Recent studies, like one that recently appeared in Psychology Today, have stern words and bad news for helicopter parents: their children, whom they are trying to hard to protect and nurture, often suffer from underdeveloped coping skills, a lack of independence, and anxiety. On top of those issues, helicopter parents can drain the energy of even the most attentive and thoughtful teachers, making it difficult for them to do their jobs without constant worry and interruption.
What should you do when the helicopter parents try to land their choppers in your classroom?
Turn their vague worries into positive involvement. Helicopter parents may make endless calls and send endless emails to you regarding non-essential issues about their child. You can redirect this energy by suggesting that they participate in other areas of the school community that actually need more attention and support. While a helicopter parent may be a bother in the classroom, they could be an enormous help when it comes to parent groups fundraisers, or school-wide initiatives.
Go directly to the student wit issues. The children of helicopter parents can suffer from depression, anxiety and indecision. If the in questions child is having an issue at school, give him a chance to confront the problem without the help of his parents. Not only does this keep the helicopter parent from overreacting to a small issue, it also gives the child an opportunity to learn decision-making, planning and problem solving of his own.
Listen to their concerns. At the parent/teacher conference or another meeting, simply listen to what the parent or parents have to say. Understand that they care about their child and that there may be an underlying reason for their overprotective tendencies. After you have listened, try to reassure them that their child is in good hands.
Focus on one issue. One problem with helicopter parents is that they are often concerned about multiple issues in the classroom – and they may be significantly more concerned about the problems than about the solutions. Help focus their concern by asking them to partner with you to solve one of the parent’s concerns.
Don’t let it get to you. Helicopter parents can sometimes be very critical, suspicious and demanding. Perhaps the best thing you can do, both for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your students, is to try and ignore the chopper noise and concentrate on being the best instructor you can to your pupils.
What Should Schools Do
When Helicopter Parents Are Circling?
Helicopter parents – parents who ‘hover’ over their children – have good intentions but can ultimately harm their children’s healthy development and disrupt the schools they attend. While teachers, principals, and school administrators often wish that parents were more involved in the school community, a minority of over-supportive and sometimes overbearing parents can actually get in the way of student progress.