How Do Helicopter Parents Interfere With a Child’s Education?

Parenting is a lifelong endeavor that ebbs and flows through different stages and seasons of a child’s life. Parenting has been described as “my heart living outside my body.” And, there is no doubt that parents want the best for their children — to protect them and see them thrive. But, when does the involvement in your child’s life become harmful?

At Community Education Research Group, our early education programs serve infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to help guide and set them up for success in public education. In today’s post, we will explore the topic of helicopter parenting and how perhaps maybe a little too much attention can be disadvantageous for their growth.

Helicopter Parenting

As parents and caregivers, seeing our children succeed is of great importance, but sometimes, that becomes blurred in their life experiences — they will eventually experience heartbreak, hurt, and loss — you can’t protect them from life!

This is where the term for a “helicopter parent” was incepted — it is when parents are overly focused on their children and tend to take on too much responsibility for their child’s failures and successes. It is overparenting at its finest combined with an abundance of control, protection, and perfection. Just like a helicopter hovers, so does the parent!

What does a helicopter parent look like?

A helicopter parent is one who injects themselves into their child’s life. An archetypal example comes from the TV show The Goldbergs. Beverly Goldberg is the mother to three kids and they endearingly refer to her as the “smother.” It is not uncommon for her to insert herself into her children’s lives by calling up the principal and arguing grades or sabotaging their relationships as a result of her disapproval. She is a quintessential helicopter parent.  

A helicopter parent is widely known for keeping track of all of their child’s time and being not allowed much freedom in their day-to-day activities — over all, a helicopter parent exerts their control.   

Why do helicopter parents like to hover?

Parents do not wake up and journal during their morning quiet time, “today, I’d like to become a helicopter parent,” so how do these traits develop? Becoming a helicopter parent can manifest through a series of feelings, including:

  • Panic of consequences – Panic can set in through low-grades, not getting into the school play, or not getting into the desired preschool. Parents are merely trying to prevent their kids from failure, struggle, and underperforming, so they try to control the results.
  • Anxiety – Parents will always worry, but it is when their anxieties about the external world are when they begin to hover — they want to shield and keep their child from ever being disappointed or hurt.
  • Adult projection – If the parent themselves had issues in childhood such as neglect, they will try and overcompensate for this with their children. Excessive control and monitoring is a way they try and fix these feelings.
  • Parent pressure – Since there is no guidebook to parenting, if a parent sees how involved another parent is with their child, they often will mimic this to be deemed a “good parent.” Guilt can also play a large factor in helicopter parenting; we feel if we’re not completely and 100-percent engaged that we are bad parents.

Helicopter parenting is a far-reaching topic, that is abundantly diverse, so we’ll split it into two posts — stay tuned for the second part!

For an infant, preschool, or toddler program that nurtures and helps develop important life skills, connect with us today!  

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