Forget helicopter parenting. It’s all about submarine parenting.

By Jaci Conry Globe CorrespondentMay 13, 2016

I’ll admit it: I’m in danger of becoming a helicopter parent.

After reading Julie Lythcott-Haims book, “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” I realized that many of my actions could be setting up my children for difficulty in years to come.

Parenting, she writes, has come to be as much about us as our kids. “We’re so afraid of getting it wrong that we overdo it to try to get it right.” From this mentality springs helicopter parenting.

We hover around children during play dates, follow them around the playground so they don’t get hurt, and carry their backpacks as we escort them into school. We select their activities, and a few of us intervene on their behalf with teachers or coaches.

All of this handholding sends the message that our kids can’t do this without us.


While my preschooler is capable of putting on her shoes, I’ll often do it for her because we’re short on time. I have driven by my son’s elementary school during his recess to see who he’s playing with, and I’ve mediated plenty of conflicts between my children and other kids that could have been resolved without my input. Any sign of my children struggling and I crumble — my first instinct is to swoop in and fix it.

Of course, there is another way.

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shan palmer