Helicopter parents is a fairly recent term to describe parents who take parenting too far. These are the over-concerned, over-protective parents that will do anything they can to hover over and shelter their children from the dangers of the world and real life.
The term helicopter parenting has grown to describe the parenting style of billions of parents throughout the United States as well as other parts of the world. Fear and anxiety are leading parents to become extremely restricting in their parenting styles to the point where the children actually suffer both emotionally and socially as a result. They might even have underdeveloped immune systems because of the level of parenting the helicopter parents mandate when it comes to using too much antibacterial hand wash and other ways of cleansing impurities. This might cause them to struggle with sickness and an increased frequency of getting sick later on in life as they are no longer capable of living in a theoretical bubble.
As a result of helicopter parenting, some parents are resorting back to the basics with the new enlightened age of "free-range parenting." These parents strive to let kids learn on their own through experience and knowledge they can only acquire on their own through their own experiences. However some research shows this kind of parenting might be too much and allow children to get hurt more frequently, do poorly in school and struggle with finding their way in life. However, that is not always the case. Some children need to learn to grow on their own without the limitations of the parents. While both sides of the spectrum have good aspects of parents, both are too extreme to be effective. So where is the balance?
Helicopter Parenting vs. Free-range Parenting:
Some parents would argue that while helicopter parents are too restrictive, there are certain types of free-range parents whose practices actually border on neglectful. Ultimately when it comes to parenting, it is best to do what is the best way to prepare your child for the future and what is best for him or her, not what is best for the parent. Sure, a parent might develop some worry and anxiety over allowing their child to go on a field trip with the rest of his or her class. However, the experience they get from that field trip will be a valuable learning one they will never forget. However, is it responsible to allow your elementary-age student to go off with a group of friends to the beach with no parental supervision? Probably not. However, it is important to look at the age, maturity level and experience level of your child.
Some 10-year-olds are simply more prepared for the real world than other 10-year-olds. It is important for parents to weigh their battles when it comes to making allowances for their children. Walking a half a mile home with their friends from school in a safe neighborhood is probably not going to result in your child getting kidnapped. In fact, the chance of this happening is only one in 1.5 million. Despite these odds, parents are still hovering over their children and won't even allow them that half-mile of exercise each day to walk home from school. Teaching your children safety tips and helping them to develop their common sense.
When it comes to providing your child with proper nutrients and health care, many parents are jumping on the organic, gluten-free bandwagon. While this is a great idea, is it really necessary to take it as far as only using homeopathic medicines and to refuse vaccinating your children? For some, this is a viable option. For others it is taking it too far. There are many situations where the parents are so restrictive to the point that their children are unable to grow up successfully and are simply unprepared to be adults. This will cause them difficulty in college, relationships and with getting jobs and otherwise being successful adults. However, there is always the idea to try and simply do what is best for your child. Don't limit them so they can't experience life, but don't let them go to the point where they don't know where they are going. Ultimately choosing a parenting style is a very personal choice and should be done according to the preference and lifestyle of the parents.