Helicopter Parent by Christina King

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I am a helicopter parent and proud of it. My husband has dubbed me the “OSHA” mom because I seem to anticipate injuries before they happen and I am constantly interceding or making changes to things to ensure that the area is safe, I know where the kids are and what they are doing, I check to make sure they are where they say they will be, etc.

In some of my many travels I had the opportunity to talk with a retired FBI agent who interviewed a child pedophile and convicted murderer of children. When I asked him several questions regarding the cases he was in charge of this is what he told me. That many of them were unsupervised by parents and were abused or neglected. Many of them, were witness to pornography at a young age (not being supervised) many of them found their victims by driving around and just looking sometimes at night through open shades. So to me, I will definitely micromanage my young children’s lives until they understand the complexity of every day living in a society where many have no respect for life.

Perhaps I do not fully understand what it means to micromanage, but I am guessing that many of you would classify me as a parent who micromanages things. I figure, it is not the same as 50 years ago when you could send your child outside to play and not see them again for several hours and everything was fine. You could have your kids sleep over at a friends and not worry about abuse, exposure to violent or pornographic movies, you did not have to worry about a lot of things that I believe we clearly do now.

When I went to take my daughter to college, they made this big schpeel about helicopter parents and just let them go. I thought really? What a joke! I am going to send my Catholic daughter, who is saving herself for marriage into the world for the first time and just wave at the corner good bye and good luck! Think again. I did not birth my children into the world so that I could throw them into the cesspool of water and say “sink or swim”.

So what did I do? I encouraged her to pick a college close to home for her first year. That way she had an opportunity to get out of the house and learn to live on her own but had a way to come to the place that she felt safe and loved if she felt the need or was overwhelmed with the new environment. I came for lunch once in a while so she could show me around and have a sense that her “place” was her place. I called or texted regularly just to encourage her. I sent gift baskets at finals time to get her through the long nights of study. When she was sick, I picked her up and brought her home to help her get through it, helped her with her laundry and then took her back.

What! Some of you are saying. For crying out loud, let her grow up. But hear me, what message did my actions say? One day, I will be gone, dead and buried and what message did my “hovering” send her? That no matter what, I will love her, I will server her, I will be involved. When she has her first baby, if she desires, I will come to her house for the first week and do laundry, help her to take a nap, encourage her, whatever it takes so that she too can embrace her role as heart of the family.

What do others think? Are you as infuriated by the term “helicopter” parents? Perhaps all homeschoolers are helicopter parents? After all, I homeschool to keep the innocence of my children intact, to take into account their different learning styles and cater to that, to know who they are associating with and to ensure that they remain close to Christ. I know that I have received ridicule for being overprotective and that homeschoolers are not letting kids be socialized.

As a helicopter parent, I think that my actions have been the reason that all 8 of my children are still alive. It also may account for why none of them have been sexually abused and why all of them know that they can not get away with anything because mom is on the job. I don’t allow sleep overs and I supervise even family members as they are in proximity to my kids (having been abused my family members growing up, I realize even a “walk” with the wrong relative can prove tragic).

Don’t get me wrong, I could not possibly run after all 8 kids at once, I am just VERY involved. I am sure that many teachers can’t stand me (some of my kids have gone into school), many parents think I am over involved and some of you reading this are sighing and rolling your eyes and I don’t blame you, I am not denying a thing.

However, here is the fruit of labor; My oldest is almost 21 and although she rolls her eyes at me at times when I am hovering, she also has expressed to me that she has on many occasions been grateful for me being there for her as she learns to make her way in the world.

I have also had my 15 year old tell me she prefers to go to the mall with me than her friends because I am more fun.

My children learned about the birds and the bees from their father and I, they are safe, healthy, love Christ and the Church, know they were made to know, love and serve God and believe they too have a purpose to being created.

So, I do not plan on changing my technique anytime soon, but would love to know from others what their take is on this subject.

Copyright 2010 Christina King

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About Author

Christina King has been married for over 20 years and has 8 children ranging in age from 25 to 5 years old. She is an international Catholic speaker and has been featured on "Women of Grace" on EWTN. She is the host of her own National Radio show "Embracing Your Greatness" on Radio Maria. She is the author of "Embracing Your Greatness; Healing Wounds & Reclaiming Our Greatness Through Theology of The Body. To book Christina to speak at your next event you can email her at [email protected] or call her at 920-277-8559 or visit www.EmbracingYourGreatness.org.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Christina,
    At the College I work for, “helicopter parents” are the ones who do everything for heir child. They call the professor to ask about homework, They call the potential employer to negotiate salary and benefits. I don;t consider you that type of Helicopter parent.” You keep you daughter close and the lines of communication wide open. You give her advice on how to handle a situation and let her communicate with her professors with your guidance. Some people may call that over-protective, but I don;t see a problem with that.

    Helicopter parents swoop in and save the day whenever their child might face any small obstacle and remove the obstacle themselves rather then assisting and advising the child on how to go about overcoming the obstacle themselves.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Christina,
    I was thinking the same thing as Maggie. If you are saving your kids from consequences and doing their work for them, then you are a “helicopter parent” otherwise you are just a concerned parent.

  3. Let’s hover together! ; ) I, too, am a helicopter mom (homeschooling too!) and proud of it! My sil regularly tells me that we are MUCH better off living the way we live in our home…her kids all go to public school & are influenced by everything & everyone around them. Alot of the time, it’s not good influence! My kids have friends of all backgrounds but playdates are here 99% of the time b/c in the 1% of the time that they have not been, I have been less than impressed w/the level of attention that the parents have given (w/rare exceptions!). That even includes family members for us too. Anyway, hover, hover, hover…it’s the only way to keep kids safe in our very sad & very sick world today! God bless everyone’s Thanksgiving!!!

  4. That was beautifully said. I don’t think I can micromanage my kids. I’ve been surprised what the boys have done in their room while I’m downstairs washing dishes. I’m very vigilant when they are around other people, though being so worried about child predators. I am taking this year to prayerfully consider homeschooling my children. The arguments are strong on both sides. I like your reasons for doing it.

  5. Wow! I thought I am pleasantly surprised. I am always so persecuted, sometimes by family members, my own mother even. It is wonderful to see that so many of you support me! Let’s pull up our britches and dig our heals in girls. We may be the heart of the family, but I think we are the heel too…if you know what I mean..
    Peace Out!

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