A parent seeking help and advice should probably steer clear of the
local bookstore, library or newsstand. Everything - from our failure to
let our children go to our inability to tell them no - has been
analyzed, dissected and discussed by supposed experts in both the media
Helicopter Parenting? What style is that?
The following article is written in defense of helicopter
parenting and was published in The Baltimore Sun.
are also known as overprotective parents
who are thought to over
They are so named because they are said to hover closely around their
children, rarely letting them out of their reach.
This type of parenting style has been getting more and more media
attention of late and this
article adds a very interesting dimension to
What are your thoughts about this style of parenting which is becoming
more and more controversial?
Is this your parenting style?
In Defense of Helicopter Parenting -
By Halaine S.Steinberg
April 23, 2008
The result? The birth of the "helicopter parent," defined, classified
and ultimately reviled to such an extent that no one in his right mind
would admit to being one.
As a veteran teacher and student adviser, I have often sat front row
and center while some visiting expert expounded upon the devastating
results and consequences of helicopter parenting. And after more of
these programs and talks than I care to count, I have come to the
have good intentions, but they need to back off sometimes &
allow their children to learn how to fight their own battles. Every
time anything happens to today's college aged students, mom &
dad are calling & raising hell. When will these young people
Enough of labeling as "difficult" the father who calls a teacher to ask
why his son failed the biology final. Enough of patronizing the mother
who intervenes when her daughter is victimized by the "mean girls" in
her class. Enough of rolling eyes at the parents who spend time
researching the colleges for which they foot the bill.
I have come to this conclusion because not only am I an educator, but I
am the parent of 18-year-old twins and a 20-year-old. I confess that I,
too, have asked for conferences to discuss failing test grades,
initiated discussions about mean girl behavior, and researched enough
colleges to write my own guidebook.
I suppose that makes me a helicopter parent. And I suppose, as an
educator, I should know better.
Over the years, I have also known plenty of
professionals who roundly criticize parents who are conspicuously
absent, either physically or emotionally. These parents' helicopters
not only fail to hover, but fly them off to work, meetings, lunch
dates, dinners out and weekends away from their children. Those
professionals among us who know better are quick to point out that the
ensuing vacant airspace is likely to be filled with mischief from a kid
with too much time and too little supervision.
In fact, if we hear that a teenager is even considering hosting or
attending a house party, we insist that the helicopter make ready for
landing, blades revolving in a frenzy of parental directions,
stipulations and boundaries. Do you have a teenager with a new driver's
license? We invite you to fly your helicopter low, following behind the
car if possible. And if we find out a young person may be experimenting
with sex, drugs or alcohol, we welcome helicopter parents to morph into
the even more extreme "lawnmower parents," who will go as far as to
steamroll over their children in pursuit of their safety and well-being.
The schools, the experts, the media, the village that it takes to raise
our children demand that parents step up - and, at the same time,
caution us to back off.
a tough balancing act for even the most adroit among us.
Certainly, helicopter parents have the potential to be intrusive and
annoying. But, hey, at least we are there. We are the ones who sell the
gift wrap, bake the brownies, set up the after-prom party, chaperon the
dances, drive the carpools and keep score at the Little League games.
We are the class mothers, the coaches, the field trip contacts, the
emergency phone tree heads and the teacher appreciation luncheon
organizers. We know how to be there when the school needs our
contribution, and we deserve to be welcomed when we need the school to
hear our voices.
At one colleague's school, even the offer of a free dinner could not
entice parents to attend a PTA meeting. The teachers there would
eagerly trade their long-distance parent relationships for a few
helicopters hovering on the horizon.
We are not asking for dinner, just a little conversation.
Copyright © 2008, The Baltimore Sun
Read more in this series here:
Over Protective Parents
Would you like to comment on these articles by sharing how you feel about this type of
parenting......Share your thoughts on this parenting style:
Are they intrusive and annoying, or
necessarily engaged in the lives of their children?
Contact Me and share it with
us....we'd love to hear from you!