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    What Is Helicopter Parenting?

    You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter parenting,” but what is it? And is it okay or is it something you should try to avoid? Today’s blog post will provide a helicopter parenting definition. It will also look at the negative effects of helicopter parents on children’s lives despite the good intentions behind this parenting style.

    What Is A Helicopter Parent?

    The term “helicopter parent” was first introduced by Dr. Haim Ginott in his 1969 book Between Parent & Teenager. In it, teens he interviewed said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter. It become such a popular term that in 2011 it was entered in the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.”

    It can be hard to find the fine line between being an involved parent and smothering your child with too much attention. We just want to be good parents and protect our children. We want to help them find their path in life while keeping them safe and making them feel loved. But is there a point when parental involvement goes too far, not allowing our kids to learn things through difficult experiences?

    When our kids are young children, they definitely need our help more frequently. It’s our job to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and even do things for them that they’re not yet able to do. But helicopter parenting goes a little further and usually refers to parents of older children; high school or college students. At this age, kids should be able to handle many situations on their own or should be learning how to do so. However, helicopter parents tend to take responsibility instead of allowing young people to make their own decisions.

    Helicopter Parenting Examples

    For instance, a student that gets a poor grade or needs to arrange for a special test schedule. A helicopter parent speaks to the teacher for them. An older student should be able to handle these situations with their teachers or professors on their own and should be encouraged to do so for the life experience. But a helicopter parent might take this opportunity to handle the phone call or email for their child. However, this keeps their child from gaining the experience of dealing with these types of situations.

    Helicopter parents may handle the whole college process for the child. Instead of discussing a plan and guiding the child, helicopter moms might draw up a whole course of action for the child. They will then remain over involved at each step deciding when the child should study what and the extracurricular activities the child should participate in. Intrusive parents may go even further deciding where the child should apply to college and applying for them. While you can see how the impact of helicopter parenting can hinder healthy development of life skills for the child, negative outcomes can be even worse.

    Overprotective parents may play the mama bear card too often “protecting their child” from even the smallest criticism. This can often have the reverse effect making the child even more sensitive to feedback as they are assured it is an attack on them that is unfair and that they need the parent to save them from. When children learn that they should not do things for themselves, they may develop an overwhelming fear of failure and lack of trust in their own ability.

    What Motivates Helicopter Parents?

    Helicopter parents usually have their reasons for this behavior, but they basically boil down to a few:

    Fear – They’re afraid their child won’t handle the situation and it could cause long-term harm. Whether the child is dealing with a classroom situation, a sports team, or a job, parents are afraid if the situation isn’t handled well, it could have a negative impact on their child.

    Anxiety or Worry – Worry in other areas of life can cause parents to overcompensate in other areas. If a parent is worried about a situation in their own life that they can’t control, they look for ways to control other situations. They feel that even if everything is falling apart in their own life, they can at least help their child.

    Overcompensation – Parents who felt unloved as a child want their own child to feel loved. And providing constant attention and support, they think, will make their child feel loved.

    Effects Of Helicopter Parents

    Helicopter parenting often starts out as a parent who is concerned about their child and who pays them close attention. At a young age, this is needed. However, the helicopter parent misses the importance of encouraging independence as the child grows older. They miss the importance of allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes.

    This is when helicopter parenting can backfire. It can leave the child with low self-esteem, underdeveloped coping and social skills, increased anxiety, and a sense of entitlement. These effects of helicopter parenting are ironically all things that parents want to help their child avoid. However, helicopter parents don’t realize they’re causing these emotional problems.

    According to the Child Mind Institute, a new study from the University of Buffalo, “speaks to the issue of whether too much hovering over a child can be bad for her. Researchers looked at people who had been through difficult things, and they found that, on the one hand, going through very traumatic experiences does not bode well for one’s long-term resilience, but, on the other, going through almost no difficult experiences also does not bode well for one’s resilience. Having obstacles to overcome is what helps children to build resilience, to develop coping skills to deal with things that are difficult.”

    Recent research from Florida State University reveals how helicopter parenting leads to lower self-control among young adults. “Self-control allows us to regulate behavior in order to achieve our long-term goals,” said Professor Frank Fincham. When this happens, those students are more likely to experience school burnout. The research also points out that “Dealing with school burnout often spawns more mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression or addiction, and leads to worse academic outcomes”.

    How To Avoid Becoming A Helicopter Parent

    It can be hard to avoid becoming a helicopter parent, especially when you only want the best for your child. However learning to take a step back is necessary to allow your child become independent. It can be difficult to watch your child make mistakes or struggle. However, they will have to face these things sooner or later. The earlier they are allowed to guide themselves through small issues and deal with the consequences of their actions, the more likely that those repercussions will be small. Learning these life lessons younger will help make things easier for them to cope with later on.

