Helicopter Parenting: What Is it and What Effect Does it Have on Kids?


  1. What is a helicopter parent?
  2. Helicopter parents examples
  3. What are the pros and cons to helicopter parenting?
  4. How to avoid helicopter parenting

Do you think you might be a helicopter parent? Or maybe you’re not even sure what it means? We’ll look at what helicopter parenting is, warning signs you might be heading in this direction, how this style of parenting impacts children, and how to avoid this behaviour. shocked little girl

What is a helicopter parent?


The helicopter parenting definition encompasses parents who are overly focused on their children and hover around them constantly. The term is most commonly used to refer to overbearing parents monitoring/overseeing schoolwork and activities at school, however, parents can start this style of parenting with toddlers and even continue after school years. 🎓

Why is it called helicopter parenting?

The metaphor appeared in 1969 in the bestselling book, Between Parent & Teenager, which mentions a teen saying, "Mother hovers over me like a helicopter". However, the term “helicopter parent” wasn’t widely used until the late 1980s. 

So what did this teen mean and what is the helicopter parenting style?


Helicopter parents examples


To define helicopter parents and their behaviour, it’s best to do this with examples. We’re also going to look at the pros and cons of helicopter parenting. Yes, there are some good points so don’t beat yourself up if you think some or all of this applies to you. 

We’ll also round up with how to avoid or limit this behaviour. Keep on reading to find out what and what not to do. 

So, what are the signs of a helicopter parent?

  • Over-scheduling activities and social life

Helicopter parents have a tendency to over-schedule activities they see will give their children a competitive edge. This can be everything from playing sports to participating in music. They might even meddle in their children’s friendships to influence their social standing and be over assertive when there is bullying.

  • The family budget revolves around the children

In an effort to give their children everything they need (and more) the family budget is dictated by the children’s interests and activities. Helicopter parents will put their children first above everything and forego their own desires and aspirations if need be. 

  • Have complete oversight over their children’s academic situation

This will include monitoring grades and talking to teachers when they think a poor outcome isn’t fair or accurate. Helicopter parents will often help their kids to the extreme with homework and assignments. They are usually the first parents to jump at the opportunity to volunteer for school functions too.

As we mentioned earlier, helicopter parents can continue this trend into their children’s adult lives. This could be everything from giving them wake up calls in the morning to making sure they’re on time for uni to ensuring they pay their taxes or bills. 

This behaviour all points to helicopter parents being too involved in their children’s lives. 😩


What are the pros and cons of helicopter parenting?


Whether you’re a helicopter mum or a helicopter dad the outcome will be the same. While not everything is black and white in life (and definitely in parenting) there are usually some clear pros and cons to this style of parenting. Let’s look at what some of the good aspects are and also the potentially bad effects of helicopter parenting. 

Why is helicopter parenting good?

❤️ Parents are taking an active interest in their children’s lives and are trying to help.

❤️ It can make kids feel protected and more secure. 

❤️ Children of helicopter parents are usually very reliable and will arrive on time, get their schoolwork done and be conscientious in other areas of their life.

Why is helicopter parenting bad?

😔 It can decrease a child’s confidence because they feel they’re not able to do anything on their own (this is what the parents have subconsciously taught them).

😔 It can increase anxiety levels and the risk of depression. 

😔 It can lessen a child’s coping skills and life skills if they never have to fend or think for themselves and this can carry on in adulthood.


How to avoid helicopter parenting


We all want what’s best for our children. There is a fine line between being involved in their lives and overshadowing everything they do. We’re not saying let them run free and allow them to do whatever they want. 

The best things you can do for your child to keep yourself in check are:

  • Let your child do what they are capable of alone. They’ve got this.
  • Let them be disappointed sometimes and make mistakes. Support them afterwards by working through the situation or issue. 
  • Let them choose their own activities and give them time to decide what they are interested in outside of academics. Of course, you can still be there to guide them and talk any decisions through with them.

On the flip side, what is worse than a helicopter parent? Arguably a parent that doesn’t take any interest in their child’s life at all or lets them do whatever they like even if it could be dangerous. As with all things, balance is key. ⚖️

Be careful too because there is such a thing as helicopter children, where they take over their parents’ life in later years when they think they can’t handle situations or make the right choices. At the heart of both of these roles and relationships is love. 🥰

We know you want to do the right thing for your child and that’s the beauty of parenting. Just remember sometimes the best thing is to take a back seat and let them figure things out on their own while being their most supportive cheerleader. 🙌Start your kid’s learning journey