I have blogged about helicopter parenting previously and continue to work with many young children and adolescents who exhibit fearful behavior that is hindering their social, emotional, and intellectual development.
I often tell parents that their fears and helicoptering may be protecting their child’s physical health, while severely damaging their child’s emotional health.
Life is full of risks that are unknown and some that we take knowingly because the rewards are great.
This blog on Has Helicopter Parenting Gone Too Far? is a nice summary of the negative effects of over-protective parenting, which often causes children to become highly fearful and risk-averse, or leads to the opposite, which is excessive and unwise risk-taking behaviors.
It points out that many of the dangers parents fear — strangers, crime, drug use, sexual activity — are actually lower than in previous generations.
I found this to be an intriguing comparison:
In fact, the greatest dangers to children are events that occur in the home and/or are conducted by someone the child knows: sexual and physical assault in the home, kidnapping by a relative, and gun-related death that occurs in the child’s own home or involves someone known to the child. Even Internet solicitations for sex occur overwhelmingly when the child is at home. It’s an ironic truth that, statistically speaking, children from middle-class families are safer outside their homes than inside.
Children also pick up on a parent’s anxiety, even unspoken worry, through a neurobiological effect called “emotional contagion,” or emotional attunement.
Parents: remember that you cannot protect a child from every danger, but you can help him or her learn to manage danger in smart, self-protective ways by exposing them to risks at age-appropriate situations and levels.
…be kind to yourself (parenting is hard!)