Attachment parenting gets a lot of negative responses, and I'm willing to bet that it's because people don't understand it. That always seems to be the case, doesn't it? If a topic isn't understood, then it's easy to make assumptions and judge. It's especially difficult to learn about attachment parenting when it's often used as a synonym for helicopter parenting. But what's the difference between attachment parenting and helicopter parenting? Are they similar parenting styles or are they totally separate and should be judged as such?
Knowing what each parenting style stands for can help you determine the difference. According to Family Education, helicopter parenting is also considered over-parenting. It is characterized by being with your child at all times, "hovering" over them, and trying to foresee bad things happening, like not allowing them on a slide if you think they'll fall down. But Psychology Today noted that helicopter parenting doesn't always have an accurate description. Although it's routinely criticized for coddling your child and leaving them to be completely dependent, the idea that you're providing constant support for your child isn't a terrible idea.
But that last note is what really sets attachment parenting apart from helicopter parenting because yes, there is a difference. According to The New York Times, attachment parenting is all about being a safe haven for your child and being there for them, but only when they need you, not when you think they do. Basically, you're still giving your child the opportunity to explore on their own and have freedom (which helicopter parenting seems to lack), but when your child needs you, you are 100 percent there for them.
Even Attachment Parenting International recognized that many confuse attachment parenting with helicopter parenting, but they break down the difference in simple terms — attachment parenting's purpose is to bond a parent and child. That's it. With a secure attachment, your child is able to respond to stress in healthier ways, build healthier relationships, and develop emotionally and physically as a secure, confident person.
But the boundaries of helicopter parenting can vary according to Parents. It can apply to older children being coddled by parents and having their bills paid to younger children having their teachers, friends, and activities chosen for them by a controlling parent. Helicopter parents take too much responsibility for their child's failures and successes and are considered overprotective and overperfecting of their children.
When you know what each parenting style stands for, the differences are pretty easy to see. Attachment parenting is about creating a secure bond with your child and helicopter parenting is about hovering over your child, trying to ensure that their lives unfold as you think they should. The two are not synonymous with each other and are very different. But like any parenting decision, deciding on a parenting style means finding the one that works for you and your family.