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Helicopter and Hands-Off Parenting. Are You One of These Two Styles?

Helicopter and Hands-Off Parenting. Are You One of These Two Styles?

With so many parenting styles, is there any way to determine which one is right? Frankly, it’s not about being right or wrong; it’s about what is right for your child(ren) at their stage of development. That’s why we’ve been digging into parenting styles and providing the pros and cons of each. The styles vary, about as much as children do, which is a lot.

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We covered Tiger and Elephant parenting already. Now let’s take a look at two opposites (in this case, the opposite is an understatement). It’s time to check out the Helicopter parent, the Hands-Off Parent, and their pros and cons.

Please keep in mind that the pros and cons noted below are potential outcomes, not definite outcomes.

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter Parenting: Taking an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of your child(ren).

Pros

  • Establishes a safe environment for kids, especially online
  • Protects kids from challenges that they may not be able to see
  • Parents may feel greater joy and meaning in their own lives

Cons

  • Creates dependent children, which can extend into adulthood
  • Causes low self-confidence, and low self-esteem
  • Emotional resilience may be low because children don’t experience failure or pain
  • Entitlement issues could develop due to always getting their way

The true benefit of helicopter parenting is the safety that it provides to children. Because helicopter parents are so involved, they know who their kids are with, where they are going and what they are doing online, which can lead to a safe learning environment.

The emotional well-being of the child, however, may suffer because kids may not be developing the skills necessary to deal with failure, getting hurt, or struggle to achieve without parental intervention. Unfortunately, without these coping skills, kids could develop anxiety and depression as they grow up. If this is a concern of yours, consider taking a few small steps to help your child build up their own independence. Let your child make age-appropriate decisions, teach them skills that they can use to resolve their own conflicts, and fight the urge to constantly step in.

Hands-Off Parenting

Hands-Off Parenting: Minimizing involvement in your child(ren)’s life and not making them do certain things (ex: giving them a bedtime, making them go to school).

Pros

  • Creates an opportunity for kids to deal with challenges and develop competence
  • Kids become more resilient and are able to handle their own mistakes
  • Offers more “free play” time to kids, encouraging physical activity
  • Increases self-confidence and self-sufficiency

Cons

  • Increases potential risks online and outdoors
  • May cause other parents to question, and contact authorities

Hands-off parenting enables children to learn and grow on their own, which helps them develop emotionally. In addition, hands-off parents tend to encourage outdoor play, because they are less concerned with having an eye on their children at all times. This approach however, can lead to potential dangers, especially online where kids are just starting to learn about the pitfalls associated with the virtual world.

The biggest potential issue with hands-off parenting is taking things too far and encountering a situation with the local authorities. Hands-off parents should understand where the line has been drawn within the state and community and abide by those rules.

Is There A Right Style?

We did mention we’d be exploring opposite styles today, right? The word right, when it comes to parenting styles, is beyond gray. What works for you and your child may not work for another family – and that’s okay (great, in fact). Your child may thrive in a helicopter environment and may not be suited for a hands-off environment. Or, it honestly may be a combination of the two styles – helicopter when it comes to homework, and hands-off when it comes to sports and other after-school activities. Our goal is to help you understand parenting styles and bring attention to the pros and cons, so you can do what is best for your child(ren).

There are more parenting styles to explore! Next month we are going to dig into Instinctive and Attachment parenting. Keep an eye on the blog for that post.

In the meantime, check out our article, 5 Apps That May Pose Dangers To Your Kids (Tik Tok is one to watch for!). Or, visit our learning center for a variety of cybersecurity and IT-focused videos and articles.