Writings from Christine

Are You a “Helicopter Parent?”

by on October 7, 2018

are you a “helicopter parent"

Mindy was told by her teenage daughter in the middle of a rage that she was being a “helicopter parent.” Her daughter was upset that Mindy asked for details about where she was going that night, who was going to be there, and when she would be getting home. For some reason, this standard line of questioning set her daughter into a rant about what a controlling mother she was. Confused by the term “helicopter parent”, Mindy decided to evaluate it for herself.

Helicopter parents often hover over their children despite their age. This is a parent who is obsessive about their child, tends to be overprotective, and takes an excessive interest in everything their child does. While the degree of acceptability can be different for each age, this quiz is mostly designed for high school parents. To compare, preschool parents get a pass, elementary parents need to be watchful, middle school parents need a red flag warning, and high school parents are derelict in their parental responsibility.

Do you:

  1. Do homework for your kids?
  2. Solve friendship disputes for your kids?
  3. Insist on chaperoning or attending every social, school, or extra-curricular activity?
  4. Confront teachers when your child doesn’t get the grade you believe they deserve?
  5. Interrogate your child daily about what happened to them when you were not present?
  6. Believe that your child does very little wrong and others are to blame for their misfortune?
  7. Rescue your child every time they ask you to and even when they don’t?
  8. Tell your child who they can and cannot be friends with?
  9. Make all of your child’s meals?
  10. Do their laundry?
  11. Allow them to sleep with you?
  12. Let them get away with not doing their chores because they are tired?
  13. Believe them every time they tell you that they are sick?
  14. Pick their teachers and/or classes for them?
  15. Go behind your child’s back and talk to the coach or authority figure to give them special instructions on handling your child?
  16. Fill out their job/college applications, take their online tests, and/or do their job/college interview?
  17. Insist that your child talk to you before they make any decision?
  18. Try to be friends with your child’s friends?
  19. Praise your child even when they have not done the right thing or a good job?
  20. Give your child gifts that are excessive or unwarranted?
  21. Rarely say, “No” to your child?
  22. Regularly point out potential dangers or harms your child might encounter?
  23. Tell your child that they can only count on you for support and loyalty?
  24. Lie or exaggerate about your child’s accomplishments?
  25. Fill all of their free time with activities you are interested in?
  26. Pick out your child’s clothes?
  27. See a bully behind every insult your child receives?
  28. Feel guilty when your child says they are bored?
  29. Refuse to let them participate in sleepovers?
  30. Withhold chances for them to get a driver’s license or a job?
  31. Monitor all of their electronic devices daily?
  32. Question them about how they talk to their friends on social media or text messaging?
  33. Follow them and all their friends on all social media?
  34. Believe that you have to protect your child from all harm?
  35. Refuse to let your kid do activities alone?
  36. Say that you trust your kid, but you really don’t?
  37. Run over to your child when you see that they are alone?
  38. Tell your child what they should do as a profession?
  39. Introduce your child to activities that you like and not ones they might enjoy?
  40. Tell your child that you know the best way to do things and insist that they do it your way?
  41. Try to minimize any frustration, anger, or anxiety in your child by taking on their tasks?
  42. Automatically assume that your child is being taken advantage of during a dispute with others?
  43. Fake losing a game to make your child feel better?
  44. Speak for your child when others ask them a question?
  45. Get angry when another adult disciplines your child?
  46. Set up job/college interviews for your child?
  47. Still, clean their room and bathroom?
  48. Take credit for your child’s accomplishments?
  49. Call or text obsessively when your child doesn’t answer their phone?
  50. Cancel your plans to take care of your child when they have a minor cold?

Answering yes to any of these questions can be problematic, and the more that apply to you the greater danger you are in of being a “helicopter parent.” It is best to write down any yes’s you may have replied with and review them with your child and a professional to see if there are some adjustments that you need to make in your parenting skills.

Posted under: Writings from Christine

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