Have your parents ever gone to your school and told the teacher that a certain B or C grade can’t be right? Being present at your open day, college fair, even job applications, and taking over? Helicopter parenting is loosely defined as parenting that pays excessive attention to children’s every move and experience. Helicopter parents are highly involved, overprotective parents who tirelessly oversee every aspect of their children’s lives and sometimes even act on their behalf.

The phrase “helicopter parenting” originally referred to parents who were Baby Boomers (those who were born between 1940 and 1960) and children who were Millennials (those who were born between 1980 and 2000). Early in the new millennium, as the millennial generation started to enter their college years, this phrase came to prominence. College professors and admissions officers began observing the parents’ invasive behaviour and publicly criticising it.

Parental involvement in a child’s life can be extremely beneficial, but only if it is developmentally appropriate. Despite parents’ best efforts to help their children, helicopter parenting has been found to have harmful effects on the well-being of developing adolescents. For children to develop, it is often necessary for them to fail and learn from their mistakes through trial and error. Unfortunately, helicopter parenting limits children’s ability to engage in this opportunity, and research, according to medical news, suggests that it can stunt a child’s cognitive and emotional development.
Additionally, if parents exert too much control over situations and step in before children try to handle the challenge on their own or physically keep children from challenging contexts altogether, they may hinder the development of self-regulatory abilities. The over-involvement of the parent makes the child believe that their parents will not trust them if they do something independently. It, therefore, leads to a lack of self-esteem and confidence.
Research, according to the health centre and clinic, found that over-controlling parenting of a child at age 2 was associated with poorer emotional and behavioural regulation at age 5. Likewise, the children who had better emotional regulation at age 5 were less likely to have emotional or social problems at age 10 and were also more likely to fare better in school.

Similarly, it has been shown that the parenting method may actually increase anxiety. Parents who were involved in their children’s education or who provided them with highly controlled surroundings as children were more likely to suffer from sadness and anxiety as adults and to be less persistent, according to college students. The perceived infringement of the child’s right to competence and independence was used to explain these effects.

While it is understandable and necessary to pay close attention to your children, you may cross the line by becoming controlling and taking decisions for them. It is time for such parents to recognise the problem and start trusting their children.    

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