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Do Over-Protective, Helicopter, Parents Have Some Void In Their Life?

Updated on March 14, 2016

Author's Note: The following thoughts on the subject of overprotective "helicopter" parents were written in reply the following question (paraphrased):

"Do you believe that overprotective/helicopter/over-involved, parents have a dysfunction, emotional or psychological void in their lives which they're trying to fill with their approach to parenting?" A part-two of the question asked for opinions about whether the problem is that the parents have 'no life' (no activities or interests other than their children).

Below are my thoughts on the "void" part of the question. Although I think I'd like to address the "no-life" part of the question in a separate Hub; with regard to that part (the second part) of the question asked, the only thing I'll point out here is that parents with "no life" after often parents with very, very, young children who, in fact, require close supervision; but also that parents who may be seen to have few activities or interests other than their kids (older ones) may, as often as not, be the first to hurry children into being "all grown up early and out of the house at eighteen" (so that the parents can either resume, or get, a non-kids-focused life),

In other words, my reply to the second part of the two-part question is, "Maybe in some cases of overprotective "helicopter" parents but probably not necessarily in most."

An Opinion That Both Answers And Doesn't Answer A Question About Overprotective Helicopter Parents

Assuming the parent actually does cross that line between "just seeming too over-protective" (to SOME observers) and actually being "too much" (to the point where qualified mental-health experts solidly familiar with the background of the people involved)....

Yes AND No.

I believe the parent who is genuinely "too much" has/is a problem, or at least some flaw. I just wrote a Hub related to the subject of parents who are, or seem to some people, "too much". In fairness to any number of parents in recent times, it's a world in which the problems and worries with kids are such that the best parents/people in the world can't possibly know exactly what they should be doing when faced with some worries/problems.

Being A Parent Isn't A Job - It's A Relationship (And One That Is Complex Enough To Be Both Simple And Complex)

Being a parent isn't a job. It's a relationship. People who aren't great at knowing what makes a good relationship, or people who are oblivious to the idea that "making a good relationship" is even something we have to think about, may simply also be people who aren't all that tuned to child-/human- development and therefore not know when to back off, how much, and/or under what circumstances. (Again, even with the best of relationships and/or circumstances, it's not always easy to know.) There's a point, though, where you just can't suffocate people (no matter how young they are).

Simple And Complex Relationship Plus Knowing The Role/Responsibilities Of Being A Part Plus Individual Differences In Children Plus, Minus And/Or Multiplied And/Or Divided By Any Number Of Other Things Is Not A Very Simple Equation

People don't always have a good reading on what, exactly, the role of a parent is (or should be), and that can vary from culture to culture (so I'm only talking about American culture here). If they use their own parent(s) as their model, without dissecting different things about their parents; or else blindly and automatically decide they'll do nothing like their parents did because they don't think their parents "knew anything"; both amount to the person's not educating himself about relationships and/or child-/human- development. In most instances,

I'd guess the real "void" existed years ago when people didn't learn enough about relationships, respect, and not-suffocating people (even little and/or young ones) - because most parents really do try to do the right thing. A guide/starting point can be to ask the child all along the way. As a mother, I found that respect for each of those little individuals came naturally. What also came naturally was being able to step away from myself and always know that what I wanted for them was the same thing they'd ultimately want for themselves (autonomy, respect and not having someone "on their back" "all the time").

Fact - Not Just Opinion

For the last few decades (at least) there have been far too many (and maybe more and more) people who imagine themselves to be capable of, and qualified for, having an opinion about making a diagnosis about which parents have which "dysfunction" or "psychological void" or "emotional problem". Sometimes with almost no reading/studying, but sometimes with only reading a few "over-the-counter", popular, books and/or with watching a handful of ten-minute segments on television; far too many people feel free to have (and worse, offer) an opinion that even a qualified professional could not give without knowing the people involved.

The can be mind boggling, but even more mind boggling than that can be people who believe that having reached adulthood and/or having become a parent just kind of magically confers a degree of knowledge/wisdom that it plain, old, does not. Some, of course, don't believe there any magic to it. They just automatically believe that whatever their own parents have told them is wise enough to listen. Again, that plain, old, is not always the case in some instances and/or for some people.

People are free to have their own ideas about being a parent, but - really - unless someone is a professional who is working with the parents/child(ren) in question (in which case any diagnosis of "dysfunctional" would be confidential) people should (as they say) button their lip about which parents have emotional/psychological problems and which don't. We have enough "bad-information poison" floating around in the air these days that we don't need yet more.


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