Some parents are too involved in every aspect of their child’s life, sitting around, making decisions and basically not letting them breathe.
Although they only want to be protective, they sometimes cause more harm than good, affecting their child’s independence and decision-making skills.
That’s why, unfortunately, people who grew up with helicopter parents often exhibit the following subtle behaviors:
1) Low self-esteem
Constantly floating can make a person doubt themselves. They always wonder if they’re good enough because there was always someone saying, “Are you sure?”
Their parents were always there, ready to give their opinion or intervene.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to trust your own judgment or make decisions on your own, self-doubt becomes a constant companion.
You start to question your abilities because someone else has spent the longest time judging what is right or wrong.
And that’s completely understandable, right?
Imagine growing up with someone who is always there to catch you when you fall, solve every problem and make decisions for you.
You always had a safety net underneath you. That may sound comforting at first, but it sets the stage for something not so great: dependency.
If everything has been arranged for you, it can be quite a challenge to break away from that and stand on your own two feet.
Learning to do things alone is like learning a new language for you because you are so used to having someone in the background all the time.
That is why, if left unchecked, dependency extends to relationships. When someone is used to everything being taken care of, trusting others becomes second nature.
And now a person, instead of his parents, begins to rely on his partner for all his needs.
Oh well, I know someone whose wife had to cut the meat on his plate because he was so dependent.
Needless to say, the marriage didn’t last too long.
3) Over-reliance on validation
Growing up with helicopter parents means… all your movements are monitoredassessed and often supervised.
Whether it’s the way you approach school assignments, choose your friends, or choose a career path, there is someone constantly evaluating your choices.
And what happens when every decision is met with approval or disapproval? Well, seeking validation becomes a way of life.
Instead of trusting your own instincts, you tend to look around until someone else says, “Good job.”
4) Social awkwardness
Helicopter parenting can also unintentionally hinder the natural development of social skills. What is the result? Social awkwardness.
If you’re used to someone else managing your social interactions, entering a room full of people or having casual conversations can feel like you’re stepping into a minefield.
It’s not that you don’t have the skills, but you haven’t had the opportunity to hone those skills on your own.
Social skills are like a muscle; they need regular exercise to stay sharp. Helicopter parenting inadvertently puts those social muscles in bubble wrap.
5) Fear of failure
Failure is part of the curriculum of life, right? It’s how we learn and grow. But for someone who is used to having a safety net, the mother’s thought of making a mistake can trigger intense anxiety.
It’s not just about the fear of falling short; it’s about the fear of disappointment, not only about themselves, but also about those who have always been there to prevent failure – their parents.
Yes, even if you no longer live with them, there is always that lingering thought of what they will think of this and of you.
This fear of failure extends to different parts of life: academic, professional and personal.
The pressure to continually succeed, coupled with the fear of not meeting expectations, creates a mental battleground where the stakes feel unnaturally high.
And that’s where the following comes into play:
6) Decision paralysis
So you grew up with someone who is always there, ready to analyze and guide every decision you make.
Now let’s fast forward to when you’re on your own and faced with a decision without that trusted guidance. That’s where decision paralysis can set in.
The irony here is that sometimes the fear of making the wrong decision can lead to not making a decision at all.
You’re trapped in a cycle of overthinking, analyzing all possible outcomes and ultimately staying stuck in the same place.
Overcoming decision paralysis means you need to build trust and work on your ability to make decisions.
7) Difficulty dealing with criticism
Your parents, with the best of intentions, strived to protect you from harm, disappointment, or failure.
However, the unintended consequence of this well-intentioned protection is a vulnerability when it comes to dealing with criticism.
When a boss, friend, or co-worker tells you that you’ve done something wrong, you fall apart and think they’re targeting you with bad intentions.
You don’t understand that constructive criticism is there to learn something from it and improve next time.
I’ve worked with too many colleagues who pulled the bully card on their co-workers or supervisors when someone criticized them.
That’s not how you improve and move forward.
8) Not dealing with stress well
When I think about my childhood, I see caring but busy parents who, when not at work, constantly spent time in the garden tending vegetables and making sure we had fresh food to eat.
Of course I wanted them to spend more time with me, but that wasn’t always possible.
Still, I had a great childhood because I spent so much time outside unsupervised. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty years, you may not be aware of this These times are over for most children.
These days I see kids less and less on playgrounds, soccer fields, and basketball courts, and more at home playing video games and spending time on social media.
They no longer have contact with other children in real life outside of school, and that worries me as a parent about how they will handle stress when they grow up.
But also that they won’t take as many risks as we do.
9) They avoid taking risks
Taking risks? No, not for them. Helicopter parenting often leads to a cautious view of their children’s lives.
They’re not exactly thrill seekers. They like to play it safe permanently.
When decisions for a significant part of your life have been made for you or guided by someone else, developing a sense of independence and the confidence to take risks just isn’t there.
Taking risks inherently involves stepping into the unknown and stepping out of your comfort zone.
That’s why people raised by helicopter parents are more likely to avoid situations where outcomes are uncertain and murky.
10) They don’t set boundaries
Limits? What are those? Helicopter parenting often results in: blurred line between personal space and invasionso setting clear boundaries is a foreign concept to their children well into adulthood.
Defining your own personal needs is therefore a bit ambiguous. As you may know, setting boundaries means understanding and communicating what you need, and this is a skill that needs development or is completely lacking in people who grew up with helicopter parents.
Many also fear disapproval, which makes setting boundaries challenging because they still view this act as a form of rebellion or a deviation from their parents’ expectations.
11) Pleasing people
Growing up with helicopter parents often brings with it a constant desire for approval and avoiding conflict at all costs.
This results in an unhealthy tendency to prioritize making everyone else happy, often at the expense of your own needs and desires.
You’re simply programmed to avoid conflict or disappointment because that’s the familiar territory that comes with helicopter parenting.
As we know, people pleasers often say yes to every request, taking on more than they can handle while neglecting their own well-being.
12) Too critical of others
Finally, those raised in a helicopter parenting environment can be quite critical of others.
When you grow up with constant scrutiny, it’s easy to project that onto the people around you.
And while my parents were never helicopter parents, they were (too) critical of me, and guess what, I’m now too critical of others, especially those who should have more leeway and not less: my family.
I like to end all my articles with a little practical advice. Breaking away from the influence of helicopter parenting as an adult can be a transformative journey.
Take time to reflect on your parenting and recognize the patterns set by helicopter parenting.
Understand how these patterns influence your thoughts, behavior, and decision-making as an adult.
Clearly define your own values, goals and ambitions, and set clear and healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life.
And most importantly, gradually build your independence by making your own decisions and working on building your self-confidence.
Share this content: