Some parents can’t handle the sight of their child in any stage of distress and can’t stop fearing for their safety, meaning that they are constantly thinking about scenarios where the kid’s safety can be endangered in everyday life. These parents consider themselves the last line of defense in the face of a cruel world, fraught with danger and potential chaos that the child must be protected from. Their name is, you guessed it, helicopter parents.
A kid with this kind of parents has a tough time although, from the outside, it might look like he is being constantly pampered. While that is true, it also means that the child doesn’t do much, if anything, on their own. When your day to day life is already planned out by Mommy or Daddy and they are always there to help you make “the right decisions,” you eventually can’t decide on anything without running it by them first and having your “unhealthy interests” shut down in an understanding yet firm manner. That sounds like a typical situation in a normal family but what I’m referring to are the exaggerated cases. For example: “You can’t go to a street dance class, you are better than that. God only knows what types of people you’ll find there. If you want to dance, I think ballet suits you better. Besides, I am friends with the dance instructor so she’ll take good care of you. I’m saying this for your own good, sweetheart!” or “You want to go to a martial arts course? Honey, you will get hurt! You have such a frail body and the people there are all brutes! You wouldn’t last a week and I can’t have this beautiful face of yours get smashed in by those barbarians! Haven’t we decided you are going to become a doctor? Doctors save people, they don’t hurt them, silly goose!” Those examples serve as insights to the mechanisms employed by the helicopter parents to guide the child on the path they think is correct: they deprecate the initial interest of the child by adding negative value to it or to the people related to said interest, they either shut the idea down completely or offer an “acceptable” alternative and finally they realign the interests of the child with their own predetermined long-term plan of action. Premeditation at its finest, if you ask me!
Helicopter parents are afraid of things just like everybody else. What they fear, they subconsciously project on the child’s life because they see the child as an extension of themselves, not an autonomous, living, breathing human. This leads to families taking precautions for scenarios that are unlikely to happen or that are so absurd that they cannot happen in real life. Also, the child may not fear what the parent dreads, so a lot of work may be done for nothing. These processes happen beyond the scope of the conscious, so normally the parents are not aware of this fact and will be obstinate in their belief that what they are doing is right, and will resiliently withstand any attempts made by people to tackle the subject. Continuing on the idea of the child as an extension of the parent, besides fear, unfulfilled desires are also added to the image the parent fashions about their child. If mom/dad wanted to become a lawyer but failed, as a helicopter parent he/she will push this aspiration on the offspring. If mom/dad already is a lawyer, he/she will not accept anything less from the child than the equivalent or better than him/her. The “extension” takes on the role of fixing the frustrations and meeting the expectations that the parents had for themselves.
The line between a normal parent doing what needs to be done to keep their child safe and a helicopter parent is not clearly defined yet most of us can spot these specimens after a quick observation of the interaction between them and their offspring. Helicopter parents never describe or see themselves as such. They are so caught up in their own fears, in that horror movie playing in their mind that they project it over the child’s life and start fending off imaginary monsters through rigorous routine and constant checking on every aspect of the child’s life. What they consider to be harmful has to go. That derives from a sane way of thinking. Children should be supervised and kept away from harmful influences but helicopter parents tend to drag the concept into the pathological territory.
Helicopter parent’s kids don’t do everyday chores necessary for autonomy. They are taken care of by the parent so that the child can focus on “the important things.” Later in life, the grown-up child will push those chores on the significant other because they are used to having things run that way and see it as “normal.” They also don’t learn or perform anything other than the limited scope of what the parents forced them to do and as such, appear arrogant to the rest of the world.
Children become dependent on the parent who’s doing everything for them. They stop making decisions on their own or acting out of the range of desires of the progenitor. If the goal of the parent, in the beginning at least, is to create an independent, strong individual, the exact opposite is achieved: the child becomes a defective adult, handicapped by imaginary boundaries set in his head by parents who suffer from the same limitations. This paves the way to the child implementing the same upbringing method on his own offspring, tortured by his/her own unfulfilled desires that were denied by his parents, and hoping that his child, at least, can accomplish what he/she was forbidden from doing. Do you see a pattern here?
helicopter puppy parents!
I don't think it is selfish of you at all. You have the will to decide you own life's course. I guess you did not have helicopter parents.