Helicopter Parents: Why are Some Parents so Overprotective?

by : Dr Robyn Silverman

We hear it everyday. Many of today's parents are more overprotective than they once were. Teachers complain that parents are doing their children's homework for them. Children complain that they can't do anything without being under the watchful eyes of Mom or Dad. No matter where the children are or what they're doing, their parents are not very far away.

Most parents certainly mean well. They want the best for their children. It's clear that parents should get involved with their children's lives as a positive mentor, teacher, and guide. As a society, we want parents to care about their children's feelings, successes, and goals. But sometimes, some Moms and Dads might do too much for their children. This can inhibit their children's ability to learn how to work and play independently.

A helicopter parent is one who hovers over their child and swoops in at any sign of discomfort or challenge. They are considered by most to be overprotective.

Parents can be overprotective for all different reasons. Here are a few:

1. Need for control: Moms and Dads can't control Bin Laden. They have no control over the pedophiles or the kidnappers they read about in the paper. They can, however, control how their children spend their time and of course, with whom.

2.Bigger, Better, Faster: Children who are learning skills are usually slower and less adept than their parents. Therefore, it's not surprising for parents to feel that "It will be faster, bigger, bolder, and just plain better if I take charge."

3. Fear the failure: These Moms and Dads can not stand by and watch their child feel inadequate, unprepared, or miserable in any way. It is too heartbreaking. They believe that it's their job to shield their child from these negative emotions.

4. Desire to live vicariously: These Moms and Dads spend their time doing a large amount of their child's work and looking for acceptance and approval for their own performance. They get personally invested in every aspect of every activity their child engages in and take it to heart when their child fails.

5. Entitlement: These parents are constantly checking to see how you are treating their child in comparison to others. They keep their eyes on everyone else's plate. They believe that their child should get more of your time, additional energy from your staff, and lots of free "extras." If it will help their child, they will ask for it.

6. Need to keep them young: Some Moms and Dads are saddened by the idea of their children maturing and needing them less. When children are dependent on their parents, parents can feel needed and wanted.

It takes a very patient, secure parent to allow their children to employ self reliance. Children who are self reliant are confident in their own skills and therefore, are more apt to go after their dreams.