The term "helicopter parent" is used to refer to those parents (usually moms) who tend to hover around their kids at ALL times.
They pick out their kids clothes,
walk them to school,
volunteer in their kid's class to observe their child,
pick out their kid's friends,
hover while the kids are playing to make sure that it is all going smoothly,
take way too much interest in their child's sports,
and other extra-curricular activities...and this isn't just for a kindergartner. It seems to continue for some up through High School, and even in to college.
I had a neighbor, who works at a college Health Center, tell me that a mother of a Freshman boy called her to find out about her son's last medical check up results. "I am sorry, I can't give you that information because it is private, and he is over 18," she said.
It sounded like the mother didn't take it too well.
There are mothers who argue with the coaches in High School so that their kids get put on sports teams that they didn't make it on, pick out their kids college courses, etc... I wonder if these mothers are picking out their children's prom dates, and later their spouses...scary!
It seems to me that if you felt secure in your childhood; Your parents were "there for you" but didn't intrude in your space, then you probably don't feel the need to be a "helicopter parent".
On the other hand, it seems like the parents who were latch-key kids (ME), feel this need to "hover" and do things differently.
I did not get to do any extra-curricular activities, so by-gosh, my kids are going to get to try out for every sport and play on every team that ever existed!
I felt awkward and ugly with acne, bad teeth, and oily hair, so I will ensure that my kids have braces at the age of six, regular dermatologist appointments, hair cuts at the fanciest salons, and the most expensive clothes.
My parents weren't interested in my academic success, so I will therefore completely stress out about my child's test scores, making sure he is in the top of his class, and get him tutoring if he needs it!
Didn't have many "play dates", so my child will have at least one, IF not two, preferably with children from varying ethnicities and socio-economic groups, just to ensure that he is well rounded, and exposed to different environments.
Don't we get it?! This extreme is just as bad as the other, just with different consequences.
Instead of feeling abandoned, the kids feel suffocated.
They are not given any freedom to express themselves, mess up (heaven forbid they actually LEARN a life lesson) or try what THEY want to.
The kids who feel alone, with little parental supervision tend to act out to try to get attention, even if it is negative attention.
While the ones with the "hoverer's" for parents tend to act out by controlling whatever aspect of their life they can (eating, cutting, stealing, etc..) Not to say that every mom who picks out her 7th graders clothes is going to be visiting them later at the Betty Ford clinic...
I am just thinking out loud here. I am wondering where I am at right now.
- I let Dalton walk to school by himself,
- but I do volunteer once a week in his class (to his utter embarrassment).
- I do not pick out his clothes,
- but I do arrange his play dates a week in advance
- and get him on all the sports teams.
- I don't hang out with him and his friends,
- but I do tend to intervene a bit too often and too soon when I hear someone teasing or getting left out.
- We have all the "fun stuff" at our house, to ensure that kids want to play here,
- but I watch them from my bedroom window to make sure they "play fair"
So, to hover or not to hover...that is the question.
And I think I have answered it for myself,
I need to give Dalton more space, and go hover somewhere else...like in my laundry pile!!