Helicopter Parents: Take Flight

Helicopter Parents: Take Flight

We have all heard of them. Most of us have experienced them. Some of you might even be one. These are the parents who are hyper involved in their child’s life. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that there are different types of helicopter parents. I have identified three major types and they are not all bad. However, I am sure there are plenty more types out there waiting to be discovered by intrepid coaches and teachers.

1. The Hovering Helicopter

This is the most common type of helicopter parent. These parents are just constantly fluttering around their child. Carrying the kids’ equipment. Forcing water and Gatorade down their kids’ throats. Keeping bizarrely detailed and obscure game stats. Sitting through entire practices without opening the book/newspaper/work they brought with them. Interrogating their child with the skill and thoroughness of a seasoned intelligence officer. They mean well but are too worried about making a mistake and ruining their child’s life.

2. The Attack Helicopter

This is the really scary type. These folks are in your face or anyone else’s, over the slightest perceived affront to their kid/them. The attack type is probably a little paranoid, but are you really paranoid if everyone is out to get you? The attack type will sometimes even go after their own if they have exhausted all the other excuses for failure. Those scapegoats usually include: coaches, officials, teammates, opponents, field conditions, equipment, their spouse, their in-laws’ DNA, or anything else they can come up with. Do your best to avoid this type.

3. The Air Lift Helicopter

I really like this kind. The Air Lift Helicopter Parent is a huge positive influence. They lift everyone up with their energy and enthusiasm. They cheer for everyone. They applaud good play by either team. They are supportive of the whole team and gracious to officials. They understand that people make mistakes. They keep things in perspective. Their lift capacity is limitless.

These helicopter parents are mostly benign. They love their kids and want what they think is best for them. Unfortunately, these folks do not understand that the insulation they are wrapping around their child is not protecting the kid, it is smothering the kid and slowing their child’s development.

Kids need to make mistakes. It is how they learn. They need to be given the space to try things without the security blanket of knowing mommy or daddy will make everything ok no matter what. Learning that there are consequences to your actions and inactions is the greatest gift you can give a child. They need to know that it is not the end of the world to try hard and fail.

Helicopter Parents always remind me of the old coaches’ joke:

Where are the best coaching jobs?
At the orphanage.