Child, Parenting

helicopter parents

helicopter parents

In this article you will learn what helicopter parents are and what causes and effects this parenting style has on children.

Helicopter parents – the pros and cons – do children have to be shielded from life?

For a number of years, one term has been making the rounds in the audiovisual and print media and that is helicopter parents. These are parents who are overprotective of their children. This means that they constantly hover over them like a helicopter to shield them from the dangers of life. Does this make helicopter parents particularly good parents, or do they interfere too much with their child’s independence? In our guide, we clarify where the term helicopter parents comes from and what consequences overprotection of children can have.


Where does the term helicopter parents come from?

The term helicopter parents, for parents who do not recognize the balance between caring and over-caring, is not new. The term was coined in 1990 by the American psychiatrists Jim Fray and Foster W. Cline, who used it in their publication “Parenting with Love and Logic – Teaching Children Responsibility”. . However, the phenomenon of overprotection was not new at the time and was described as a pampering style of upbringing by the Austrian doctor Alfred Adler as early as 1904. Adler assumes a parenting style that is based on overprotective care in situations in which the focus should actually be on the child’s independence and cooperation with other people. Examples of this are parents who, even when they are teenagers, still keep their children away from their own decisions and consistently interfere in their lives. For example, “Der Tagesspiegel” reported in March 2012 that many parents sit in the university counseling service instead of their children and make decisions about their future careers over their children’s heads. Learn more about parenting styles

Helicopter Parents – The Causes

Most parents want the best for their children and unfortunately sometimes overshoot the mark. No one is born a helicopter mother or father, but one’s own experiences from childhood and adolescence certainly play an important role in raising one’s own children. Parents who were severely neglected as children often want to take better care of their children and do not see how they are severely restricting their independence. ( Teaching children independence ) But, as the educationalist Albert Wunsch sees it, there is also the fact that most parents only have one child onto which they project their own ideas and wishes. ( Also read: Typical only child!) These are often parents who appear very committed, giving the image of the perfect family to the outside world. Social changes can certainly also be seen as a further cause, because in times of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, the pressure on parents to offer their children a secure future increases. As a result, some parents think they have to plan and control every step their child takes.

What effects do helicopter parents have on children?

That parents do not neglect their child and keep negative experiences away from him should be normal in education. However, education for independence also plays an important role, enabling the child in later years to live a freely determined life without the parents. At every age, the child should therefore take on a little more responsibility and be allowed to carry out many activities on their own. For example, anyone who still accompanies a schoolchild in the third grade to school and, in the worst case, to the classroom, robs them of an important experience, namely running together and exchanging ideas with fellow students outside of school. Psychologists and doctors like Alfred Adler, for example, see low self-confidence and an underdeveloped willingness to perform as a result of overprotection.

Other effects of helicopter parents on the children:
Some therapists, such as the American Wendy Mogel, even see overprotection as the cause of massive problems at school , eating disorders , ADHD and bedwetting . Responsible parents should therefore prioritize their child’s independence. This also means that they are not constantly observed, but are allowed to make their own decisions based on their age. Anyone who learns early on to think and act independently will also assert themselves later in life.
Different parenting styles and their importance


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