familyHovering over your children in an attempt to save them from all of life’s possible negative situations could prove costly in terms of your child's mental and social development. The term helicopter parenting is thought to have been originally used by college admissions offices to describe parents who played an overactive role in the admissions process. In previous years, college admissions consisted of relationships between students and colleges, but a new strain of parents started to intervene in the process – essentially hovering over what should have been the first personal, adult experience for high school seniors and new applicants. The term grew, over time, to include parents who micromanaged their children’s lives in an overprotective manner.

How Helicopter Parents Negatively Affect Children
Characteristics of a helicopter parent are varied as some parents practice a mild form of the parenting style while others form a more strict parenting style. Helicopter parents tend to be overly active in their child's activities and overly protective in terms of the physical and mental stresses their children encounter. Helicopter parents may take control of situations that should instead be managed by the child or young adult.

Helicopter parents typically have the safety and wellness of their children at heart, but the idea of caring for a child is expanded to include overprotection and neurotic tendencies. It is thought that helicopter parents look at the idea of good parenting and choose to expand on those ideas to ensure even better success for their children. The results often backfire by extending the childhood phase into a time when children should be maturing as young adults.

The extension of the childhood phase leads young adults to be less open and more conservative in their actions. New ideas and activities are less desirable as children tend to stay within their comfort zone. Words used to describe children of helicopter parents include anxious, impulsive, vulnerable and self-conscious – all traits most parents are hoping to avoid by upping the parenting ante, so to speak.

Research has shown associations between helicopter parenting and negative mental and social outcomes, but this does not mean all children raised by helicopter parents will turn out as introverts and individuals devoid of social acceptance. Some children turn out just fine; connecting with peers and going on to lead normal social lives.

Helicopter parents may have good parenting at heart, but the effects of over-parenting can lead to muted social development and long-term social issues as children grow into adults. Researchers and experts suggest parents be aware that over-parenting will not necessarily improve child development.  

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