There’s a fine line between loving parent and helicopter parent. Find out if you’re hovering too much (and what to do about it).
It seems like a notorious buzz word among families these days is “helicopter parent.” Still, parenting is no easy feat. We think it’s pretty safe to say, it is one of the absolute hardest, most deeply rewarding adventures. Starting from their very first breaths of life, children look to their parents to show them everything there is to know about the world.
Every skinned knee, sweet discovery (“Look, Mom, I can stand on my head!), grocery store meltdown, and cozy bedtime story is a responsibility parents take on from the start.
While one would hope it became easier as time went on, the thing with children is they grow up. Each stage of their lives offers new challenges and triumphs. There’s no map telling parents which way to steer on this bumpy road.
It’s no wonder some moms and dads start to show symptoms of “helicopter parent syndrome.” Just so we’re all on the same page here, this is a solid helicopter parent definition: a parent who is overly involved and/or overprotective in the life of his or her child.
Its roots come from a good place – a place of wanting the very best for your children. However, two of the most critical skills kids need to learn are independence and self-confidence.
8 Signs You’re Slipping into Helicopter Parent Territory
In a nutshell, there are 3 types of helicopter parents, each correlating with different stages in the child’s development: early childhood, pre-teens/teens, and college age.
Early Stages of Helicopter Parent Syndrome: Young Children
1) Making Decisions Solely on One’s Own Without Consulting the Child (100% of the time)
Yes, a parent’s wisdom and sound judgement are very valuable. That said, a child needs to develop his or her own critical thinking skills. If parents calls 100% of the shots on what to eat, wear, sports to play, etc., children may feel their opinions are not important.
How to Fix It: Let’s say your son or daughter develops a passion for acting and loses interest in those soccer lessons. Even if your visions of a future soccer star dissolve, you’ll be encouraging your child’s self-discovery. The same can be said for self-expression with clothing. Sure, you know your son is not quite pulling off those neon shorts, but he sure feels proud to be wearing them!
2) Regularly Contacting (via Email, Phone, and Drop-ins) Every Teacher for Inside Details
If your son’s teacher starts screening your calls, you may need to ease up on the check-ins! Being involved in the child’s academic progress is wonderful, but overdoing it can be intrusive.
How to Fix It: Consider (discreetly) observing your child’s study habits. By simply taking note of cues (how often she sits at her desk, is she aloof and careless, or stressed and distraught?) go a long way in helping you understand your child’s progress. Rather than checking in with the teacher, trying checking in with your child.
Tip: aim to create a comforting, open environment to show your child you genuinely want to help.
3) Spraying on Hand Sanitizer at the Touch of Every Door Knob, Counter, or Toy
It’s true, children seem to bring home the colds and flus of their entire preschool class. While not so fun for the family, it is important that children build up strong immunities. Being exposed to different germs is part of a healthy development. When we shield children from every intruder, they begin relying on sanitizer (instead of their own bodies) for protection.
How to Fix It: Choose wisely when using hand sanitizers and disinfectants. If the threat is a bad one, then please do protect your child. The key is differentiating between what is very harmful from what is mild enough to let go. Simply implementing rules to wash your hands after the bathroom and before meals goes a long way.
The Overly Involved Helicopter Parent: Pre-Teens and Teens
4) Inspecting Every Homework Assignment, Editing, and Even Redoing Sections
How to Fix It: If your pre-teen or teen comes to you for advice, then it is a nice gesture to offer guidance. However, young adults need to develop their own voices. Learning also requires stumbling through their own mistakes. The effort is more important than the grade.
5) Selecting a List of Colleges as Early as 8th Grade (or Sooner)
How to Fix It: Planning for college is both exciting and exhausting. The application process is complicated, to say the least, so there’s no harm in offering your young adult structure and guidance. Still, to avoid helicopter parent status, just make sure you wait until he or she is ready to talk openly about it and be involved in the process.
While prepping ahead of time can help you get organized, your young adult may change dramatically over the course of his or her high school years. Try staying tuned to their changing interests, skills, hobbies, and talents. Each of these will ultimately affect the decision.
