What is Helicopter Parenting and what are its effects?

March 5, 2013 Published by

With reports of helicopter parenting in the news again and the government’s advisor calling on parents to stop babying their children it’s no wonder parents are feeling harangued again.

Parents are trying to do what is best for their children and constantly being given seemingly conflicted advice – play with your children and spend quality time with them versus don’t baby them and let them learn things for themselves.
We’ve spent a lot of time researching child development and, as is often the case with emotive subjects, a bit of common sense and balance goes a long way.
The idea of a balanced play diet, where children spend some time playing with their parents, some playing with their friends or siblings, some time playing alone and ideally other times playing in a wide range of other situations including grandparents, mixed aged groups, peers etc is a powerful one. Not only do children play different games in these different situations, they also learn different skills.
The beauty of this realisation is that parents can relax about how much time they have to put aside to spend with their children and take a bigger-picture approach whereby they can make sure that children have a range of play opportunities over the course of a week or month and enjoy the time they do spend together, whilst at the same time not feeling guilty about sending the kids out into the garden so that they can get on with their activities.
By understanding more about child development, parents can feel more confident and relaxed about the choices they make and as such will be more emotionally available to their children and ultimately be better parents. We all love a win-win situation.

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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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