Sep 242012

Mary Fam provides us with some very interesting and eye opening tips about child development. Often, parents want to overshadow rather than empower their children. It’s difficult not to hover, but in order for our children to develop the life skills they need, we have to let them experience life.

child developmentAre you a “Helicopter” Parent?

Jimmy walks into his first day of Kindergarten, immediately followed by a strange hovering object…oh wait it’s his mother. She finally lets go of his hand; or rather the teacher peels it off. Throughout the day, Jimmy seems to be adjusting well, and suddenly something appears in the window right outside his classroom, also hovering, its Jimmy’s mom! End of the day arrives, and all went well, as the teacher takes the class along with Jimmy out to the pick-up area, she is almost blown over by the strong blasts of propelled questions from the “helicopter” parent, “so….how did he do? Is his reading level right, what about his writing, did he get along with his classmates? Is he going to be in the Christmas concert, who is his grade 5 reading buddy?”

The “helicopter parent”( 2012), is a parent that must pay extremely close attention to everything their child does, especially when it comes to their school experience. This of course can be expanded into the “helicopter child”, but perhaps I’ll save that for another one article on child development. There’s nothing wrong with being an involved parent, and I am sure that we as parents have all been in this situation at some point. I myself am a big offender, being a teacher, I sometimes can be a turbo “helicopter” parent as I have an inside perspective, which makes me extremely bias and critical. As parents, however, in these situations it’s really important to be mindful of the degree to which you are involved. Below I’ve included a short survey (see Helicopter Parent Survey) to give you an idea whether or not you are bordering on excessive hovering.

Helicopter Survey

If you answer yes to 4 or more, you may have “helicopter” tendencies: (Courtesy of

  1.  Do you worry about your kids constantly?
  2.  Do you read more parenting manuals than other books?
  3. Are your kids your main or only topic of conversation?
  4. Are you constantly e-mailing your child’s teacher(s)?
  5. When your child gets an “A” on a project, does your spouse tell you, “Good job, honey” with a wry smile?
  6. Do you correct your child’s homework?
  7. When something doesn’t work out for your child at school, do you call to complain?
  8. Do you shout yourself hoarse at sporting events?
  9. Instead of letting your child tidy up his/her own toys you spend 3 hours coordinating them into binds based on size and colour.
  10. Are you closely involved in your child’s social life (i.e./ read their text messages/follow them using GPS?

Disclaimer: This is by no means an official measuring of one’s parenting style. It is primarily a gauging tool for the reader to use while maintaining his or her own sense of judgment and perspective. In previous articles, I have mentioned the importance of independence in child development, specifically, learning HOW to think, instead of WHAT. After reading these articles and taking the above survey, you may feel the need to learn more about child development and parenting styles.

Mary Elizabeth Fam