The term helicopter parent appeared in the literature as early as 1969 when Dr. Haim Ginott wrote a book entitled “Between Parent and Teenagers,” when a teen complained that her mother hovers over her like a helicopter. The American Colleges of Administrators began using the term in the early 2000s.
Parents were calling their children at colleges to wake them up for classes and complaining to professors that their child’s grades were not fair. Also, children who attended camps reported complaints from baby boomer parents about their children’s unhappiness, activities, and that their child’s needs were not meet etc.
Professor Mullendore from the University of Georgia believed that cell phones, computers, and modern technology make our lives with our children, “the longest umbilical chord. Many of our students will call their parent, talk to their mother and father four and five times a day. A day.” It’s about too much presence or being “hyper present” and the “confusion of over involvement,” according to Madeline Levine.
In early childhood, well-educated parents are playing Mozart to their unborn child in utero. Parents are obsessing over peanut allergies, doing their child’s projects or homework, hiring tutors who are overly involved in their grades, worried about SAT score, and choice of colleges. College educated parents, according to research, want to pass on their knowledge, talents, and skills on to their children to help them be successful. This is not a negative aspect of being well educated, it is just different from the working class or poor income families who just want to provide food, shelter, and comfort and view their children development as unfolding. Dr. Gail Saltz believes that to build resilience, a child must fall down and experience frustration tolerance. As an important part of Child Development Saltz believes that children need to fail, feel pain, and learn life lessons.
I believe that Dr. Gail Saltz is right; we cannot always rescue our children and make everything alright. We need to teach them responsibility, hard work and problem solving skills so they can learn to make healthy choices and be self sufficient people. As parents we need to look at our own needs and relationships with our children. We need to think and reflect if we are really helping our child or teaching them how to rely on us to solve their problems and make everything perfect so they will not suffer. We all love our children and want to give them so much, especially if we did not have an easy life. If we always buy them things instead of teaching them to earn it through hard work, chores and jobs, they will never learn the value of a dollar.
The answer is how to find a balance and do both: To be a parent who is emotionally there for their child, and supports them in their endeavors with unconditional love.