Homework at 3 p.m., piano at 4 p.m., karate at 5p.m. and bed at 7p.m.; once again, no time for friends. Your mom insists she’s just trying to shape you into a successful adult but you don’t want to be an adult, you want to be a child.
The role of the parent is to educate, protect, and care for the child, but there is a fine line between caring and obsessing.
The “helicopter parent” or the “tiger mom” is a common but deadly breed of parent. Known for their over protective and scrupulous personalities, helicopter parents are taking over the world.
The term “helicopter parent” has been used as early as 1969 but gained popularity during the 2000s when kids reaching college age were becoming infamous for having overly strict baby boomer parents.
Professors reported being harassed by parents who would constantly call them. This form of parenting not only causes anxiety among children but also among teachers and educators who have to interact with overly obsessive parents.
By doing their children’s homework, finishing their projects, obsessing over extracurricular activities, and constantly contacting their teachers, parents are not allowing children to become independent.
Strict parents ultimately mean no harm but the reality is that their sons and daughters are becoming slaves to severe rules and extreme possessiveness.
With no chance for emotional growth and exploration, kids have a hard time accomplishing goals on their own. Some disadvantages of authoritarian parenting include depression, anxiety, rebellious behavior, secrecy, and failure to learn self-control.
“My parents are really conservative and watch mostly everything I do. I remember once when I was at a robotics event, my dad literally hovered around the table to supervise what everyone was doing,” freshman Ruben Castellano said.
A study has shown that kids with controlling parents are more likely to become depressed. The pressure of being expected to be perfect; to always get straight A’s, to never fail, never slip up, and never have a bad day becomes extremely overwhelming.
Helicopter parenting creates anxiety among children of all ages. Kids are becoming afraid of failure but parents must understand that failure is what teaches children a lesson.
According to MAST counselor, Andrea Pastorello, the ideal form of parenting is “balanced”. It is okay to set rules, but the main goal should be to seek the happiness of the child.
“I think it’s important for a parent to be involved with their child so we can all be on the same page with the student. I think it can get carried away to an extreme when the parent is constantly emailing the teacher or when it gets to the point where it becomes obsessive. Parents should be involved in the sense of preparing for college, scholarships, financial pace, making sure they’re on track with the right courses. If the parenting becomes too much, it’s restrictive and it’s not teaching independence,” Pastorello said.
Students tend to agree with Pastorello’s assessment.
“My parents don’t micromanage what I do or constantly ask me to do my homework. They let me go anywhere because they know I make the right decisions. I love having laid back parents. I have a sense of freedom and I feel like more of an adult. I definitely feel prepared for the real world,” sophomore Isadora Smith said.
Helicopter parenting is a dangerous phenomenon and should be treated as such. Though helicopter parenting comes from a place of good, it only does a disservice to the children of these parents. It breeds dependence in children on their parents, when independence is what parents should be cultivating in their children.