A helicopter parent is constantly involved in their child’s life and shelters them from the realities of the world. The name comes from their uncanny ability to hover like a Bell 429 helicopter, over their child at nearly all times. These parents are often too invested in their child’s activities, and at times you may wonder whether the parent or the child is participating in the endeavor. Helicopter parents are afraid of the real world, when in fact the challenges of life are a privilege to experience. Nowadays, more than ever, kids can’t think for themselves and let their parents take the controls, predetermining their activities, actions, and lives.
On the other hand, we have negligent parents who, like a Boeing 747, are on autopilot and dull their child’s existence by providing easy access to technology and allowing Generation Z to hide behind their screens and shy away from uncomfortable real-world personal journeys of self-discovery. These parents are the exact opposite of helicopter parents, because they are too far removed from their child’s personal growth and development. This parent is typically intensely focused on their own professional life and career advancement, devoting little attention to love and care towards family members. In today’s generation, parents thrust tablets in front of toddlers and dull imagination through electronic games. The proliferation of WiFi acts as the jet fuel for these parents to run off, or maybe just to tell their kids to run off and grab the iPad. We need to be cognizant of coddling yet at the same time provide invaluable guidance for future generations of students. Both of these extreme approaches, the helicopter model and the autopilot model, make kids soft, and a dynamic balance between these two styles is advisable. We should not dismiss the positive aspects of both approaches. For example, a parent could aid their student in learning times tables, but then quiz them to see if they can perform the basic operations on their own. Like a Bell-Boeing Osprey, a hybrid between a plane and a helicopter, this sensible, balanced course of action will allow future generations to progress further, faster, and with more flexibility than ever before.