What is a Helicopter Child and How to Not Be One

The term helicopter parent is well known. However, children can become helicopters too, particularly adult children taking care of elderly parents. Helicopter children hover too closely and tend to become overly controlling. There is a fine line between needed intervention and needless micromanaging.
Here are tips for managing that fine line:

  • Pick your battles: Some issues cannot be ignored. However, some battles are not worth fighting. Focus on making sure the most important issues get tackled.
  • Have discussions about care early: Talking about a parent or loved one’s aging-related issues is uncomfortable, but it must be done. Talking about it early can help the loved one get used to the idea of receiving care. It also allows both parties to outline what is acceptable.
  • Let the loved one do what he or she can: Letting the loved one do what he or she is still capable of doing goes a long way toward satisfying his or her need for independence.
  • Seek support: There are support groups and professional caregivers who would be happy to lend a hand or provide comfort. Adding in a third party can sometimes make things easier on the caregiver and loved one as the third party can alleviate some of the tensions that can arise from caregiving.

Being involved with a loved one’s care is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s often necessary, but, in most situations, there are ways to go about it that don’t overstep bounds with the loved one. There are times where that forcefulness is needed. It’s a matter of knowing which times are the most important.

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