Are you a helicopter mom?


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Are you a helicopter mom?

All mothers want to give their children the best opportunities for learning and developing their overall persona.

But are you the kind of mom who, in her quest to prepare them to survive in this competitive world, pushes her kids to their limit? Have you enrolled your child in tuitions, karate, sports, dance and art classes, after they are done with school hours, and even during vacations? This is a sign that you're obsessed with your child's extra-curricular activities and you're literally breathing down their necks. There's a high chance you are a 'helicopter' mom.

The ugly repercussions

Clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany says that the term 'helicopter mom' is rightly coined because this a trend amongst many mothers today, who need to give their children some space. She says that, nowadays, children themselves their mothers to give them space. Children who are pressured by their helicopter moms tend to suffer from anxiety, anger, tantrums, defiance, etc. Also, they tend to suffer from psychosomatic problems like headaches, back aches and stomach aches.

Parents expect their children to participate in dancing, acting, painting and sports. They try to live their dreams through their children. For example, some parents wish to give their kids all that they didn't receive in their childhood. But many a time, they don't realize that their children do not have the aptitude for certain activities.

Maternal perspective

Mothers have their reasons for being so concerned about the overall development of their children. Sulekha Sharma (34), mother of a 10-year-old, takes her daughter swimming, and sends her for dance and piano lessons, twice a week. Sharma doesn't believe in making comparisons. So what is her reason for making her daughter indulge in multiple extra-curricular activities? She says, "Extra-curricular activities are the best substitutes for the computer and TV. Also, in today's world, competition is fierce. Learning to dance, sing, play a music instrument, etc is a confidence-booster for children and gives them an extra edge over other children who are not exposed to any extracurricular activities."

Being a helicopter mom has its shares of pros as well as cons, opines clinical psychologist, Dr Kanan Khatau Chikhal. "Mothers want their children to have a taste of everything. Which is why mothers encourage their children to go for karate, cricket, tennis, dance, etc. However, there is a thin line between being a vigilant mother and one who breathes down her child's neck," he says.

A word of advice

Mothers should learn to take a step back. Refrain from comparing your child with other children. There is no such thing as healthy comparison. Every child has his/her own mind map. If mothers themselves are facing self-esteem issues, they need to visit a counsellor and work on it. Not doing so, will result in the children suffering from self-esteem issues too, advises Dr Kanan.

Hingorrany suggests the following for helicopter moms:

- Remember, your children cannot always reflect your persona.
- Listen to your children. Ask them what would they like to learn, what activities they would like to participate in, etc.
- Check to see if your child has an aptitude for a particular extra-curricular activity. Always opt for a trial period.
- Do not hover over them constantly. Children need their space.
- Watch out for signs like crankiness, anger, defiance, etc. in your children. This might a sign that you're pressuring them too much.
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