I dare say you’ve heard the phrase “helicopter parenting” get thrown around before. Maybe you’ve heard that it isn’t the best thing to do for the development of your children. But my main question, after the obvious “what is helicopter parenting?” would be where does helicopter parenting actually start? And is there a difference between being a helicopter and simply wanting to spend lots of time with your child? Spoiler alert: I don’t know if I have the answer. I never really do.
What is Helicopter Parenting and Am I Actually a Helicopter Parent?
What is helicopter parenting? Well it’s kind of in the name. Helicopter parenting is essentially where you consistently hover over your child and try to encourage and direct every little choice that they make. Parents who parent in a helicopter style tend to not want their children to make any mistakes and are arguably overprotective.
When I take my daughter to the park, or to soft play, I am by her side her almost the entire time. Probably because she’s 18 months old. I don’t tend to let her wander off too much, and I basically follow her around doing whatever it is that she wants to do. From the outside, I guess you could easily deem this as helicopter parenting.
But I genuinely enjoy following her around. I actually like going into the massive DANGER ZONE that is the older kids section at soft play. Let’s be bloody honest, it’s hardly a place you can send an 18 month old in on her own. That would be crazy. When I’m in there during peak time, I’m essentially Isabelle’s body guard. I stand by her side ready to fend off the attacking hoard of overly energetic, blissfully unaware seven year olds.
I’m more than happy to let her make non life threatening mistakes
Does that actually class as helicopter parenting? Or is that just slightly sensible? It’s hardly a wise idea to leave an 18 month old to climb up a metal set of steps with a 4ft drop whilst I sit on a bench half way across the local park. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for a spot of stupid parenting, just ask my wife, but I do try and avoid trips to A&E.
I’ve allowed children to push my daughter over, steal things from her, and one time I even allowed an overzealous little shit to bounce a basketball off her head three times before finally stepping in and going “alright mate, that’s enough.” I’ve even allowed her to fall off things where I know she isn’t going to get a compound fracture. In essence, I think I allow her to make the type of mistakes that an 18 month old should be able to make. If anything, I inadvertently encourage it.
Again, I don’t want to mention my wife, but please ask her. She will come at you with a HUGE list of my blunderous cockups. I legit almost fed Isabelle raw chicken one time. Personally, I think that’s Tesco’s fault for selling raw breaded chicken. I mean that shit should always come pre-cooked.
At what age is a child who can be Helicopter parented? When people talk about helicopter parenting, they don’t talk about the age in which it starts
I have absolutely no idea when helicopter parenting really starts. I’ve read a lot of articles and posts about it, but no one ever seems to mention at what age they deem a parent to be helicopter parenting. No one would say that a mother who constantly has her 3 month old on her is helicopter parenting. So I have no idea if I’m gradually stumbling into becoming one, whether I am one, or if I’m still at the point where it doesn’t really count.
All I know is at this stage I obviously do a lot of things with my daughter. But whilst I’m doing those things I try to teach her independence. As she’s well into the toddler stage, she basically wants to do everything for herself. Like literally EVERYTHING. So wherever is possible I let her. She helps lay the table, knife’s including (again, that’s questionable parenting), she does her own cereal with the milk and she even helps out with the housework. Although we haven’t quite nailed the ironing yet. Mind you, neither have I.
How will my parenting change as my daughter gets older?
As my daughter gets older I’m obviously going to give her more and more freedom to make mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, it will be a tough balancing act. Like I said a few paragraphs up, I do enjoy twatting about in soft play. So will this change when she gets old enough to be let loose unattended, or will I say bollocks to it and just turn into a slightly overgrown seven year old myself?
I think when I’m in there with her, I sometimes feel like I’m in there as a friend first, and a parent second. I’m probably the one looking to do dangerous stupid shit, whilst my wife is on the outside looking like this:
Let’s just say I have a track record of putting Isabelle in more danger than she would put herself in.
Either way, I think it’s incredibly important that we constantly think about how we’re parenting. But at the same time, we have to occasionally say bollocks to it and do what we love to do. People might think I look like a massively overprotective parent when I’m following my toddler around soft play, but they won’t be thinking that when I’m sending her down the huge tube slide on her own with no one at the bottom! I’m learning from my mistakes just as much as she is.