A helicopter parent hovers. They refuse to let their kid out of their site. They follow them on the playground so they never fall down. They don’t let them ride their bike to a friend’s house so they never get lost. They make all their kids decisions for them. They check in constantly with their teachers to make sure everything is going according to plan. Their plan.
A snowplow parent doesn’t hover, they drive out in front of their kid, clearing the road of every conceivable impediment and obstacle between adolescence and…retirement? Their kid’s, not theirs.
Coach doesn’t think their kid is good enough to be the star player? They’ll start their own team. College applications? They’ve got it handled—even if it means bending the rules or breaking the law. At great pain and expense, their kid will never have to struggle, stumble or be rejected.
Needless to say, neither of these approaches is likely to produce what every good dad wants: Self-sufficient, happy, and well-adjusted children. Even though many helicopter and snowplow dads come from a good place—they love their kids so much, they want nothing but the best for them—they are actively doing harm.
Your job is to be there for your kid, not be their everything. Your job is to teach your kid, not prevent them from ever failing. Yes, you have to keep them safe, but not at the cost of keeping them sheltered. Not at the expense of life itself.
So relax, man, and give them room. Be a good example. Be ready for when they need you. That is what a Dad does.