CNN Parenting

How to know whether you're a 'helicopter parent' and why it matters

Finding a sweet spot between supporting our children and controlling them is what's needed for them, us and society at large.

(CNN)The fear of being a helicopter parent began years before I had my first son. Back then, I was fairly certain I could avoid overparenting, and would give my children a healthy amount of freedom.

Now, seven years and two kids later, I have no idea if that's the case. If I get down on the floor to do blocks with my toddler, am I guiding or hovering? If I help my kindergartner with a school project, am I inspiring or overbearing?
While "helicopter parent" was first identified decades ago, the concerns surrounding it have evolved. First, we largely worried about the effect this style of parenting had on kids, who were being raised in a pressure cooker and suffering anxiety and depression as a result. Then we became worried about the effect it had on parents, particularly working moms who couldn't keep up with the relentless demands at home after a day in the office. Now we are contemplating the way helicopter parenting feeds the growing gap between the rich and the poor.