I just saw a very funny skit on helicopter parents. At the time I laughed, even though the skit kind of convicted me about a couple of things I do for my kids. Days later I started to get annoyed because my laughter had turned to paranoia. Was I a helicopter parent? What exactly is a helicopter parent? Wikipedia says this… Helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.
OK, so is this a bad thing??? I guess the push-it-over-the-edge word in the helicopter definition is extremely. Felt some relief about that – I must not be a helicopter mom. I don’t have time to do anything to the extreme. I do, however, pay close attention to my children’s experiences and problems.
The helicopter mom definition led me to another question. Why isn’t there a name for the opposite kind of mom? That’s a much bigger problem in my opinion. So here is my colloquial, early 21st-century term for a mom who doesn’t care – Submarine Mom. Submarine mom is a term for a parent who doesn’t pay attention to his or her child’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.
In the spectrum between Submarine Mom and Helicopter Mom I want to be in the middle leaning toward the helicopter side. I haven’t come up with a term for this balanced mom yet, so feel free to share your creative thoughts about a name. When you consider a name for the balanced mom consider this:
5 things to know to avoid being labeled a Submarine Mom…
1. Know your child’s friends and their parents
2. Know your child’s teachers and grades
3. Know your child’s successes and failures
4. Know your child’s dreams and fears
5. Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses
5 things to do to avoid being labeled a Helicopter Mom…
1. Never force your child to try to be part of certain social group
2. Never rescue your child from a bad grade that is deserved
3. Never push your child to succeed as if it is the only thing that matters
4. Never impose your own dreams and fears on your child
5. Never make your child feel as if they can’t do something without mom helping
So here is my last thought on this topic: it comes from a question I get all the time because I have 5 kids, and my last is in middle school…When do you start letting go on the first list above? The answer is, definitely not in middle school! If anything, you need to be more involved in middle school and high school. College you have to step back—but not totally. My oldest is 20, and I still know her friends and most of their parents. In fact, I have a few of her friend’s phone numbers. If I thought something had happened to her, I could call them to check up on her. I don’t know her teachers but as long as I am paying her bills, I want to know her grades.
I could go on and on but you get the idea…just don’t ever feel guilty for a little helicoptering!