like a great relationship between her & her son, but she was actually taking away his ability to make choices. She sort of ran the show & instead of allowing her son the freedom to choose what to wear for his dance- it’s one thing to narrow options for the sake of style coordination, but it’s another thing to corner your child into picking what you want them to wear. It was sort of manipulating the way she went about it, don’t even think she realized how this effects her son. His responses were short & passive, as if he was just rolling with the punches. I hope these messages reach more people, I share your videos like life depends on itπŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ» thanks!

  4. makes sense to me

    the older my kids get
    the farther away my "helicopter" is

    it's hard for some parents to let their children fly out of the nest in the "dangerous" world πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    I think it's all excuses … we love them… we miss them… but yea… it's normal that they go their own way at some point

    man I love your videos… seriously!!
    I'm a father of 2 boys, a step-father and I work with disabled people with various mental and/or physical limitations

    and to me the secret to succes is simple: love , respect, laugh, don't control… guide

    I'm pretty good at my job, yet i still learn a lot with your videos

    I really appreciate them, they mean a lot to me

  5. I stress myself and my 7 yr old over homework (spelling and reading)today I stepped back and just supported him and he spelt the words πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. Thank you so much for your wonderful videos! I can definitely use internalizing these important tips.
    Re the helicopter tendency – what, would you say, would be the line between healthy and necessary involvement and unnecessary hovering? For example, if I hear my child saying bad things to a friend he has over, or see him behaving badly toward his brother – should I just let it play out? When should I step in, if I want to try and keep the hovering at a minimum? Thanks!

  7. i hate helicopter parents. my mother is one. she knows she caused my major depression, yet doesnt care. she thinks shes always right. she monitors everything, looks up everyone i know, and thinks that anyone who isnt a straight mega-christian who doesnt cuss is a bad influence. she accuses my dad of things hes never done, and im sick of it. im luckily possibly going to move away. its gotten to the point where i was sent to a behavioral hospital. ive slit my wrists and have thought about suicide because of her. dont be a helicopter parent: its deadly and painful for the child.

  8. I get that it's too late for the 18 year old, but should I send the 9 year old out shoplifting so he gets the experience in time?

  9. I think I may be a β€œhalf” helicopter parent. This video has taught me a few things about myself. Thank you for the upload.

  10. I think my son is beginning to reject me because he sees me as a helicopter parent. His father (with whom he lives with part time) is distant/detached, hence a lot of freedom and fun (translate: video games and youtube). He is overall a very responsible teen in things he is interested in, but makes little effort in things that don't motivate him (e.g. school). As a parent how do I avoid being a helicopter parent in this situation yet still support him/show him I care…
    Co parenting situations are extremely hard.

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