Helicopter parenting: Exploring the motivations and defining behaviors of parents who hover



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Helicopter parenting is defined by popular culture as a set of parenting practices characterized by overinvolvement which reduce child autonomy and are potentially associated with a host of negative child outcomes. However, empirical research has not adequately defined the construct, specifically with respect to linking motivations of these parents to specific parenting behaviors. The current study evaluates associations among parenting beliefs and behaviors of those higher in helicopter parenting. Participants included 325 caregivers from across the United States who completed a survey on their own parenting beliefs and behaviors. Hierarchical linear regression was used to examine associations between helicopter parenting beliefs and combinations of parenting behaviors (i.e., parental monitoring, parental involvement, the use of inconsistent discipline, and positive parenting practices). Three-way interactions suggested unique combinations of parental involvement, positive parenting, and inconsistent discipline were associated with helicopter parenting beliefs (i.e., ensuring constant happiness, befriending, total score). Results hold promise for refining theoretical descriptions of helicopter parenting, as well as addressing specific parenting behaviors in parenting interventions.



Helicopter Parent, Overparenting, Hyperparenting, Monitoring, Inconsistent Discipline, Positive Parenting, Parental Involvement