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How can I know if I'm guilty of helicopter parenting?

Helicopter parenting is the term given to mothers and fathers who hover around their children and intervene in their lives at a level that is inappropriate to a child’s level of development. Knowing how much independence to allow is not always an easy task. Parents should gradually allow their children appropriate space to do things on their own, increasing the level of freedom when things go well.

"If you’ve been doing everything and then all of a sudden you give the child significant responsibilities, the child might not fully understand the ramifications," says Frederick Frankel, PhD, co-director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, an outpatient clinic of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Even for older teens, some level of supervision is both appropriate and desirable. "Allowing independence doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor your children," says Dr. Frankel. "Setting up rules for teens, such as making sure they tell you where they’re going to be and that they call you anytime their location changes, is appropriate."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.