The Can’t- Let- Go Helicopter Parent: The College Years
6) Requiring Daily Calls on Academic Progress and Extracurriculars
How to Fix It: Saying goodbye when your son or daughter leaves for college can be very emotional and often quite scary. Unfortunately, we have to trust our children to make good choices. Even if they don’t, they are adult enough to learn that actions have consequences.
Tip: When you do chat on the phone to catch up, enjoy simply listening (instead of prying).
7) Texting the College-aged Adult to Wake Up for Class, Eat Healthily, and Shower Daily
How to Fix It: Allow your child the freedom to make independent choices. If they miss their classes from oversleeping, that is on them! College is their chance to learn self-discipline and control.
8) If the Student Lives Nearby, the Parent Cleans the Dorm Room and Does the Laundry
How to Fix It: Unless you want to be doing these chores for your children the rest of your life, it’s time to let go and teach them to take care of themselves!
Helicopter Parent or Not: All You Need Is Love
In the end, the #1 gift your children need is your unconditional love and support. Even if you are erring on the side of helicopter parent, it is because you care deeply (the secret is trusting your child to take the wisdom you’ve shared and carry it along the journey).
Let Dad know he’s one-of-a-kind with these 10 homemade Father’s Day gift ideas!
It is time to show Dad just how deeply you love him, and we have the perfect homemade Father’s Day gifts to help you do it.
Father’s Day always resurfaces those lovely memories of the magical moments when our dads stole our hearts. Maybe it was the time your dad was so overflowing with pride at your soccer goal that he literally fell down from all the jumping. Or, maybe it was the time he was equally proud when you sat on the sidelines the entire game, lifting you up in his arms and saying you’re still his little soccer star.
When we think of what dads mean to us, this wise proverb rings true:
“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.”
These 10 homemade Father’s Day gifts are both authentic and genuine. Each of them will show your dad just why he is a very special person.
Homemade Father’s Day Gift vs Buying One
Choosing do-it-yourself gifts is both very eco-friendly plus frugal.
Here are three reasons they making a homemade gift is a good idea:
- By making gifts at home, you can significantly cut down on waste.
- You can even make us of recycled or reused materials.
- Such thoughtful gifts are much more likely to be saved for years, rather than quickly become waste.
Timeless, Sentimental Gifts
#1 Create a Q&A Sheet About Dad for Kids to Fill In
This adorable gift is the perfect choice for children. Each question allows kids to reflect on why their dad is the very best! The resulting answers are sure to be too cute and cherished for years to come!
- Simply type up a sheet of paper with 10 or so questions about Dad. Leave blanks for kids to fill in their answers.
- Once the page is printed and filled in, you can paste a picture at the bottom.
- Optional: frame the paper.
Some of our favorite questions:
- “My favorite memory with Dad is _______.”
- “My dad makes me laugh when _______.”
- “My favorite thing to do with him is _________.”
- “He is really good at __________.”
- “My dad taught me how to _________.”
- “He always knows how to cheer me up by ________.”
- “My dad always says _________.”
#2 Memory Jar
Who says celebrating memories with Dad is only a once-a-year event?
This unique and sweet DIY gift, made with a mason jar and index cards, is a clever way to appreciate your dad all year round.
- All you will need is an empty mason jar and a stack of index cards.
- Whenever you have a heartwarming moment or share a hilarious story with your dad, jot it down on one of the index cards and throw it in the jar.
- Keep the tradition going from this Father’s Day to the next.
- Only open the jar to read the notes after a year has passed.
- Reading them together, you will bring every memory back to life again and truly see what a wonderful influence your dad is in your life.
#3 Write a Very Short Story
This detailed, authentic gift is ideal for a woman giving to her husband or her own father.
If you want to describe to your husband precisely why you think he is such an outstanding father to your children, there is no better way than through a story.
Similarly, if you wish to remind your own father of a memory of deep significance you shared in your childhood, writing it down is a beautiful gesture.
- This story can be as short as 1 page.
- If you’re really on a roll, by all means keep going!
Topics to spark your creativity:
- A wife to her husband: “ The Moment I Knew You Were an Amazing Dad”
- Woman to her own father: “The Moment I Realized How Very Deeply You Loved Me”
Creative & Crafty Gifts
If you have caught DIY craft fever, then we have exciting news!