    Take time to reflect on how involved you are in steering your child’s life. Try to look at it objectively. If you would be embarrassed to admit the things you are doing for your child or to protect your child, you may be overly involved parents with too much control. Look for opportunities to support and encourage your child’s independence. Yes, they will make mistakes and they will struggle, but then you can be there to help them (not do it for them!) work through the failure and pick themselves back up. Another important life skill they’ll need to learn.

    How To Deal With Helicopter Parents

    As a teacher, my husband deals with helicopter parents fairly often. The common problem is they assume their child is a perfect innocent little angel. They often think that as a good parent the best way to handle a bad grade is to go directly to the teacher and fix things. While it can be uncomfortable to feel attacked by a helicopter parent, the best thing to do is remain calm.

    Remember, these perfectionist parents are just upset and trying to solve things. Try to involve the child in the conversation when appropriate so that the child gets a chance to speak for himself or herself. Use clear communication to establish the situation and what you think is a reasonable resolution. Create boundaries if needed and seek a third party to arbitrate if things start to escalate.


    In recent years, research has confirmed that the children of helicopter parents have a harder time with self-control skills. They tend to experience more fear of disappointing others and suffer from more mental health issues. There is no question that the parent-child relationship is important. However, being overly involved in the lives of young adult children is detrimental even for well intentioned parents. Instead, allow your child be responsible for their own success (or failure). Stand back and offer them support when they ask for it but don’t guide their every move. I hope this helped answer, “What is helicopter parenting?” I also hope it inspires you encourage independence in your child and let them take the lead in their own lives.

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    When And How To Buy First Bra For Your Daughter

    As a parent, we learn to deal with all matter of uncomfortable topics but often puberty is one that still makes most of us cringe a bit. After all puberty is a sign that your little one is growing up and those can be hard changes to face. However, such topics are important to face head on as you want your child to know the facts and feel comfortable coming to you with questions. Puberty is happening earlier these days and some parents may be wondering when is the right time to buy a first bra, how to talk to their daughter, and what type of bras to buy. That is why I am happy to have an expert on the subject today, Dr. Cara Natterson, to share some tips on how parents can talk to their child about first bras and puberty.

    When should my daughter start wearing a bra?

    So there it is. The big question that many parents have is, “When should girls start wearing bras?” The answer to this is quite honestly opened ended but most people want a definitive answer. So for those who must have an age, the average age seems to be about 11. However, some children as young as 8 may start be starting puberty.

    I would say that the answer to, “When should girls start wearing a training bra?” is based on one of two reasons. First a training bra may be desired for function. In other words, the bra may be wanted to provide support for growing breasts, to hide nipples from showing through shirts, or to cover sensitive growing breast and decrease sensitivity of shirts rubbing against them. So, girls should start wearing a bra when their functionality is needed.

    Another reason that girls may want to start wearing a bra is for modesty, fashion or to fit in socially. For me, I remember suddenly having to change in a common area for gym class in middle school and you can bet I wanted a bra ASAP. I would say that if your child hasn’t needed one for function before middle school, it is time to get training bras to be ready for middle school.

    If your child wants a bra, there is no reason that she not have this undergarment. If you are concerned she is too young for a bra, that is what training bras are for!

    Featuring OOMBRA, the only pediatrician-designed bra

    What is a training bra?

    So now that we have established that a child typically needs their first bra some time before starting middle school, you may be wondering, “What is a training bra?” Well, it certainly does not train the breast. They don’t really need training. It is more about training the child to get used to an extra undergarment. For this reason, training bras are usually made of a soft, comfortable material in a sports bra style without underwires or cups. They are designed for comfort and support but not to push up breast or sexualize your child.

    How To Have The Conversation With A Child Developing Breasts About When It’s Time To Get A Bra

    Today, I have some excellent tips to share from Dr. Cara Natterson, pediatrician and cofounder of the OOMLA platform which includes the Puberty Portal where tweens and teens can find pediatrician-approved content written by their peers to help navigate this transformative time in their lives. OOMBRA is the only pediatrician-designed bra in the market, specifically created for tweens and teens to make the transformation from child to adult more comfortable on all fronts – physically, emotionally, and socially.

    Dr. Cara Natterson is also a New York Times best-selling author of multiple books regarding puberty, including The Care and the Keeping of You series with more than 6 million copies in print. Affiliate link below.

    Here are her tips on how parents can talk to their child about first bras and puberty.

    Some girls want to wear a bra well before they need one.

