First, let me explain that there are different kinds of helicopter parenting. The school that I worked in had many helicopter parents. For the most part, we loved having them. It really does take a village to raise our children. Teachers and parents working together and trusting each other to support each child gaining their confidence to care for themselves and having the motivation to do so. It is a fine line of being there for our children and being overprotective. Take a step back to ask yourself if you are hovering in a positive way that will be helping your child find their life direction.
There is the kind that become so overly involved to their kids' activities and schoolwork in an effort to not only protect them from pain and disappointment but to help them succeed. In doing so, the child has not learned how to handle disappointment. Plus the parents personal lives revolve totally around the children, as their own interests and activities take a back seat.
Another characteristic is that these parents tend to over-schedule their kids in an effort to give them more and more and more. The term is often used in a derogatory manner, it is far from not being all bad. These children usually are on time, have their homework and projects and are prepared for their activities. Also, these parents know where their children are at all times, as well as who they are with. These parents that hit the fine line of not going overboard become an asset for the teachers and the school. They are the volunteers, in the PTA, help to raise money for the school and classrooms.
Once the line has been crossed it is hard to get back to reality of letting the children problem solve an issue because they have become so dependent on their parents handling it. Kids need to know how to advocate for themselves and know there are consequences. In fact, it has been proven that many times the over active helicopter parents actually interfere with their relationships with their child. If the children feel as if they are constantly being nagged to do things a certain way, they will just stop sharing what is going on.
There are some things to do in order to hover less. Just back off a bit to be sure your child is learning the skills to cope with life. There is such a thing as coaching and mentoring, then giving them the freedom to make choices and discover the natural consequences themselves. If this seems to cause too much anxiety on the parent or the child, it may be time to bring in a counselor to get some good tips on how to handle not standing over them while they are working, or worse yet, doing the work for them. What are they learning?
There is a way to be there for them only when they need it and even then, by asking questions to see if they can solve an issue or come up with a solution themselves. It is the way that they can learn the art of problem solving. In no way am I suggesting parents become members of the free-range style. This tends to be too permissive by allowing kids the freedom to make mistakes and explore without guidance. These parents believe kids can learn through trial and error. Children of all ages really do need the right kind of guidance and support. They respect it when given in a kind and gentle manner. Free range suggests that maybe the parent does not care enough to get involved.
One more type of parent is the bulldozer parent. They will just plow through everything to get barriers out of the way for their child. In recent years, you may remember that some very wealthy actresses paid money for others to take the SAT test for their children so that they could get into the University of their choice. If these children always had parents who removed the barriers and did not let their child learn through trial and error, then when push came to shove, they probably could not have passed with the scores they needed. Too late now. Jail time and fines were actually incurred for the parents and the children did not get to go where they wanted to go anyway. Not to mention the family embarrassment.
Instead of talking with their child about a bad grade, they go straight to the teacher accusing them of giving them the bad grade. This is not a pleasant scenario.
It is a known fact that kids who get the best of everything do not have the opportunities to practice defeat and will struggle later in life. What has it taught them? The word that we all want our children to be is resilient. Learning to pick themselves up and start over again, finding a different way.
Most parents usually have good intentions. They just need to be aware that it all could backfire later in their child's life if they don't watch out. Just be there for support and guidance instead of doing everything for them. Through communication, and the right amount of questioning, they will survive and be better off for coming up with their own solutions.
Your desire to help is natural, so go easy on yourself. Finding the right balance is the answer.
Be a great helicopter pilot/parent!