Putting together these unique homemade Father’s Day gifts is a blast and their value is sure to last.
#4 Coasters Made of Scrabble Letters
Is your dad a dedicated writer, avid reader, or simply a master of the Scrabble board game? If any or all of these apply, these DIY scrabble letter coasters will bring countless smiles to his face.
- Choose a series of words either four or five letters in length. Suggestions: love, hugs, papa, golf, play, hero, boat, daddy, adore, laugh, best. You can have the words stand alone or create a sentence.
- Assemble all letters into words and create a square.
- Use Super Glue to glue each letter to the next. Do this letter by letter, applying a thin layer of the glue to the right side of one square and attaching it to another.
- Cut a square piece of a cork board to match the size of your scrabble letter square.
- Use a glue gun to paste the scrabble letters onto the cork board.
- Let coasters dry for about a day (consider placing under a heavy object, like a book, for extra pressure).
#5 Child’s Painted Footprints or Handprints on Wood + Father Quote
Dads will love displaying these precious pieces in their offices or bedrooms. Their little children’s hand and footprints will lock this lovely, fleeting phase of fatherhood in time forever. A touching quote on being a dad adds even more sweetness.
- Take a plank of wood and paint it your desired color.
- Once the paint is dry, have your kids paint their hands or feet, then place either on the wood to make an imprint.
- Sign each child’s name and age at the bottom.
- Print out a fatherhood quote and attach via glue gun or nail to the side of the wood.
Our favorite picks for quotes about Dads:
- “Some Heroes Don’t Have Capes. They’re Called Dads”
- “Dad, You’re Someone to Look Up to No Matter How Tall We Grow”
- “Dad: A Son’s First Hero, A Daughter’s First Love”
#6 Scrapbook in a Journal
Scrapbooks are always an excellent way to show your love. Sometimes, pictures themselves don’t tell the whole story. Make a scrapbook even more personal by writing in a few lines next to every picture saying what you remember most on the day it was taken.
- Buy a lined journal.
- Paste pictures directly into each page and use the lines to write several sentence next to each picture.
- Even better, let your dad write in his own sentences, too!
Practical & Useful Homemade Father’s Day Gifts
#7 BBQ Apron
Is your dad or husband a BBQ fanatic? You and/or your kids will have a great time creating this useful gift! Make Dad’s life easier by giving him an apron with easy access to every BBQ tool (and maybe a cold beer for extra credit!).
- Sew on leather tool holders to the pocket of an apron.
- These can hold spatulas, hot sauce, beer, and tongs.
- Place accessories in the apron pocket or attached tool holders.
#8 Homemade Coconut & Essential Oil Lotion
Despite their rugged scruffiness, men deserve to be pampered! Dads will love this luxurious, natural, homemade lotion.
- Put all ingredients in a glass jar.
- Stir ingredients together until they melt into one smooth lotion.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon cocoa butter
- 2 Essential Oils of your choice (men often like: sandalwood, ginger, sage, and pepper black). Experiment with different blends first to get your desired scent.
Activity-based homemade Father’s Day gifts
Are you not so crafty?
Don’t worry these ideas are perfect when looming for a gift that can be free to do plus means you spend quality time with the special man in your life.
#9 Pack a Picnic for the Park or Beach
Dads always enjoy a tasty meal and day outdoors! Pack a picnic basket with his favorite foods. Head to the park or beach and play games like frisbee!
#10 Plan an Adventure Day
For the very outdoorsy dad, you can plan a day full of exciting adventures! It is the perfect way to create priceless memories and show how well you know him!
- Present your dad with an agenda of the day or keep each plan a surprise!
- Daytime Ideas: start the day off with a bike ride to a local breakfast spot. As a midday activity, consider hiking, fishing, sailing, or visiting a museum.
- Nighttime Ideas: go see a movie together or have a bonfire dinner at the beach.
Happy Father’s Day!
Recommended Online Stores Discount Codes
Here is a list of stores who can help with the supplies needed to create the present from the gift ideas above. Use one of the coupon or promo codes we supply to get a saving.
Need even more ideas?
Check out Father’s Day Homemade Gifts Pinterest. With any of these easy homemade Father’s Day gifts, you are guaranteed to make your dad feel incredibly loved and appreciated on his special day!