Helicopter Parents: How Controlling Parents Affect Mental Health


Parenting is one thing that adults all around the world have in common. Not only is every person in the world different, but every parent is also different and has their own ways of raising their children.

According to WebMD, there are three overall categories of parenting styles. The first being authoritarian which is, “a parents-know-best approach that emphasizes obedience”.

The second is permissive parenting, “which provides few behavioral guidelines because parents don’t want to upset their children”. And last being authoritative, “which blends a caring tone with structure and consistent limit-setting”.

Each type has many subcategories that are unique to a specific parent. Some of which being bad and others being good. However, there is one that is especially toxic and leads to unhealthy parent-child relationships.

A helicopter parent is basically a parent who is overly focused on their child. The attention they give their child is so close that it makes the child feel suffocated because their experiences, problems, friends and hobbies are constantly being watched.

Why is it so bad to pay that close attention to a child?

When somebody is repeatedly looking over your shoulder, common thoughts you get are; “What am I doing wrong?”, “Should I be doing this differently?”, “Does this person not trust me enough to let me do my own thing?”

Having those thoughts can lead to serious trust issues and self-doubt. There is also evidence that it can cause a child to develop low self-confidence or low self-esteem especially when they become older and start to doubt their own abilities.

Parents need to remember that part of their job is to prepare them for their life ahead and to do this requires a bit of independence.