There have always been overprotective parents.
But the phenomenon of overprotective parenting has become so widespread in recent years that a new term has evolved to describe a parent who hovers over their child, constantly intervening to control the child’s environment: helicopter parents.
There’s even one step worse: Blackhawk parents, named for the military helicopter, who even go so far as to write their children’s college admission application essays.
The desire to make life as easy and happy as possible for your child is a natural instinct for every parent. But there are times when this instinct is actually counter-productive. Childhood is a time for learning, and we all learn from our mistakes.
When you overprotect a child, you may be sending the child the message that they are not capable, or that the world is a terrible place.
When you encourage a child to take age appropriate risks and undertake age appropriate activities without your direct supervision, you can help them build their self-esteem, not to mention problem solving ability, and their understanding of cause versus effect.
You will still need to provide appropriate supervision, of course, but consider whether you are really giving your child a chance to experience life as he should.
If you realize that you have been a helicopter parent, you will probably find it hard, and your child will find it unsettling, for you to suddenly make a drastic change in your parenting style. Instead, look for small incremental steps that allow you and your child to both grow into your new roles.