Sadly, Helicopter Parenting Is Still Very Much a Thing in New York
This is something that any new parent should be told - the way that you raise your child will most certainly have a lasting impact on them, even as adults. In other words, tread carefully.
We may joke around about how annoying helicopter parents are but in reality, this style of parenting can do some very serious damage. The American Psychological Association followed 400 kids for nearly a decade and learned that those who were raised by controlling parents "were more likely to have long-term issues with social skills and emotional problems."
How bad is the problem of helicopter parenting in New York? Consider this - Let Grow is a New York-based non-profit organization formed to help adult children of helicopter parents find their independence and to also educate the public on the importance of raising children who are able to think without their helicopter parents hovering over them.
"With a rapidly changing world ahead, young people need to be flexible, creative problem-solvers. They can’t solve many problems if there’s always an adult right there, solving them first." The fact that parents are so suffocating and an organization was formed to combat the issue is alarming.
A thread of Reddit users raised by helicopter parents is heartbreaking. Grown adults wrote about how they were raised and how they feel as adults and it is absolutely gut-wrenching. One user wrote, “I moved out a few years ago, and there are still times I’m afraid of my parents’ judgment.” Another user said, “I hate feeling like I’m being watched or observed while going about any sort of task or even just daily life.”
If you're a parent of a child in their 20s or 30s who still lives at home but is fully capable of living on their own, you are not doing them any favors. We're not talking about parents who are helping their adult children who have run into unfortunate situations due to illness or job loss or anything related. We're talking about parents who are literally hoovering over their adult children ready to push them out of the way and take things over because nobody does it the way mama does it and mama's way is the right way.
If you want your child to succeed in life, the greatest thing you can do is to raise them to be an adult. As parents we owe it to our children to raise them to be confident in making decisions on their own, to be independent, and to know basic life skills.
There is a massive difference between helping your adult children and coddling them. If you have adult children who are mentally and physically capable and you're washing their laundry, cooking their meals, telling them which bank to use or which insurance company to go with, you are not helping. You are damaging them.
So many grown adults have become incapable of living everyday life because their parents have forever hovered over them making decisions for them and doing everything for them rather than teaching them. The greatest way to learn is to fall, stand up, dust off and move on. But so many parents are right there with a pillow to cushion the fall of their kids and that stifles learning.
When you're constantly in the middle of your adult child's business, it hinders their ability to make difficult decisions on their own and they second guess everything. It also makes them feel that if you don't believe in their ability to make their own decisions they are a failure in your eyes.
You might think taking charge and handling everything for your adult children is helping but it isn't. If you don't cheer on and encourage your adult child to be independent and make their own decisions while you're alive, what in the world will they do when you're dead and not there to do their laundry and make their meals?
When a parent constantly injects their opinions on their adult child, they're not helping them develop skills to handle conflicts, disappointment, or failure. If they don't know how to handle those things, their self-esteem suffers, and so does their ability to have not only a fulfilling career but a solid relationship. They will be flooded with anxiety when it comes time to sit down with their spouse to discuss big decisions, often letting the spouse make all the decisions because they're too scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.
And consider this, once your adult child works up the courage to break free of your suffocating home, if you're constantly superimposing yourself on them in their own home, they will silently start to hate you.
Often times children of helicopter parents pull back instead of speaking up because helicopter parents have a way of steamrolling right over their adult children, so focused on interjecting their own opinion that they don't genuinely listen to what their adult child has to say and that in turn makes the adult child feel like a lesser person.
Do you see what a mess helicopter parenting causes? Gently guiding and making suggestions out of love is one thing. Downplaying your adult child's abilities, dreams, and decisions because they don't match your own is another thing. Refusing to give up control of your child's life when they're full-grown adults isn't just sad, it's toxic.
Helicopter parenting has become such a big issue that educational outlets are going so far as to publish pieces encouraging parents to back off. The College Advisor of New York, a college admissions consultant for students in the state of New York, shared an article in which they explain how helicopter parents can be most helpful to the student by not getting involved in everything. Sad, really.