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Project Appleseed

What Should Schools Do
When Helicopter Parents Are Circling?

Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe parents who are overly involved in their children's lives, often to the point of interfering with the child's ability to develop independence and problem-solving skills. This style of parenting can create challenges for schools, as helicopter parents may question or challenge the decisions of teachers and administrators. In some cases, they may even make unreasonable demands or become confrontational.

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.

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.

To address these issues, schools need to develop a clear and effective strategy for managing helicopter parents. Here are several steps that schools can take:

  1. Establish clear communication channels: Schools should ensure that they have clear and open communication channels in place, such as regular parent-teacher conferences, email, or phone call systems. This helps parents feel informed and involved in their child's education, while also providing a platform for addressing any concerns they may have.

  2. Foster a positive relationship: Schools can build a positive relationship with parents by showing appreciation for their involvement and valuing their perspectives. This can be done through regular communication, recognition of parents' contributions to the school community, and opportunities for parents to volunteer and get involved.

  3. Set boundaries: Schools should set clear boundaries with parents about what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. This can include outlining expectations for respectful communication, and the limitations of their involvement in decision-making processes.

  4. Encourage independence: Schools should encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and development. This includes promoting self-advocacy skills and encouraging students to communicate with teachers directly, rather than relying on their parents to do so.

  5. Seek outside support: Schools may also benefit from seeking outside support, such as counseling services, to help manage challenging parent-teacher relationships. This can help to resolve conflicts and improve communication between all parties involved.

Here are several resources for managing helicopter parenting in elementary, middle, and high schools:

  1. National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP): The NAESP offers resources for schools on a range of topics, including managing helicopter parenting. They provide information on creating effective parent-teacher communication, managing parent expectations, and promoting student independence. Visit their website at:

  2. National PTA: The National PTA provides resources for schools on how to manage parent-teacher relationships, including those with helicopter parents. They offer tips on effective communication strategies, conflict resolution, and creating parent involvement opportunities. Visit their website at:

  3. Edutopia: Edutopia is a website dedicated to promoting best practices in education. They offer a wealth of resources on managing helicopter parenting, including articles, videos, and infographics. Visit their website at:

  4. School Counseling Resource: This website provides resources and tips for school counselors on how to manage helicopter parenting. They offer information on building positive parent-teacher relationships, creating healthy boundaries, and promoting student independence. Visit their website at:

  5. American School Counselor Association (ASCA): The ASCA provides resources for school counselors on a range of topics, including managing helicopter parenting. They offer information on creating effective parent-teacher communication, promoting student independence, and providing counseling services to families. Visit their website at:

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