Pros and Cons of Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting, while based on good intentions, can have both positive and negative impacts on children's development. Understanding the pros and cons can help parents navigate this parenting style more effectively.

This article will discuss helicopter parenting, its positive and negative effects, and ways to avoid it. At Transcend Recovery Community, we offer support and guidance to parents, emphasizing healthy boundaries and fostering their children’s independence to improve their recovery. Visit our site to find out how our adolescent mentoring services can benefit your child.

What is Helicopter Parenting?

Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parenting where parents are highly involved in their child’s life. The term is taken from the idea of a helicopter that is constantly hovering overhead, ready to swoop in at any moment.

Helicopter parents are just exactly that. They are always present and always vigilant in their children’s lives.

However, their intense focus can negatively impact a child’s mental health, self-image, coping skills, and more. These parents often take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences, successes, or failures. Despite their intentions, their actions have negative consequences on the child's ability to navigate life's struggles.

Signs of a Helicopter Parent

a mom scolding her daughter as she keeps on monitoring everything that her child do

Signs of helicopter parenting include constantly monitoring a child's activities, making decisions for them, and not allowing them to experience failure or disappointment. These parents may also struggle to set boundaries and have difficulty letting go as their children grows older.

Recognizing helicopter parenting involves spotting certain behaviors, such as:


A helicopter mom would feel the urge to constantly shadow her child, fearing that something terrible might happen to them. As a result, she does not allow her child to be on their own.  

Elementary School

Many helicopter parents become over-involved in their children’s academic life and social environment. These parents would often select which teacher their child should have at school, which friends they should play with, or activities to join.

Teen Years and Beyond

A helicopter parent tends to get over-involved in everything that concerns their children's decisions and academic life. These parents also shield their children from failure or disappointment.

Pros and Cons of Helicopter Parenting

Many helicopter parents think they are good parents because getting over-involved in their child’s life also offers some benefits—which is correct to a certain extent. However, their over-parenting approach can have negative consequences that may persist as their children grow into adults.

Here are some of the pros and cons of helicopter parenting: 


  • Increased safety and protection for children
  • Strong emotional support and guidance.
  • Greater involvement in the child's education and activities.
  • Close parent-child relationship.
  • Potential for academic success due to parental involvement.
  • Increased guidance on appropriate behavior both online and offline.


  • Lack of independence and self-reliance in the child.
  • Heightened stress and anxiety for both parent and child due to the constant monitoring.
  • Difficulty in developing problem-solving skills.
  • Strained parent-child relationship in the long term.
  • Potential for the child to struggle with decision-making and coping with failure.
  • Children may develop a sense of entitlement.
  • Children are unable to interact with their peers.
  • Children may feel academic stress due to over-parenting.

Effects of Helicopter Parenting on Adult Children

A helicopter parent may negatively impact a child’s life by turning them into adult children. Adult children refer to individuals who have reached adulthood but still have a deep relationship or dependence on their parents.

Here are some of the negative repercussions of over-parenting on children growing up:


Adult children of a cosseting parent may develop self-image problems due to the constant criticism, high expectations, and lack of autonomy they experienced growing up. As a result, they may struggle with low self-esteem and confidence when they become adults.


As adults, they may experience independence issues because they have not been allowed to develop essential life skills. Among the important life skills that they may be lacking include decision-making and problem-solving skills, among others.

Limited Peer Interaction

They may also have limited peer interaction even as adults because their parents have been overly involved in their social lives. This can lead to a lack of social skills and confidence in social situations.

Recreational Drug Use

As adult children may feel pressured to meet parental expectations and avoid disappointment, they often feel stressed and anxious. This compels some of them to turn to illicit substance abuse as a coping mechanism and a means of relieving emotional strain.

What do Child and Family Studies Say?

Several peer-reviewed studies have highlighted the impact of helicopter parenting on various aspects of children’s lives and how they are linked to substance abuse. Some of these studies include:

  • A 2018 study highlighted how helicopter parenting contributes to anxiety and depression in college students. The lack of preparedness due to overprotection leads to these mental health issues.
  • Several studies have demonstrated associations between helicopter parenting and substance use. Over-parenting has also been linked to increased internalizing problems and decreased relationship competence.
  • Moreover, studies discovered a disparity in the effects of helicopter parenting on family income. Low-income students are deterred from drinking alcohol, while students from high-income families are more inclined to alcohol abuse.

How to Avoid Helicopter Parenting

Avoiding helicopter parenting involves striking a balance between support and independence. Here are some tips:

Promote Independence

  • Encourage your child to take on age-appropriate tasks independently.
  • Allow them to make decisions and learn from their experiences.

Set Boundaries

  • Define clear boundaries for your involvement.
  • Resist the urge to micromanage every aspect of your child's life.

Teach Problem-Solving Skills

  • Instead of solving their problems, guide them through the process.
  • Help them develop critical thinking and decision-making abilities.

Foster Resilience

  • Allow your child to face challenges and setbacks.
  • Resilience grows when they learn to overcome obstacles.

Encourage Open Communication

  • Listen actively and empathetically.
  • Create a safe space for them to express their feelings and concerns.

Model Healthy Behavior

  • Demonstrate self-reliance and coping strategies.
  • Be a positive role model for handling stress and adversity.

How Can Transcend Recovery Community Help?

Transcend Recovery Community offers support and guidance for parents seeking a balance between care and independence. Our experienced staff provides evidence-based advice, emphasizing healthy boundaries and fostering children’s growth.  

If you’re interested in receiving help, contact us to find out how our sober living and outpatient programs can benefit you. You may also check out our Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about how we conduct some of our operations.

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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