Saturday, 16 April 2011

Are you a 'Helicopter Parent'?




A 'Helicopter Parent' is a term used to refer to parents who adopt a parenting approach that has them hovering over their children's lives almost in an interfering manner regardless of whether the child needs them or not in any particular situation. It has also been referred to as 'overparenting' because these parents seek to smooth their children's lives out for them without giving the child an opportunity to work out a solution for themself.

This approach is most commonly seen in educational institutions where parents barge in to see teachers or university lecturers to demand that their child be given a better grade or mark because that is what he/she deserves, according to the parent's observation.

Helicopter parenting is made easier by modern gadgetry so distance is no barrier to calling your child up to check on what they are doing. Parents have been known to call their child's mobile to wake her/him up in the morning. Sarah Briggs, Confessions of a Helicopter Parent, calls this the 'world's longest umbilical chord'.

Such a parenting approach goes against my theory of mothering which advocates teaching your child the skills of autonomy of thought and action so that he/she will have a framework from which to draw upon when making important decisions. Also, the decision to leave the child to get on must be age appropriate too. I would not entrust my 11 year old with the decision on how her savings ought to be invested. However, I do seek her opinions on her choice of subjects and how best to tackle her homework because this is an age appropriate life skill to be learning.
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