Helicopter parenting can restrict your child from developing basic adulting skills.
Many of you will probably relate to Eela, played by Bollywood actress Kajol in her latest movie Helicopter Eela. Eela looks familiar simply because she represents many parents who, in the name of loving and taking care of their child, tend to hover over him or her constantly.
Popularly known as helicopter parents, what they fail to comprehend is that their overprotective attitude not only puts their relationship with the child at risk but can also have a negative impact on his or her growth. Loving and supporting your child is one thing, controlling his or her life is another and it can only throttle the child’s individuality.
Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, HOD-Holistic Medicine & Psychology, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, explained, “Helicopter parenting is not good. That said, the generation gap is only becoming wider with each day, thanks to the digital age. Children are becoming adults very fast, and it becomes difficult for parents to cope. There’s growing insecurity among them, which is why they tend to be overprotective.”
If you are already wondering whether you are a helicopter parent, here are some typical traits you can look out for:
1. You fight your child’s battles
Parents might sometimes end up negotiating conflicts on behalf of their child, which is a sign of helicopter parenting. You may have come across parents who tend to intervene in every little argument among friends, cousins or speak to the teacher on behalf of the child, among other such instances. This, in turn, restricts your child from learning to handle situations on their own. There’s nothing wrong in extending your support to your child but not at the cost of playing proxy for him or her.
2. You do their school work
Parents are a child’s first educators, no doubt, but that doesn’t entail completing his or her school assignments. Let the child work independently, meet deadlines and learn in the process. Healthy levels of stress aid a child in developing problem-solving skills.
3. You are overprotective
A lot of parents tend to be overprotective, from monitoring the child’s every movement to censoring all that he or she is exposed to. Parents need to realise that they cannot be their child’s shield forever. Children need to learn to take responsibility for their actions, which they are unable to develop due to their overprotective parents. Besides, constantly worrying and being anxious about the child will only add to the parent’s stress level. “Parents will remain anxious all the time, which will transcend down to their child. That way, the child will also feel stressed constantly,” Dr Singh said.
4. You maintain your child’s schedule
If your life revolves around maintaining your child’s exam schedule and managing their time between playing and studying, it’s time you take a break. Parents need to maintain their child’s timetable in the early years, no doubt, but he or she gradually needs to learn to be less dependent. Children need to learn time management and to prioritise their activities, which will only help them in future.
5. You make choices for your child
Parents often make choices on behalf of their child, right from the clothes one should wear, the books one should read to the company one should keep. This, in turn, impairs the child’s decision-making abilities and it only becomes more pronounced in future. Parents need to guide their child, of course, but they should surely refrain from imposing their opinion or decision about things on children. “One can only show the path to the child. But sitting on their head constantly won’t allow the child’s personality to develop,” asserted Dr Singh.
6. Yelling out directives
Parenting, for many, revolves around constantly telling their kid what or what not to do. Children need to be given some amount of autonomy, to help them develop basic adulting skills.
At times, helicopter parenting can make the child feel that his or her parents are being too intrusive. This might instigate the child to rebel or drift apart from parents, Dr Singh warned. “And in cases where the child can’t rebel, he or she starts withdrawing, which affects growth even further,” she added.