Just like any other aspect of parenthood, people will always have opinions — and insist those are the only correct ones — about how you should be raising your child. In addition to friends, family, and strangers chiming in with their two cents, it seems the news, media, and society is constantly coming up with newest dos and don'ts for parenting. Recently, though, there has been an increased emphasis on specific parenting styles and how to tell which category fits you. So as you scroll through your news feed, you might wonder what are some of the signs you are a helicopter parent?
On the spectrum of current parenting styles, helicopter parenting would be at the more conservative, hands-on end whereas free-range parenting would most likely fall to the liberal, hands-off side. Plus, there are plenty of varying styles in between, like submarine parenting, attachment parenting, and tiger parenting, just to name a few.
You can probably make a pretty solid bet that the parenting landscape will change (again) in the next 10 or 20 years, too. In the meantime, however, if you're curious as to where you might land in the realm of parenting styles, check out some of these top signs you are a helicopter parent.
1. You're Frequently In Hover Mode
As the name suggests, helicopter parenting is a nod to the way choppers tend to hover over things. In the case of parenting, however, you're not hovering over a grassy field somewhere to take in the views, you're hovering over any and all of your child's movements.
2. You're Involved With Homework
This isn't always a bad thing, mind you, but helicopter parents have gotten a bad rap for taking the lead on their children's homework. If you've ever completed a science project for your kid, you might be a helicopter parent.
3. You Keep Them From Pain
As child psychiatrist Dr. Kyle Pruett noted on Psychology Today, wWe value our children’s success in life so dearly, why would we ever pass up a chance to spare them distress when it seems within our power to do so?" A hallmark sign of the helicopter parent is wanting to be within close enough proximity to your child that you swoop in and save them from a disaster.
4. You Go To Battle
Have you ever argued with a teacher, coach, or instructor when they have given your child less than desirable marks on their performance? For helicopter parents, protecting a child's confidence is almost as important as their safety. Dr. Carolyn Daitch, director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders, told Parents that helicopter parents react this way because of the negative connotations associated with sub-par performance.
5. You Consider Parenting A 24/7 Gig
Some parents choose to unwind after they've put their kids to bed by having a glass of wine, watching some Netflix, or finally getting to have an adult conversation with their partner. For helicopter parents, however, their child is always on their mind, whether they're in sight or not.
6. Your Don't Cosider Your Child's Opinion
I've definitely done this more times than I care to admit. I've been told by virtually all my friends with kids that disregarding my son's feelings and proceeding with my decision because I feel it will produce the best outcome is a telltale sign of helicopter parenting.
7. You See Danger Everywhere
Psychologist Dr. Michael Karson wrote in Psychology Today that a deep-rooted fear of danger is a prime motivation for helicopter parenting. That's really not so surprising given how often reports of child abduction and violence appear on the news. Wanting to shield your child from potential tragedy is the driving force behind many helicopter parents.
8. You Help Out — A Lot
Logically, I know my son is capable of feeding himself, going potty, or completing many basic tasks. Yet, at the first sign of difficulty, my instinct it to jump in and assist or do things for him. Again, I've been told plenty of times that this is classic helicopter parenting behavior.
9. Your Child Doesn't Have Personal Space
Licensed psychologist Dr. Ann Dunnewold told Parents that, "a helicopter parent might constantly shadow the child, always playing with and directing his behavior, allowing him zero alone time."
10. You Throw Shade
If you've ever been at a play date, children's play center, or a mommy and me type group and found yourself horrified by another parent's choices, thinking "I would never do/let my kid do ___," you might be a helicopter parent.
11. You Don't Use The Word "No"
As a parent, it can be difficult to turn down a plea from your precious angel. Karson noted in Psychology Today that, "helicopter parents find it difficult to impose structure and limits." The pouty lip and big, sad eyes get me every time.