, Salem, MA


August 16, 2013

10 ways to avoid being a helicopter parent

Recently, I was asked by several parents about “helicopter parenting.” Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe an overprotective parent. It’s been used since the 1990s; however, in 2011, the term was added to the dictionary, legitimizing it. Helicopter parents are parents who are well-intended, who inadvertently undermine their children’s development by stepping in and taking charge at the slightest sign of discomfort or challenge.

It’s not easy separating appropriate parenting from helicopter parenting, and certainly, all responsible parents need to be protective. One benchmark that distinguishes appropriate parenting from helicopter parenting is whether safety is a factor. Of course, when behaviors are unsafe, all parents need to be “hands-on.” On a daily basis, a child’s challenges are less about risk of imminent danger and more about handling disappointment and other negative emotions. Helicopter parents often intervene when life is perceived as being a little too uncomfortable for the child. Examples include asking the school to change a teacher or a child’s grade or intervening when a child is excluded from a peer’s social event. These are all uncomfortable life realities that a child needs to learn to adapt to. A parent’s energy is much better spent helping the child through these disappointments, rather than focusing on fixing or changing them.

When parents are overly involved in their child’s life, they interfere with the child’s developmental process, specifically the development of self-esteem. Children need parents to guide them by asking them to consider possible scenarios without making the actual decisions. A child of overly protective parents is at risk for lacking life skills, such as knowing what to do or how to cope when unexpected life events occur. When children make decisions and work through disappointments, they gain confidence, self-reliance and competence. Children, as they grow into puberty and beyond, need to have an internal sense that they can take care of themselves and be OK beyond their parents.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Poundstone2 Wait, wait ... it's Paula Paula Poundstone often makes fun of her own awkward appearance, which she emphasizes by wearing men's ties and wide-lapel suits. "Is it me, or do I have the worst posture in the history of the world?" she asks in one routine. "I hope to eventually go

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • mainstage 'Servant of Two Masters' designed to keep you laughing The Mainstage Theatre at Salem State, which will shut its doors in June, opened 30 years ago to the sound of laughter. With performances this weekend and next of Carlo Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters," it's going to close that way, as well. "

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fishes North Shore Entertainment Calendar Music MUSIC AT GULU-GULU. Shows are at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted, at Gulu-Gulu Cafe, 247 Essex St., Salem. Thursday, April 17, David Simmons Annual Theme Night, a Simon and Garfunkel Tribute; Friday, April 18, Lowman, alternative; Saturday, April

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140415_SN_HAND_READERSEYE The reader's eye Name: Corey Kramer Hometown: Beverly Description: "I pass by this view every day on my way to school. This photo was taken at Endicott Beach. I enjoy taking photos of nature, which does not require human recognition to show its beauty. I have done ve

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • riverhouse Good cause Cheer on the Red Sox, support the River House Everyone is invited to watch the Red Sox game at the second annual Danvers Community Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of Maple Street Congregational Church, 90 Maple St. Cheer on the Sox as they play the Baltimore Orioles and pa

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Father of four is selfish to put health at risk Dear Abby: I am a 34-year-old wife and mother of four. I'm concerned about my husband. He is 44 and drinks at home every evening after work. I don't mind him having a few cans of beer, but he drinks between six and 12 a day. He refuses to see a doct

    April 17, 2014

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, April 17

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Cellphone snoop discovers boyfriend is cheating

    Dear Abby: I have been in a long-distance relationship with "Victor" for several years. Recently, I began to suspect he was cheating. What raised my suspicion was that I suddenly couldn't reach him on the weekends. Usually, we would Skype -- Sunday n

    April 16, 2014

  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, April 16

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Signs of an abuser apply to women as well as men Dear Abby: I read your Jan. 8 column about the warning signs of an abuser. Would you use your influence to say that men are also victims of abuse? My son was in a three-year relationship with a woman who scored 15 out of 15 on your list. We knew it

    April 15, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker