My daughter recently referred to me as a “helicopter parent” as I was becoming overly enmeshed in her search to secure graduate school admissions for this year. This description of me was well-deserved as I was trying to guide the process for her.
The term “helicopter parents” often refers to those parents who have the best intentions in mind for their children but can offer unsolicited advice which can have a negative impact on their future autonomy. Worries about the economy, the job market, and the world in general can push parents toward taking more control over their adult child’s life in an attempt to protect them — but this is not always helpful or healthy for their child.
• Allow your adult children to learn through their mistakes. Trial and error helps them hone their problem-solving skills and develop the confidence to overcome even the most insurmountable challenges.
• Try not to continue to rescue them from stressful situations. Although they might stumble at first, through perseverance they’ll discover they’re able to overcome most obstacles.
• Show that you have faith in their ability to succeed without your help. “Helicopter parents” can contribute to diminishing their adult child’s ability to understand how to navigate the world by trying to do it for them.
• Talk with your son or daughter about the challenges you face related to your own adjustment of “letting go” regarding the level of involvement and control you should and should not have as they grow older.