Confessed Helicopter

{Helicopter parents}
parents who "hover" over their children and "fly" to the rescue every time their children have a problem.

By sheer force of will, I am determined to become less of a helicopter parent. It’s not easy for my personality.

I am a worrier...


Not saying I don’t have a healthy level of the 1970's parental benign neglect. I’ll read a magazine the entire time my kids are  at the park, only looking up to snap a few pictures. However,  80% of the time I was a nervous wreck. Ask my family.  It was considerably worse when my kids were very little. It seemed, babies everywhere died...

  • a baby choked on a whole grape and died.
  • a 4th grader choked on a whole hot dog and died.
  • a two year old in town drown in her family pool. We had a pool.
  • a toddler climbed a large bookcase. It fell over and the toddler died.
  • blind cords?  OH, those WILL kill a baby.
  • AND, kidnapping. OH, don't touch that nerve... I watch Dateline...The Polly Klaas story is my worst nightmare.
So... for the most of our younger years... I was a bag of nerves.  

No grapes, hot dogs only sliced longways, monsters that lived in the pool, no blinds, only shutters, all heavy furniture anchored to the wall and Heaven forbid leave my side in public!
Can you imagine the working environment for our nanny? God bless you Ms. Margaret. I think know she pretended to listen. Pretended to read my lists. But, with her 30 years of child rearing experience, she knew to keep quiet and do her own thing.
 

This helicopter mom was flying at warp speed!
 

As the toddler years passed, the worrying got better... Thankfully we all survived. I soon realized hundreds of millions of children eat grapes and hot dogs every day and survive. Tragedies like these are only reported in the papers because they are rare.
As time passed and my babies grew, the helicopter still hovered ... but constantly over new untraveled, frightening territory; school work, FAITH, hygiene, manners, seat belts, nutrition, college, cell phones, Facebook ... the list could go on and on. My rational thinking, as I walk the school hallways is... knowing there are parents 10 times worse than myself.

My husband? He doesn't hover as low as myself... But, he is definitely my co-pilot. We are in agreement, we have a new and very real worry...
 Soon my son will be driving. Not a golf cart or Polaris. A car. On roads where crazy drivers mow down innocent teenagers all the time... (my irrational thinking) This may warrant medication. Do you know there's a such thing as a   teen in car camera?   Hhhmmm... now that's some impressive helicoptering!
However, I am determined... by sheer force of will, as they get closer and closer to adulthood, this helicopter known as mom will never run out of fuel, but eventually she must land. (cliche, I know)

 I'll admit it's hard to watch your child stumble, whether on an Algebra test, forgotten gym clothes, lost assignment or an unfair call on the football field. I keep reminding myself, it will be much harder to watch my adult child unable to adjust to challenges in life because I always always coddled, hovered and protected.  So, I'm trying ... I’m determined to land this bird by age 18.
 Last week I took a baby step! 
Anna Katherine's Greek Food project was due. She did great! She looked slightly shell shocked when instead of hovering over every dot of glue, I placed a bag of supplies on the counter, gave a few suggestions and returned to my office. 
 
I think I can, I think I can... was playing in my head.
 She had a slew of questions. I helped a little, but mostly advice given from my office chair. I'm proud to say that 90% of her project was done independently!
 
Brantley said...

Great post! Love the old pictures!

Jo said...

This is SO hard {been there, done that} but they must grow their self-esteem and own their accomplishments. We can't do it for them but we can guide them {sometimes from a distance} along the way.

As always, beautiful photos!

Jo

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