    They might be later bloomers, and all of their friends are wearing bras already – for these kids, having a bra helps them feel like they fit in. Others are super young, we’re talking 6 or 7 years old, but they see bras as representing female empowerment and ownership of your body. They might not express it quite this way, but for these young girls, a bra often represents female strength and power. How awesome is that? For girls who don’t really need bras but want them anyhow, parents can – and I think should – ask their girls why. Not in a judgmental way, but in a curious way, to begin to understand how their daughters feel about their bodies. This opens up an important conversational thread that will last for years. We designed OOMBRAs to fit even the smallest, flattest-chested girls who may want to wear these garments for all the right reasons. 

    Some girls need a bra but it’s the very last thing they want to think about.

    Now technically, no one needs a bra. But as bodies grow and develop, breasts have a way of garnering a tremendous amount of attention. Partially that’s due to the appearance of breast buds, the small bumps that look like a stack of dimes has just landed underneath the nipple. These buds are tender and pointy, almost torpedo-shaped. Over the next many months – often it’s years – boobs grow and shape-shift. The tissue can be super sensitive, especially to the accidental thwack by a ball or an errant elbow. Wearing a bra helps on many fronts: bras protect sensitive skin from irritating clothing rubbing against it; they compress the breast tissue, reducing tenderness when something does bang up against it; and they minimize the appearance of new boobs (at least non-padded bars do), calling less attention to the area. Once breasts are big enough, bras also help hold them in place which can make running and jumping and other forms of exercise more comfortable for the big-busted. If you think your daughter needs a bra for one (or all!) of these reasons, find a way to talk openly with her. Share your thoughts or, better yet, ask her if she’s ever had any boob-related tenderness or sensitivity and offer up a solution. 

    Verbal Ways To Broach The Subject Of First Bras

    If you and your daughter are talkers, then a verbal conversation is the way to go. But oftentimes, having a sensitive conversation works best when intense eye contact isn’t involved. So try bringing up the subject when you aren’t staring one another down – perhaps in a car (when you’re both facing forward and not making eye contact) or on a walk (same deal) or at night after the lights have been turned off and she’s getting ready for bed (but don’t try this last technique if you think bringing up the subject will result in a heated argument).

    Non Verbal Ways To Bring Up Training Bras

    If you’re not big talkers, there are many other ways to broach the subject. You can find an article (like this one!) and print it out, leaving it around the house somewhere she will find it. Or try texting her a link with a preamble like: Thought you might find this interesting. I’ve met kids who keep a Q+A journal that they pass back and forth with their parents to ask the awkward questions. I’ve seen parents use a scene in a movie or an ad to get the ball rolling on the subject. There are lots of ways to open up the lines of communication about bras.

    Some “Don’ts”

    Don’t decide to announce she needs a bra in front of her friends. Don’t announce she needs a bra in front of her siblings. Don’t even announce it – this goes far better when it’s a conversation, not a lecture or a pronouncement. Don’t dismiss her if she doesn’t think she needs one. Don’t decide you know what style or color bra she’s going to like. Don’t suggest a bra that’s meant for a specific use – a sports bra, for instance, works well for sports but it’s designed to be tight and made of synthetic materials, so it’s not a great option for all day wear. And finally, don’t confuse wearing a bra with being sexualized – there are lots of options that are comfortable and age appropriate.

    Featuring Crossed Straps OOMBRA

    How To Buy First Bra

    When you go to select a first bra, keep in mind you want something easy to put on, with a giving fit, and that is comfortable. I am partial to a training bra with no clips, clasps, strap adjusters or wires. Not only does this make things easier for your daughter, it also makes them super comfortable.

    How To Measure For First Bra

    Your child can be wearing her shirt when you take the measurement. To find the bra size, use a soft tape measure, wrapping it around the biggest part of her bust. Don’t pull tight! The number of inches around her chest is will help you select the correct size first bra in a brand sizing chart. Or if you are buying an OOMBRA the number of inches around her chest is the only information you need as that will be the size you order.

    Buying My Daughter Her First Bra

    I bought my daughter her first bra as part of back to school shopping. My daughter started middle school in 5th grade and she didn’t really need it for function yet but I wanted her to be comfortable changing in gym class. I told her that I wanted to get her some bras so she would feel comfortable changing and so that she would feel comfortable as she began to hit puberty and her body began to change. She was very receptive to the idea and said she wanted some because her friends were starting to get them too.

    My daughter is 16 now but OOMBRA still makes great bras for her. They are super soft and completely reversible, made from a patented design that hugs without binding. The criss-cross design in the back makes for a perfect balance of snug and relaxed fit that makes her feel confident in her clothing.


    I hope this article answers your questions about when should girls start wearing a training bra. I also hope it helps you tackle the first bra conversation with your daughter. It doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, it is a great time to show your daughter that it is OK to talk about anything with you and that you are there to help her get answers anytime she needs them!

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