I'd like to think that becoming a helicopter parent was more fate than choice. I endured a traumatic childhood, and promised that when I had children I would always, always, be around. And now that I'm a mom of two, well, I have to fight the urge to run to my kids' side at even the slightest hint of a problem. Yes, I know, a parent hovering over their children is often criticized, but I think there are some positive things you can learn from helicopter parents.
That's not to say helicopter parenting, like any other type of parenting choice or philosophy, doesn't have its downsides. I am constantly stressing over my children, and often to the determent of my mental health. I'm arguably over-protective, and sometimes I parent situations that my children are entirely capable of handling themselves. I don't give them the freedom and space they often need — mostly out of fear — and I know that sometimes my worry and love can be "smothering," if not even slightly annoying.
But there are undoubtably things every parent can learn from helicopter parents, despite the negative connotations and bad rap us hovering moms and dads receive. And while any form of extreme parenting isn't the best option, I'd rather "over-parent" my children than fail to parent them when they need me. So with that in mind, here are the lessons every helicopter parent innately knows, that everyone and anyone could benefit from:
We Know How To Advocate For Others
There's no better advocate for a child than an unapologetic helicopter parent. If my children need something, I'm there to make sure it is provided to them.
This skill really came into focus when my daughter was being bullied at school, and terrified of getting her bullies in trouble (which would've only made the situation worse, in her eyes). That's when I stepped in and made phone calls to the teacher, the bus driver, and the school principal... and guess what? The bullying stopped. When my kids need an advocate and a strong voice in their corner, I am there.
We Know How To Provide A Safe Space For Kids To Fail
As a child, I didn't have a set of adults involved in my life, so more often than not I felt like if anything happened to me — good, bad, or indifferent — no one would care. I was on my own, and that was terrifying.
My children will never feel that way. They know that if something bad happens, mom will be there. As a result, they're not afraid to take risks and try new things and be adventurous. If they fall, I will be there to catch them. If they fail, I will be there to pick them up and urge them to try again.
We Know How To Maintain A Schedule
Helicopter parents know what's up. They have meticulous schedules and to-do lists that would make your head spin. It doesn't matter if they work full-time, part-time, work-from-home, or are stay-at-home parents: their days are productive, scheduled, and efficient.
I think it's the desire to do it all, and do it well, that inspires helicopter parenting, and though it can be suffocating, exhausting, and stressful every now and then, no one's complaining when you're on top of everything, from laundry to groceries to dinner to weekend plans.
We Know How To Set Our Kids Up For Success
I can say, without a doubt, that growing up with a detached parent (arguably the exact opposite of a helicopter parent) was more detrimental than positive. As a result of my childhood, I struggle with mental health issues, lasting trauma, and a slew of insecurities that will undoubtably stay with me for the rest of my life.
So while I love my parents, I can't necessarily say they set me up for success. But I believe that's exactly what I'm doing for my children. They know they are loved, cared for, and protected... and that knowledge allows them to figure out who they are, take risks, and try new things. They have a solid foundation, laid down by their helicopter parent, that will allow them to stand on their own in the future.
We Know How To Stay Safe
We Know How To Stay Patient
In my experience, helicopter parents are incredibly patient. If it's going to take an hour for my 6-year-old to tell me a story from school, I'm going to sit and listen to every single word. If my daughter is going to take what feels like an eternity to climb a ladder on the playground, I will continue to stand there in case she falls.
We Know How To Love Unconditionally
Yes, I would argue that most parents know how to love unconditionally, so this skill is not unique to helicopter parents. But it is obvious in the way a helicopter parent hovers over their children. It's apparent in how we care for them, worry about them, and help them when they need and want our help. So say what you will about helicopter parents, but you absolutely cannot say that we don't adore our children.