Helicopter Parents


In the past decade, educators have noticed an increase in the number of students with “helicopter parents”.  These are mothers and fathers who pay too much attention to their children.  The name comes from parents who constantly “hover” over their children, being overly protective and constantly intruding in their children’s lives.

Many teachers have come to dread the “helicopter parent”.    When their children perform poorly on a test or an assignment, the parent will often angrily lash out at the teacher while the child goes blameless.  In extreme cases, helicopter parents will do their children’s schoolwork for them in order to ensure that their children get a passing grade.  Although this may lead to a better report card, teachers complain that these children are learning nothing except to depend on their parents for everything.  What’s more, these children learn to be afraid of failure at a very young age because they have always relied on others for success.  Psychologists argue that a major part of positive childhood development is for children to try and to fail at things by themselves so that they can learn to take chances in their lives in order to succeed.  They claim that helicopter parenting is robbing them of this valuable learning experience.

The increase in helicopter parenting has also changed the way that teachers do their jobs.  Because these parents regularly praise their children for every little effort, their teacher finds that he must do the same or the child loses confidence and feels insecure.  Although it was common for teachers to give the occasional pat on the back to a student who works especially hard, teachers complain that nowadays they are expected to continually praise and reward the efforts of all students, even if their efforts are not exceptional.  This can be demoralizing for a teacher and it also discourages other students from making truly outstanding efforts.  If everyone is praised highly no matter the effort, they say, then what is the reward for making a bigger effort?

The problem of helicopter parenting is not limited to childhood.  Children of helicopter parents are now entering college and university as young adults.  Despite this, many helicopter parents are still actively involved in their childrens’ lives.  They even go so far as to pick out which college their children will attend and which subjects they will major in.  College interviewers have even been astonished to see prospective students attend an interview with their parents tagging along and answering questions for them!  Some people wonder how far helicopter parents will go for their children.  Will children attend job interviews with them after graduating from university?  How will these children function in a demanding world where their parents can no longer help them?