Home Family & Relationship Is Helicopter Parenting Doing More Harm than Good?

Is Helicopter Parenting Doing More Harm than Good?

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Once upon a time, a technician and an old man both commenced nurturing a plant each. The technician did abundant research online and fostered the plant day and night whereas the old man kept it modest and did only what was required, neither more nor less.

One day strong wind strike both the plants and though both got spoiled on the surface, the roots of the old man’s plant remained intact and undamaged. This incident shocked the technician.

The old man then told him the secret: ‘I gave the plant a chance to grow stronger.’ 

Nowadays, the action of parents can be associated with that of the technician. Before the kids feel thirsty, they are ready with water; before they feel hungry, food is catered. Similarly, before the children encounter a problem, they are ready with the solutions, and before they commit mistakes, the parents eliminate any such circumstances.

Eventually, this kind of behaviour has given rise to a novel kind of parenting style called ‘helicopter parenting’. It simply suggests that the parents always ‘hover above’ the child (like a helicopter), supervising every aspect of the child’s life. From school to university admission, graduation, and even during work life, these parents tend to regulate and micromanage everything on the child’s behalf.

Remarkably, helicopter parenting is an over-shielding, over-dominating, and over-obscuring style of parenting that leaves no space for young minds to explore and experience things in their way and learn from them.

Harmful effects on the children

Helicopter parents make decisions for the children. They clean the child’s room, monitor their diet and exercise, obsess over teacher’s assignments, and believe that their self-worth is based on the success and happiness of their child.

Research suggests that such kind of parenting style decreases the problem-solving skills, self-efficacy, and overall well-being of the children. Also, the child becomes dependent on parents, develops a negative self-image, and fails to develop autonomous motivation. These kids are more likely to be medicated for anxiety and depression. If we continue to over-parent our kids, we are at risk of raising generations that are lacking three key virtues of personality which are: resilience, self-determination, and self-confidence.

Harmful effects on the parents

Helicopter parenting may cause a long-lasting tension between the parent-child relations. It creates a feeling of less life contentment, places emotional, and financial stress on the parents. Throughout life, the complete focus of the parents remains on their child which increases the parent’s expectations for reciprocation of practical support later in life.

This parenting style also creates tension within the family and may hurt the friends and family. This also increases the risk of exhaustion, guilt, sadness, stress, and anxiety in parents.


Helicopter parenting emerges as a major factor in marring the healthy growth and development of the children nowadays. The overprotective and controlling parental behaviour hampers the growth of life skills and the integrated personality of children.

Parents need to provide enough opportunities and space for their children to grow and learn from failures. If everything is provided to them, they will never understand the uphill battle it takes to acquire those things. Sometimes, guiding is better than giving. Advise them on how to walk, but let them pursue their path. Such an understanding and confidence in each other will lead to a mutually beneficial and satisfying relationship between parents and children. This will also enhance happiness and satisfaction in the life of parents as well as children and will allow them to handle each other’s disappointments more healthily.

Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.


Image credit: Freepik

Vitasta Dhawan is a research in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Punjab Agricultural University. She tweets @vd_vitasta

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