First things first, what exactly is being a helicopter mom all about?
The term, helicopter parenting, was first used in Parents & Teenagers by Dr. Haim Ginott. This book from the 1969 has teens describe their parents as if they were hovering over them like a helicopter, constantly watching their every move.
Sometimes people talk about “lawnmower parenting,” “cosseting parenting” or “bulldoze parenting” as an alternative to helicopter parenting.
The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting
The dangers of being a helicopter parent are obvious. By constantly shadowing your child you allow him or her zero time alone. This is of course bad for personal development. Besides, helicopter parents have the tendency to direct behavior, allowing the child to make no decisions on his own.
Of course, you try to do what is best for your child. But by trying so hard you actually do the opposite. Not only might this be extremely harmful for the development of your kids, it can also doom your marriage.
Why would you “helicopter” in the first place?
There are many reasons that could have led to you becoming a “helicopter mom.”
You might be worried about a low grade, or about your child not being invited to another kid’s party. These things can seem disastrous to worried parents. Especially if they could have been avoided with some parental involvement. Unfortunately for helicopter parents, the things they try to protect their kids from can actually be great teachers for them in life. Sometimes it is required to struggle before you can grow.
Other parents keep a very close eye on their kids because they are over-anxious. They worry about the job market, the economy, the safety of their kids or even the world in general. This can push a parent to controlling a child’s life with the goal of protecting the child. Worry can drive parents crazy. But the cold, hard truth is: you cannot always keep your child from being hurt. That’s part of life.
Some parents have created a routine of helicoptering because they were neglected, unloved or ignored as children themselves. Now they feel the need to overcompensate with their own kids. This leads to excessive monitoring and attention in order to not let the the flaws of their own youth get repeated.
Overinvolved parents can make ‘regular’ parents feel like they don’t give enough love or attention. So in a way they trigger each other. It is basically peer pressure that causes the excessive monitoring. Parents should not feel guilty or bad when they let their kids do some exploring on their own. Sometimes your kid might take a hit or be disappointed, but that is the best way to learn. We all make mistakes, that is inevitable. Sheltering your children from making mistakes is probably worse – and bad for your sanity – than letting them choose their own path.
How Being A Helicopter Mom Could Ruin Your Marriage
Being a helicopter mom is tiring. Not just for you and the kids, but also for your husband. Perhaps he has a different view on how to raise the kids. But because of your compulsive monitoring and excessive attention he doesn’t stand a chance. Also, because you give so much attention to your children he has a hard time giving as much attention as you do.
If the two of you have very different approaches to how you want to raise the kids, that is sure to bring disaster into your marriage. Sooner or later things will go awry. And from there on it is a slippery slope. He will blame you for when the kids fail at school, or when they are not able to make their own decisions.
Please be aware that it is not only your job to raise the kids. The both of you have that responsibility. If you can’t agree on which terms you will raise your kids then they will definitely notice this. It will impact them and change them. They pick up some habits from mom and other habits from dad. Perhaps they will think mom is a lunatic for keeping such a close eye on them. Or they might think it’s convenient that mom makes all the hard decisions and as a result they never become independent.
Love Your Kids, Give Them Some Space
Sure, you should give all the love you have to your children. They are probably the most precious things on earth for you. Take care of them. Look out for them. All of that is okay, as long as you don’t overdo it.
There are certain boundaries that you, as a parent, will need to adhere to. Learn to let go of the reins a little. Just give your kids some space. Let them explore. Let them make mistakes. It’s okay. Because you know what, they will probably be just fine!
Author Bio: Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.