Yep, you guessed it. I am a helicopter mom. But before you judge me, let me explain a few things. First of all, I never thought I was a helicopter mom until I recently read an article called “10 Signs You Might Be a Helicopter Mom.” I met 9/10 on the list. And then I thought, “hmm, if these things make me a helicopter mom, then I fully embrace that title.”
Second, I think every single parent has a different upbringing, different experiences, and different motivations. So to say that “these ten things” make you a helicopter mom is a ridiculous blanket identification that is unfair. It also neglects to consider that every single child is different and has unique needs as they are guided through life.
So, now that I got those things out of the way, let’s talk about this a little bit.
The tem “helicopter parenting” was coined in Dr. Haim Ginott’s book Parents and Teenagers in 1969. The term was used to describe parents who hovered over their children like a helicopter. Essentially, it is used to describe parents who take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures. Even more specifically, the term was used in reference to school aged children. Now, I don’t think that means parents of toddlers can’t be helicopter moms (because clearly according to someones extremely scientific blog post— I am one), but typically, this term has more to do with older children.
And I get it. The textbook helicopter mom is one who takes responsibility for a child’s schoolwork, grades, and school schedules, and one who often makes it their responsibility to take care of their child’s conflicts and failures rather than allowing them to learn from those things.
The term, as it was initially coined, is one I agree with.
But the problem is, that term has been taken to mean a million other things over the last thirty-something years.
And it seems that now you can’t protect or guide your child in much of any way without being labeled a helicopter mom.
But what may seem like drastic hovering to one mom could actually be very loose parenting to another. While one mom may be teaching one lesson, the mom next to her could be working on another. Therefore, the parenting styles of each will be reflected in that and could be very different.
So that’s where we have to come to some sort of agreement that being a helicopter mom is entirely subjective. Because, again, every parent is different, and the needs of every child are different.
Interestingly enough, there may be moms who think I am totally careless with my child, while a whole group of other moms think I am a total helicopter mom. It’s just so subjective in nature that, unless we only use the term how it was originally intended, we can’t just go around assuming that protective parents are helicopter moms. And I don’t think we can label first time moms as helicopter moms just because they are first time moms. Everything is so unique to each parent. One mom may change drastically from her first child to her second, and another may be exactly the same.
We simply can’t assume and label people in their parenting styles when we have no idea what’s really going on.
And we need to start respecting that boundary, and stop it with that labeling.
And as for me, if I am a helicopter mom, I am not ashamed.
Because if being protective of my child at one year old makes me a helicopter mom, then I want the hat and T-shirt. And if spending more time playing with her than having her play independently makes me one, then I embrace that. Because these are the good ole days and I don’t want to miss out. If following her on the playground makes me a helicopter mom, then again, I accept the title. Because I would rather keep an eye on her than rush her to the ER for stitches in her forehead (that was me at two years old).
I think there’s room to let your kids get hurt and experience the consequences of things. But I also think there is a line where wisdom takes over and we do what is best for our kids, regardless of how people may label us.