Are You a Helicopter Parent? 10 Telltale Signs


Helicopter parents: It's the name given to the obsessively protective moms and dads who "hover" around their kids. Of course, those kids end up becoming helpless teenagers and adults who always look for mama to swoop in and save them—a major parenting no-no. But what exactly separates the garden-variety parent from one that can't seem to give her kids a little space? Are you a helicopter parent? Check out some of the most obvious signs.

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You can't let go.

If you feel something akin to physical pain when your little one heads out the door to kindergarten, you might be a heli-mom. Hovering parents are so attached to their kids that it's almost impossible to focus on anything else; daily activities, constant conversations and every ounce of effort is reserved for your child.

You're a spoiler.

Some helicopter parents simply want to push their children to succeed, but others take on an enabler role instead. Since you want the best for your child, you could find yourself in the "gimme trap," where you feel obligated to provide the cutest clothes, the latest gadgets and the best of the best for your little one, without ever asking for her to work for it.

You're a lobbyist.

Some of the worst-offending hovercraft moms are the ones that treat their child's lives like an audition. Instead of allowing your child to make mistakes and reap consequences, you're constantly stepping in to prove that your child is perfect, smart, hilarious, bright, kind, generous and everything else. Hey, mom; you're not a Hollywood agent... you're a parent. Don't feel like you have to "sell" your kid 24/7.

You're a security guard.

Picture this: Your kid's playing on the swings when another child comes up and tries to push her out of the way. Are you a helicopter parent? If your first inclination is to put on your best bouncer face and step in, the answer's probably "yes." Not allowing your child to deal with conflict robs her of life experiences. Take a step back and see how she reacts; you might be surprised.

You're the homework helper.

Sure, you want your child to snag straight A's at school, but at what cost? If you're the one up until 1 a.m. gluing together a diorama of Little House on the Prairie while your child plays Angry Birds on her phone, you've gone too far. Don't forget that you already passed fifth grade; why not let your child do the same?

You're a total germaphobe.

Hey, we get it. Bacteria spreads sickness and hanging around a sniffling 7-year-old is pretty gross. But prepping your kid with bubble wrap, going insane with sanitizer and overdoing the germaphobe thing are all markers of a total helicopter parent. Kids get sick, but they also get better. You can relax.

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You don't respect independence.

If you're hand-picking your child's friends, scheduling her after-school activities and dictating her diet, you're probably hovering a little too close. Independence is a great gift for kids learning to make choices and find their way in life. When you take over the decision-making, you say "I don't trust you to choose for yourself." Not very nice, is it?

You always give in.

Helicopter parents often harbor a huge amount of mommy-guilt, which often translates into a lack of rules or constantly giving in to child demands. If you're the one to buckle when your kid is begging for bubblegum, you're probably overprotective to the point of shielding your kid from any negative experience ever. Bad form!

You're practically a professional toy researcher.

So, your little one wants the latest doll? Wait, you can't just buy it! You have to first research specs, check out on online rules and ask around before you acquiesce. You're so afraid that a toy won't be educational, safe or fun enough that you can't make a decision without 10 hours of online research first.

You're chronically over-prepared.

So you're headed to the zoo. Did you pack the sunscreen? How about extra snacks? Got a water bottle? How about the flare gun and life preserver? Helicopter parents are the ones that prep their kids for anything; and we mean anything. You can always spot their kids on the playground: They're the ones with the overstuffed backpack, the knee and elbow pads, a four-course meal and that miserable expression.