One reason why helicopter parenting is on the rise may have to do with the general post-industrial trend toward smaller families (fewer children, and fewer parents in each home). If you only have one kid, you’ll be more careful about shielding your kid from uncertainties and dangers. If there’s only one parent to guide that kid through the thickets of life, it’ll be easier to simply keep the kid away from unscheduled adventures that could mean more stress for the single mom.
Agnostic writes a lot about helicopter parenting, so I wonder if he’s already touched on the role of small families in driving the obsessive-compulsive parenting trend. Big families used to mean you could let one or two buggers slip through the cracks without freaking out about the possibility of total loss of your genetic heritage.