In Defense of Helicopter Parents

In Defense of Helicopter Parents


shutterstock_233959027I have helicoptering tendencies. I like to think that awareness of the problem is part of its prevention, but when it comes to my children I have been known to remind, help, smooth the way, add my two cents and check-up on them more than a less enmeshed mother might consider absolutely necessary.

I try not to be as extreme as some (I can never imagine calling a college professor to discuss grades, or coming along on a job interview, as some parents have been known to do.) And as they get older I am purposely sitting on my hands, biting my tongue and reining myself in, because I understand that independence (theirs) is a muscle that needs exercise.

Even so, I can understand how parents can go from helpful to hovering. For years the message we’re given is “the world is scary and complicated; your kids need you to navigate.” Then one day (their 18th birthday? The day the leave for college?) we are told: “Time is up. Pencils down.”

So I read with interest, and more than a little reassurance, an article in the Boston Globe yesterday defending helicopter parenting.

Reporter Don Aucoin writes:

Beyond such undeniable excesses, a quiet reappraisal of helicopter parents is underway. Some researchers have begun to argue that late adolescence and young adulthood are such minefields today – emotional, social, sexual, logistical, psychological – that there are valid reasons for parents to remain deeply involved in their children’s lives even after the kids are, technically speaking, adults.

Moreover, they say, with the economy in a deep swoon, helicopter parents may have a vital role to play as career counselors or even as providers of financial aid to their offspring.

Aucoin goes on to redefine the terms we use to describe “involved” parents, drawing a distinction between over-parenting and helicopter parenting. READ MORE