Helicopter Parent

Helicopter Parents. Are You a HoverCraft?

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I remember a time when hubs and I joked that our son Jake’s middle name should be changed to “be careful” (as in JakeBeCareful) because I swear that was all we said to that kid when he first started walking. I was the epitome of a “helicopter mom” because, dammit, no germs debris harmful stuff was gettin near my kid, by golly.

That is probably why, to this day, our now 8 year-old can be like gum-on-my-shoes some days. I love him to bits..but there are days when it’s 92 degrees outside, I certainly would rather NOT have my 70 pound rugrat on my lap.

I think it starts the second our young ones are born.We spend so much time “running block” on anything that could harm our babies, choke them, soil them, or anything that may even cause mild discomfort..that it becomes hard to stop being that Bouncer for our kid’s world.

To some degree, it’s normal. It’s parenthood.

Then they grow up and become school age. The first year of preschool we walk them to their class, because let’s face it, it’s the right thing to do. We then hover around outside the door to make sure there are no tears and drama. Quietly we tip toe away, retreating to our car. Sitting there staring at the digital clock on our dash until the time when our chicks can safely be under our wing again. At this point, you are just a normal, spazy Mom or Dad.

BUT THEN, our chicks starting sprouting feathers and doing some crowing. It’s the stage that I call Too Cool For The Room. I think for us, that was around 2nd grade. It was at that time when my once clingy chick became MORTIFIED if we attempt to walk him to class, much less drop him off by the front door. Maybe if I pulled up in a Monster Truck, he’d cut me some slack. There’s just nothing uber-cool about a Toyota Rav 4 emblazoned with Mom Squad logos.

And heaven forbid if I showed affection! *gasp* Gross Mom! But despite the squawking and ruffled feathers, I persisted and hovered.

Helicopter Parent?” Guilty as charged.

The term “helicopter parent” came into vogue a few years ago among college administrators to define the growing trend of parents who seem just a bit too involved in their child’s day-to-day lives at school.

I don’t believe Overprotective Parent Syndrome is limited to parents of college kids. I’ve been afflicted with it for the last 8 years. Ironically, helicopter moms and dads may come from all walks of life, but we have one thing in common: fussing over our children and standing guard to swoop down to intervene at every setback. It’s an act of love, but apparently it can borderline on overkill.

So what is a helicopter parent to do? If you find yourself exhibiting some of the classic helicopter qualities, it may be time to back off.

Yeah, yeah I hear you. I hear the roar of “what the eff are helicopter qualities???”

BabyZone.com has a fun quiz to take that can answer that question better than I ever could. Check it out here.

The “experts” all say; in order to encourage your children’s independence, refrain from constantly coming to their rescue. Listen to their problems and support them when necessary, but allow them to come to you for help rather than constantly getting involved on your own. 

Here’s the paradox: If we protect our children too absolutely, we actually end up exposing them to other risks.  And leave them without the skills, experiences, and minor life lessons that they’ll need to handle the big challenges as they grow up.” (Perri Klass, M.D.)

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About Becky Flansburg

Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog Franticmommy.com is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest