Thursday, October 31, 2013

Helicopter Parenting: Individual and Institutional

Parenting (individually and institutionally) is hard, and it requires establishing guidelines and working from some kind of base paradigm. I see the helicopter version, fundamentally, as based upon a paradigm of fear -which, again, is not always a bad or inaccurate thing. It’s when any approach (helicoptering or hands-off) is taken to the extreme that the real issues arise. All other non-extreme approaches are combinations of the two opposite poles, and finding the non-extreme paradigm that works at the individual and organizational level is difficult, especially when members of the group don’t agree on what the proper balance is – and even more so when the group includes members who land everywhere on the spectrum from one extreme to the other.
I have a hard enough time figuring out a good balance for myself, much less for my children – and much, much less as the organizational numbers grow.

The LDS Church certainly has elements of helicoptering in it – and some of them are closer to the extreme than to the dead center. I would love to see those things moderated toward the center, but that reflects my paradigm and not necessarily those of other members. There are other areas where I love the freedom I have in the Church, even when those areas drive some members nuts who want more security and peace of mind.

As a good friend said once about charges of cult-like behavior, I try to recognize institutional examples of unhealthy helicoptering and ask:

“Lord, is it I?”

All too often, it is.


Matt W. said...

Is there actually any evidence that helicopter parenting is unhealthy?

Papa D said...

Not in moderation, Matt - and I tried to address that in the post, but it could have been more explicit. It's when it moves toward the extreme that the serious issues begin to arise.

Anonymous said...

For me the issue with helicopter parenting is that of free agency-whilst I intend to offer my children every opportunity to choose that which I feel is right, it is essential to allow them to make the choice. Reality is that I'm not always going to be there.
I'm also not arrogant enough to believe that I'm right about everything-it's been a great lesson to me to realise that God will do his own work with my children. I endeavour to teach my children correct principles, and encourage them to govern them selves.