Research shows how helicopter parenting can be a result of perfectionism and anxiety
"I'm not saying they don't care about their children; of course they do. But they measure their self-worth by the success of their children." Segrin says.
It is only normal for a parent to give their children as much care and attention they need. But once perfectionism and anxiety start to reflect on your parenting, this could only lead to helicopter parenting. Parents who expect perfection in children may become helicopter parents.
Parents Who Expect Perfection In Children
A “helicopter parent” is known to take part in over-parenting which involves hovering over your children and interfering with everything that they do. Every parent wants their child to succeed in life, but over-parenting can only lead to negative effects and harm your relationship with your children.
Parents who are perfectionists tend to have their children’s goals and achievements reflected to them. They are attached to their kids and manage all their everyday activities giving them no room for them to learn how to do things on their own or make decisions for themselves.
“They want to live vicariously through their children’s achievements. They want to see their children achieve because it makes them look good,” Segrin says. “I’m not saying they don’t care about their children; of course they do. But they measure their self-worth by the success of their children. That’s the yardstick that they use to measure their own success as a parent.”
Overseeing and handling all of a child’s successes are results of over-parenting as parents who expect perfection in their children would want everything to go right for them. While this could be seen as support for your kids, there is an extent that could end up with a harmful result when hovering over anything your child does and solving every single problem they face for them.
Aside from perfection, the study also shows how anxiety in parenting can also cause over-parenting.
Feeling anxious about your kids does not necessarily already result in over-parenting but it could be a start. Overly worrying about your children could cause parents to instantly dwell on the risks and dangers that could harm them. Having mistakes in the past may be the reason why anxious parents hover over their children as they wouldn’t want them to make the same mistakes and experience bad things in their lives.
4 Effective Steps To Avoid Becoming A Helicopter Parent
While parents may be doing all the hovering with their child’s best interests at heart, unfortunately, helicopter parenting can do more harm than good to a child, especially as he/she grows into a young adult.
Julie Lythcott-Haimes, former dean at Stanford University said shared effective steps to avoid becoming a helicopter parent.
- Watch your language
Stop using the word “we”, when you really mean your child. “We’re” not in the soccer team and “we’re” not doing that science project. Your child is.
2. Stop questioning other adults who play important roles in your child’s life
If you find yourself arguing with your child’s teachers, coaches or other important mentors, perhaps you’re just a little too invested in your child’s life.
3. Stop doing their work for them
Yes, we want to see our kids do well at school and so we spend time doing their maths homework or science projects for them. But this is likely to result in a never-ending cycle of learned helplessness in your child — so stop doing their work for them.
4. Put independence in their way
When your children are old enough (ideally, the teenage years), encourage independence in them by asking them to run errands, teaching them to cook meals on their own, using public transport on their own and so on.
Lythcott-Haimes says this is not bad or neglectful, but in contrast. It teaches your child valuable social skills such as self-sufficiency and confidence.
Your children are among the most important people in your life and you would never want anything bad to happen to them. But you should also keep in mind boundaries that would allow them to grow and experience life on their own.