General Question

shared3's avatar

Opposite term for "Helicopter parents" or "Helicopter parenting"?

Asked by shared3 (921points) October 12th, 2008

I’m writing an essay about helicopter parenting and am looking for a title that is the opposite of the term. I can’t think of anything, so can any creative types help me out?

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31 Answers

fireside's avatar

Long Leash?
Tough Love?

laureth's avatar

Back in my day, it would have been “latch-key kid.”

Of course, I just called her “mom.”

nocountry2's avatar


KatawaGrey's avatar

I call them “roommate parents” because they don’t really take care of their kids, they just live with them and thus are more like roommates than parents.

autumn43's avatar

Negligent? (JK)(sort of)


PWR – Parents without rules

sndfreQ's avatar

Club moms…

I think Chris Rock had a stand-up joke that went something like:

“If a kid calls his grandma mama and his momma Pam, that kid’s goin’ to jail!”

shared3's avatar

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions guys! Please keep them coming! Also, if at all possible, come up with both a positive and a negative term. For example, in one situation, the parents could be just immensely irresponsible, but in another case, the parents could just be fostering independence in their children.

fireside's avatar

Hands off?

gimmedat's avatar

Authoritarian parenting is where the parent(s) have total intolerance for any kind of behavior that goes against their ideas/expectations (kind of like helicopter parenting. The opposite of authoritarian parenting is laissez fairs parenting where the parent(s) leave the children to their own devices.

gimmedat's avatar

* laissez faire

jvgr's avatar

Helicopter Parents: Parents who hover over their children’s lives, ensuring that nothing happens to the child of which they do not approve. (Can’t have them tainted by the riff-raff that surround them.

Opposite term would be Normal Parents: Parents who pretty much let their children interact in the world they are in and only intervene when they sense things are going awry.

Your best interview sources would be elementary public school teachers.

wundayatta's avatar

Watching from the right distance.

Supporting independence

Prepared kids

In our children we trust

At a comfortable distance

Safety net parents

There when you need them, not before.

cyndyh's avatar

I think of normal parents as the ones who have free range kids who become well-adjusted adults. Helicopter parents raise nervous, sometimes paranoid, rebellious stunted kids.

gailcalled's avatar

This is a new expression for me. Is it synonymous with micromanaging, over-pressuring?

gimmedat's avatar

Amen cyndyh! I couldn’t agree with you more! I know a number if nervous parents who are raising nervous kids! It’s really unfortunate to see students getting ready to enter high school who are unable to think for themselves and who still don’t like leaving their parents’ home to hang with friends. Those kids are out there.

wundayatta's avatar

@gailcalled: it’s about parents of college-age kids. They send the kids to college, but then they are hoovering every second, calling, finding out if they went to class, had a good breakfast, or are having roommate problems. If their kids are having roommate problems, they don’t let the kid deal with it, but they are on the phone with the college president to get action instantly. Their little babies are too precious to be allowed to have any say in their own lives.

And that’s why the kids are so anxious, nervous, and unprepared to deal with the world. They’ve never been allowed to do anything on their own.

augustlan's avatar

@Daloon: Helicopter Parents, they’re not just for college anymore! Getting into the “right” school, over-scheduling, dressing your child impreccably instead of letting them choose their own clothes (within reason),etc. starts in pre-school! Parents calling summer camps to make sure their kids aren’t homesick! The list goes on, and on!

wundayatta's avatar

@augustlan: too bad there isn’t a Nanny 911 for parents!

Well, there is, but, you know what I mean

St.George's avatar

Wow. I thought helicopter parents were ones that had a total hands-off relationship with their kids, paying them no attention except when something goes wrong. Then they swoop in and fix the situation, with money or threats or something else. That was my understanding of it. So the opposite would be hovering parents or smothering parents.


augustlan's avatar

@Megan: Nope…they are called helicopters because they are always “hovering”!

jvgr's avatar

gailcalled: “This is a new expression for me. Is it synonymous with micromanaging, over-pressuring?”

More like micromanaging so that the child is protected from all interactions that don’t fall in line with the parent’s expectations. Where it seems to lead is that the child becomes more depoendant on the parent to intervene in things they don’t like (though not necessarily bad). Any over pressuring is on anybody but the child.

Allie's avatar

UC Davis refers to this type of parent as “Black Hawk Mom/Dad.”

cyndyh's avatar

I was having this discussion, not too long ago, about how much this has changed recently. When I was a kid, say around 10–12 years old, a typical summer day meant: have breakfast, head out on my bike, come home for lunch or eat at a friend’s house, head out again, home by dark or call mom to say where I am.

When my kids were that age suddenly so many parents had to know where their kid was every minute and often had 100% of the kid’s day scheduled for them. They knew kids who weren’t allowed to be home alone for an hour at the age of 12 while their parents shopped. This is just stunning to me.

cyndyh's avatar

@gimmedat: I think one result of helicopter parenting is nervousness, yes. But I think another result we see is kids who binge drink dangerously when they first leave home. And I think it’s part of the reason for there being more kids who are fatter earlier in their lives.

shared3's avatar

An interesting article I read talked about how the rise of cell phones has contributed to helicopter parenting. Anyway, thanks for all the suggestions, guys! If anyone else has any more, then please don’t hesitate to add it! There have been some excellent ones though.

Kerigrace's avatar

1. Progressive parents
2. Place holder parents (just there until you go to college or get married)
3. I call my mother in law: The Oracle – she knows everything but doesn’t want to get her hands dirty getting involved

checkitout's avatar

Adding to the problem are parents who find it necessary to call or text their children during school. I actually had a mother get mad at me when I made her child hang up the phone!

KH's avatar

The opposite in a positive way is “Platform” parenting where you set your kids up for success and then sit back and let them thrive.

The opposite in a negative way is “Neglect”.

naturelover's avatar

Single Working Mother

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