So What Exactly Is A Helicopter Parent, Anyway?

23 months.

It turns out that several people who read both Part 1 and Part 2 of “Oh Wait, Are We Helicopter Parents?” a few weeks ago had to ask me what a helicopter parent even is.

Basically, it refers to any parent who “hovers over” their child to the point they could be considered to be practicing attachment parenting.

The stereotype would be a parent who when dropping off their child at daycare, creates anxiety in their child by lingering around too long, instead of properly saying goodbye and giving their child confidence they will be okay for the day without their parent there the whole time.

I realize now, I’m definitely not a helicopter parent.

Instead, I’m simply aware that little boys die in accidents at a much higher rate than little girls. Much of my “hovering” has to do with keeping my son safe in parking lots, as I should with a 23 month-old son.

It’s more about risk management and being my son’s bodyguard, necessarily.

When I think of a helicopter parent, I think of someone who freaks out when their child darts away in the middle of a park.

My preconceived idea is that the parent sets such tight parameters on that child that he or she doesn’t know how to act when they are presented with a window of freedom.

I would like to think of myself as the kind of parent who encourages my child to be independent. I want my son to want to explore his world, but yet at the same time have a concept of the real dangers that exist out there.

While we were at the pumpkin patch a couple of weekends ago, my son Jack was excited when he saw the pick “potato sack slide.”

But as we climbed up the stairs and he saw how far down his Mommy was, he began to get scared and started to cry.

Needless to say, we went down the slide together, despite his reservations.

For me, it was a symbolic of how as a parent, I’m there to push him when he needs courage, to inspire him to try new adventures, and to remind him that while I may not being hovering over him, I’m still there keeping him just as safe.

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  1. by Jenifer

    On October 18, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Helicopter parenting and attachment parenting are two very different things.

    The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.

    A helicopter parent is a parent who “hovers” over their child, rarely out of reach, always ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice if they detect any possible harm, discomfort, or challenge that might befall their child. (even if the lessons would help their child learn, grow, or eventually, succeed).