Submarine parents are more dangerous to children than helicopter parents

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Of: Jana Stabener


“Submarine parents” can interfere with their children’s success in life. We explain what lies behind the pedagogical method.

Parenting methods are probably as different as there are parents on this earth. Nevertheless, psychologists and educators like to use imagery to describe widespread “parenting types”. To do this, they use technical devices or vehicles, such as the term “helicopter parents” – everyone knows this word. It doesn’t taste good.

It was not for nothing that Twitter users made fun of Christine Lambrecht, who transported her son on the government plane, calling her a good example of a helicopter mother. Helicopter parents are always buzzing around their child and overloading them with attention and care. Still better than what “submarine parents” do, according to a school law expert.

“Submarine parents harm their children more than helicopter parents”

Compared with Focus on the web school lawyer Thomas Böhm explains why “submarine parents” are so problematic – especially in relation to their own children’s education and career. As can be guessed from the terms “helicopter” and “submarine”, “helicopter parents” and “submarine parents” could not be more different. “Submarine parents harm their children more than helicopter parents,” says the expert Focus on the web. On the contrary: children of helicopter parents are more successful than others, say researchers from the USA.

Because while helicopter parents buzz intensively around the children, and this can also be annoying for the teachers, they at least have a serious interest in their children’s success, according to Böhm in an interview Focus on the web. U-boat parents, on the other hand, “don’t show up, don’t go to parent meetings, don’t talk to the teachers – they only bring out the heavy artillery when a transfer is in danger”. They ignore and turn off their children, which pediatrician Voigt calls a big parenting mistake.

It would harm the children even more because the parents stay below the surface of the water until their offspring get into situations where they can no longer get out without help. But instead of taking action, U-Boot parents often expected teachers to fix the problem. “This attitude cannot work,” warns Böhm in an interview Focus on the web.

What exactly are submarine parents and why are they a problem, especially for teachers? © Westend61/IMAGO/Katharina Mikhrin

The “submarine parenting” method of parenting is out – what about attachment-oriented parenting?

So the submarine is out as a parent vehicle. The helicopter doesn’t look too good either – except for Anton Hofreiter, who is being celebrated for taking his little son to the Bundestag. But it is a bonus for men and politicians, users on Twitter suspect. But which method of education should it be? Nora Imlau thinks it is best not at all Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) 2021 an interview about her new guide, “The Family Compass”. She has a deep conviction that parenting does not mean using certain methods to raise children to become sensible adults.

With four children of her own, Imlau relies on “close parenting” (also known as attachment-oriented parenting). This approach is more individual and has according to the platform with the needs of all family members in mind. He is not addicted to perfectionism and does not necessarily try to set limits for children, but rather to formulate his own limits. Here, communication at eye level is paramount, says teacher Eliane Retz about attachment-based parenting.

This change of perspective should also eliminate the position from above (helicopter) and from below (submarine). Although this method of parenting is more demanding, it certainly has benefits for the children as it creates a good foundation of confidence for puberty, and children who are raised in an education-oriented way are demonstrably more solution-oriented, continue to develop language, and are more empathetic. However, empathy also has negative sides and can increase racism and sexism.

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