Helicopter parent is a term used to describe parents who are extremely involved in their child’s experiences and problems, especially in academic institutions. Like a helicopter, the parent hovers over the child and is not far from reach when they are called for so-called parental duties. This expression gained notoriety in the media when the Millenium Generation started reaching college age and their professors started complaining about The Baby Boomer parents complaining about their kids’ grades and in some cases, negotiating their child's grades. Additionally, parents have entered their children’s workforce by negotiating their salary and benefits. You say, this is ridiculous, I’m not one of those parents!
Now, consider this. Your school aged child repeatedly forgets to take their lunch to school. Like a loving parent, you repeatedly take the lunch to school so they will not go hungry. Or how about this, the weather has been chilly for the past few weeks and your child insists on not wearing the jacket to school every day for the past few weeks. So, do you let them go without a jacket or insists they wear one every chilly morning and potentially have a power struggle with your child? Or this, your school aged child has a cell phone and you instruct them to call you multiple times during the day to report how their day is going. It's been said by some that a cell phone is the longest umbilical cord in the history of mankind! So, is this effective parenting or helicopter parenting?
It is hard to know where you draw the line between being an appropriately involved parent and a helicopter parent. However, many have argued that the implications of helicopter parenting are pretty serious and the side effects do not show up until these children enter college. At college age, they are expected to become independent and self-reliant. Some of these expectations may include cooking for themselves, managing their finances, choosing their career path, etc. This of course, begs the question: Is it fair to expect your child to be autonomous when they have been so used to being rescued for the past eighteen or so years?
Find out if you are heading in the path of becoming a helicopter parent by taking this quiz at: http://www.babyzone.com/mom_dad/quiz/helicopter-parent. Please note that this is just a fun exercise to give you an idea about the matter.
Interesting articles on helicopter parenting: