The Dangers of Parental Overprotection and Helicopter Parenting
These two concepts, parental overprotection and helicopter parenting, are used to characterize parenting styles.
They began to be discussed at the beginning of this century. Currently, different sociologists and psychologists have warned of the negative effects of these phenomena.
Parents’ excessive concern for their children results in a generation of anxious and insecure children. In some cases, it can even lead to health problems.
It’s normal for parents to want the best for their children and try to keep them safe from harm. However, a parenting philosophy based on excessive attachment goes beyond the limits of a psychologically healthy parent-child relationship.
Many parents nowadays are overly involved in their children’s lives, which is the main characteristic of helicopter parenting.
What is helicopter parenting?
People who decide to start a family always aim to be the best parents they can be. However, sometimes parents take this motivation to the extreme by overly involving themselves in their children’s lives.
Overprotection can limit children’s development. Helicopter parents overly influence their children’s personality, since they pressure them with numerous extracurricular activities and intervene in their social life, among other negative attitudes.
Parental overprotection may interfere in children’s academic and professional future, as well as restrict their autonomy and independence.
Therefore, parents should strike a balance and avoid falling into the trap of parental overprotection and helicopter parenting.
Some warning signs
Certain behaviors may indicate that parents are falling into parental overprotection and helicopter parenting:
- Overindulging a child.
- Speaking in plural about the tasks that the child is responsible for, such as school work and extracurricular activities.
- Making all the decisions.
- Anticipating the child’s wishes.
- Avoiding boredom at all costs, which is why they buy all kinds of devices for their children, such as tablets and game consoles.
- Using words like “poor thing” or “they’re just tired” to excuse them and even do some tasks for them.
- Overstimulating the child.
- Supervising them at all times.
- Confusing the child regarding the authority roles at home.
“Parents’ excessive concern for their children results in a generation of anxious and insecure children.”
How does helicopter parenting affect children?
Children with helicopter parents usually develop inappropriate behaviors. In most cases, they aren’t self-dependent. They don’t know how to solve everyday problems at school or elsewhere.
This limitation in their development process:
- Makes them insecure.
- Causes low frustration tolerance.
- Makes them unable to make autonomous decisions.
- Leads to low awareness of risks and makes it difficult for them to establish cost-benefit ratios.
- Stresses them out due to constant pressure from their parents.
- Makes them capricious and lack empathy in their relationship with others.
- Leads to a misunderstanding of the achievement-reward ratio.
Why do children need space?
Children need their parents to give them love, respect, and protection. They should guide them and keep them safe, happy, and healthy.
In addition, parents should teach them basic emotional skills required to solve the problems and conflicts that they’ll have to deal with throughout their life.
Moreover, parents must be able to set boundaries and allow their children to make mistakes and autonomous decisions. This boosts their self-esteem and self-confidence.
It’s important for children to develop their own personality and discover their likes and dislikes. They need room to grow and become responsible adults.
For these reasons, parents have to be assertive and avoid authoritarian or permissive parenting styles. They must also resort to positive reinforcement.
Although your children’s well-being should be your first priority, you must learn not to pressure them nor overindulge them.
Constantly supervising your children won’t ensure they’ll have a perfect life. You have to let them grow and develop as individuals for a happier life.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Carballo Márquez, A. (2017). Cerebro, estrés y parentalidad. https://www.recercat.cat/handle/2072/326345
- De Vega, B. G., & Millet, C. E. (2017). Niños mimados, adultos débiles: llega la generación blandita. El Mundo, 11. http://www.adfundacion.es/imagenes/noticias/ksi996.pdf
- Millet, E. (2016). Hiperpaternidad. España: Plataforma. http://www.ampapoveda.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Nota-de-Prensa-HIPERPATERNIDAD-de-Eva-Millet-Plataforma-Editorial-2016.pdf