We call helicopter fathers and agenda mothers those parents who want to totally control and organize their children’s lives. They act with the best of intentions, but they end up infringing the freedom of their kids.
A helicopter father and a diary mother continually check the children’s homework, exams and activities, preventing them from planning their own lives.
They are custodians of all data and all school and extracurricular activities, thus causing a dynamic of real dependence. As a result, children find it harder to become responsible for their duties, activities and interests.
Helicopter fathers and diary mothers who leave a void in their children
With this hyper-protective attitude and with the anxiety of creating a glass bell around their children, they end up raising children who do not know themselves, unable to regulate their emotions and who ignore their needs and ambitions.
This relationship between parents and children is toxic: children are locked in thick protective bubbles that should perform the function of the most resistant armor there is, but which, in reality, are the most powerful seed of insecurity that can be planted. . Furthermore, these children are overstimulated, do not tolerate frustration and boredom as they are only able to play the passive role they are used to.
Parents, anxious to protect their children from any harm and to help them be brilliant, precisely plan every movement of their fragile (according to them) children.
In 1969, Haim Ginott, in his book “Between Parent and Teenager”, wrote: “My mother flew over me like a helicopter.” This phenomenon has spread socially and we have reached the point that many parents unfairly blame teachers for their children’s bad grades.
The helicopter fathers and diary mothers:
- They make decisions for their children in every area of their life.
- They monitor every movement and try to please their children immediately in every detail.
- They solve their children’s problems and always try to give them solutions.
- They always speak in the plural: “How much will we have to study for this subject!”, “How many homework they have given us!”, Etc.
This obsessive need to keep everything under control ends up being devastating for parents, who suffer a breakdown. They try to offer their children a life full of perfection, love and attention, giving them all possible resources and trying to prevent them from making mistakes that, instead, they should make in order to grow.
Eventually, reality shows itself for what it is and all castles built in the air collapse. Relationships like this end up suffocating: both parties are frustrated and exhausted and start experiencing heavy complexes and emotional problems.
Parental over-protection that ends up reflecting depression and anxiety
According to some studies, this over-protective style of education has dire consequences in the short and long term: the side effects are depression, stress and anxiety. A price that not only children will pay, but also parents.
This uncomfortable situation is due to the failure to respect three basic emotional needs: the perception of autonomy, the perception of competence and the perception of connection with others, especially with one’s peers during adolescence. In this way, anything that limits emotional development and growth has devastating consequences on a personal and relational level.
Children must be educated with affection and attention and these two values must be measured with common sense. We cannot intrude into all spheres of their lives or hold ourselves accountable for their obligations, because they will grow up feeling useless, incompetent and dependent. And that’s just the opposite of what we want for them, right?
Images courtesy of Karin Taloyr and Claudia Tremblay