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What comes to mind when you hear the term “helicopter parent”? Do you think of yourself? Or do you have friends and acquaintances that come to mind? Webster’s dictionary defines the term, helicopter parent, as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.” Some of you might think this is a fairly new term, as it seems to be gaining more and more attention these days. According to Wikipedia, however, the term may have been first used as early as 1969 in a book titled Between Parent & Teenager, written by Dr. Haim Ginott.
As parents, we are all just trying to do the very best we can each and every day. Over the years, however, it seems that more and more parents are trying to make things absolutely perfect for their children. This could mean signing them up for every activity that comes along or taking care of everything in their daily lives for them. While these children and young adults may, without a doubt, have a great life, what is the cost? Do your children know how to problem solve and make decisions on their own? Are they able to perform basic tasks such as making their bed or cleaning their room independently? The problem is that there are many kids who do not feel capable of performing even the most basic tasks on their own because they’ve either never been asked to or have never been taught to. These things have just been taken care of for them.
It often starts as small things that we know will help make our children’s day that much better. Then before we know it, our children are preparing for college without many of the basic skills, domestic and educational, to function without us standing there at every turn. This can even continue to be a detriment to our children as they head out into the workforce, preparing for life on their own. There was an excellent article printed in the USA Today regarding this very topic. Feel free to read more about the implications of helicopter parenting in this USA Today news article.
There is an abundance of information available at our fingertips on this subject. Whether you feel strongly for this style of parenting or you are against it, here are a couple of other resources you can read to help you begin to make the choice or changes in your household: