On Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting is an interesting term du jour. I’m not sure when I first heard it: perhaps a year or two ago. My favorite on-line encyclopedia tells me that a:

Helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.

Check out the full Wikipedia article here. The cartoon is especially amusing.

As I talk to other parents and read articles and books about parenting, I hear many anecdotes of helicopter parenting and many cautionary tales of the potential hazards of helicopter parenting. Until this article, I hadn’t seen much offering practical suggestions for how to avoid helicopter parenting or how to un-do your helicopter parenting habits. The article, from Parenting magazine, offers suggestions for how a parent could re-calibrate his or her parental identity. I like that, because from my standpoint, it’s never too late to change. If you conclude that your habits aren’t working for you, that is, they are ineffective, begin changing them today.

What do you think? Do you know any helicopter parents? Do you see any of these tendencies in yourself or your parenting partner? What practical cognitive and behavioral changes have you made to foster independence and responsibility in your children?

Lenore Skenazy, Free Range Parenter Extraordinaire, pointed me toward this article a couple weeks ago. Thanks, Lenore, for gathering us and drawing our attention to these important issues.

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