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The Helicopter Parenting as a Parenting Technique

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Parenting is always different in every household, whether the parents are overbearing or let their kids go free to make decisions and mistakes on their own. Parenting is the foundation of your child’s life that will lead them to success or failure later on in life. There are many different types of parenting and sub categories in them, but no two households will have the same experiences in parenting. Every child is different and will behave a different way within each sub category of parenting. These types of parenting techniques are all heavily debated to see which is the best for your child. No matter what beliefs you have that will make your child the best they can be, all good parents can agree that they are doing what they believe is best for their child.

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One type of parenting techniques that can be seen as too cruel is the “chinese” parenting technique. This implies that the parents are overbearing and push their children to the breaking point to make sure they are the best they possibly can be. These techniques are often seen as cruel due to the idea that the way they are pushing their children is with harsh words and verbal lashings until they perfect their craft. Many times these parents will choose the child’s interests for them and most often it is a musical form of mastery along with academic superiority over all other children to make sure their child is the most successful. This type of parenting is praised for its results in putting many of these children in well paying jobs and highly respected positions later in life, but it is also criticized for its removal of the child’s interests early on making them devoid of any creativity. “what struck me is that those students actually practiced for hours because they loved music, and genuinely practiced for hour after exhausting hour because they couldn’t get enough of the emotional expression that piano afforded them. Piano held none of that for me – through rote practice, I had simply acquired the ability to simulate true talent.” (Wong 8) This states that he wasn’t emotionally investested in what he was learning making all of his movements mechanical and inhuman compared to the other children who were putting their love and emotions into their music making them more invested and creative. This type of mechanical and forced skill ruined any interests for Wong in piano as shown by him saying, “Today, the emotionally draining oppression of 11 years of piano training has had a remarkably tragic effect: I can no longer play the piano without almost immediately feeling a sensation of impotent rage and frustration every time I make a small error,” (Wong 8) and “Worse, the association of this feeling with music in general has made it so that I can’t enjoy music to any deep degree” (Wong 8) this is an example of how forcing something on a child can make them come to resent what they were learning. There are also positives for some as shown by Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld in her statement saying, “You were right, Tiger Mom. In the end, I interviewed a terrifying Israeli paratrooper whose story changed my outlook on life. I owe that experience to you.” (Chua-Rubenfeld 9) This tells us that not all of those who were brought up in a “chinese” household were upset with the way they were brought up, and that some are glad to have been brought up in such a strict and limit pushing home.

A largely looked down upon form of parenting is known as lawnmower parents. They are known as lawnmower parents because they cut all of the obstacles out of the way of the children making sure they never suffer failure or get put into a hard situation. These types of parents make sure their children will not know the feeling of disappointment or being a failure at something. This sets them up to believe that they can’t fail, and when they eventually fail at something they will not know how to take it since they never learned how to deal with failure. This is often confused for helicopter parenting, but this is much more damaging with how instead of the parents being super involved and making sure their children getting the education they need they are actively removing obstacles from their path taking away many building blocks for making a productive person.

Helicopter parents is a term for parents of another form of parenting that is looked down upon by most for being to invasive and involved in your child’s education. These are separated from lawnmower parents because they do not actively try to remove obstacles from their child’s path when learning, they try to ease them into these situations instead of dropping them in the deep end. This can be seen as too cushiony for kids to learn properly, but some studies have shown that helicopter parenting helps children be more engaged in their learning and be more productive in class. This type of parenting can lead to children still relying on parents input for decisions much later in life instead of them learning to make tough decisions on their own. Still studies have shown that with the economy in a recession children relying on their parents is becoming more and more of a necessity. “Such extremes are easy to find and hard to defend. But changing economic circumstances – namely, the recession – may give helicopter parenting more legitimacy.” (Aucoin 1) This is an example of how helicopter parenting has been given more legitimacy in today’s climate compared to those before it. This leads to more and more reliance on parents for financial support and possibly housing support. Helicopter parenting can be a good thing when done correctly without too much influence on your child’s life with this in mind, let’s explore some more parenting techniques.

On the opposite side of the spectrum there are uninvolved parents that don’t get involved in their child’s life and hardly ask about their schooling or social lives. This can lead to a break in your child’s base of right and wrong, with them discovering their way through everything on their own with no basis for what they should and shouldn’t do. These types of parents can have a very large negative impact on their child’s development cycle without basic discipline or appraisal they aren’t going to know what to do and are going to search for it more heavily in their peers. These children are more prone to acting out in search of the attention they are missing at home and tend to have lower self esteem and do worse in school. If not appropriately addressed this can lead to a cycle of uninvolved parents and children with low self esteem and behavioral issues.

Permissive parents is another type of parents that have a negative impact on their life developmental cycle. These parents have rules but don’t enforce them and are more friendly with their children than they are parental. These children are more likely to have lower grades and be more dismissive of the rules due to their lack of respect and authority. Many of these children grow up to still scoff at authority due to the fact that punishment was so lax in their homes as shown by this quote “They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules.” (Morlin 1). Without a strong sense of authority in their lives kids can often come to believe that the rules do not apply to them and that they are above the rest.

With all of these in mind we can pull ideals from all of them to come up with an idea for the best parenting ideal. I believe that parents should be involved in a child’s education, but only as a support mechanism to make sure their child is taking it seriously and not being lax on their grades. With this in mind, I also do not believe it is a parents place to determine their child’s extracurricular activities and they should let them be creative in their own rights and figure out what they want to do. This can also be used to set a good example of their decisions and the consequences they have, like if they want to be on a sports team let them join it, but do not let them quit if they want to. This could be used as a learning opportunity for them, and they can learn to more closely examine something before blindly joining or following it. Parents should also give their child space to converse with other kids and learn from them as well, this could teach them people skills for later in life like working in a group. Dealing with drama at a young age could teach them how to react later in life if someone starts an issue with them. I also believe rules should not be as exaggerated with their children if it is a small issue so they don’t grow to resent authority, but you should paint them a bigger picture of how authority is a good thing and make sure they understand what the issue is. Parenting is not an exact science it can be used to grow your child and teach them lessons, but it’s not going to define them and it will not be the same for everyone. 

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