Gasp! Am I a HELICOPTER Parent?

Gasp!  Am I a HELICOPTER Parent?  #Funny #Parenting Tale about Helicopter Parents and Free Range Kids!

So then…he teeters toward the step down into the living room and I lunge for his little toddler legs in case he tips. He doesn’t. He waddles over toward his mother who is calmly watching him in her peripheral vision, while simultaneously chatting with another mom, eating chips and dip, and putting another child’s hair in a ponytail.

I marvel at her composure. I only have 2 kids and I’m watching them like a hawk for safety, hygiene, dietary desires, and every other conceivable need.  If they so much as TOOT, I wanna know about it!

She has 6 kids and seems cool as a cucumber. I lean in to see if her eyes are dilated – maybe she’s heavily sedated.

When she notices me hovering around her youngest as a personal bodyguard, she lets me know that he’ll be fine.

“But I’m so worried he’s going to fall into our living room floor or hit his head on the furniture,” I say.

She says, “Well, he’s our sixth, ya know – ”

(Yeah, I know – but what, the sixth one is expendable? Does she mean, “Oh it’s OK — if he’s a goner, I’ve got 5 more at home just like him”?)

“—so I keep an eye on him,” she continues, “but by now, I figure they’re all going to encounter some little bumps and bruises along the way.”

That makes sense. I ease up a little.

We eat lunch — the kids get in their swimsuits — we slather them with sunscreen – and they head to the backyard pool where the dads are on lifeguard duty.

Just then, one of her daughters comes up to her and says plaintively, “Mom, this swimsuit doesn’t fit me.”

We look down to see this 6-year-old girl literally hunched over in a one-piece swimsuit fit for a much younger child. The straps are pinching into her shoulders and her face is filled with pain.

The mom looks at her daughter and says nonchalantly, “Well, that happens sometimes with hand-me-downs, so if that’s all we brought, you’ll just have to make do.”

Make do? My mind is racing for alternatives. My daughter is age 4 so her swimsuits would be too small. My swimsuits would be way too big – but perhaps some safety pins? They live too far away to go all the way back for another one. My mind’s whizzing with other possible solutions.

The daughter says, “But it’s hard to move around, Mom. It kinda hurts.”

And the mom says, “You’ll get used to it. Now go on out and enjoy the pool with the kids. It’s a beautiful day, so go have some fun.”

So the little girl hunches back to the pool — and proceeds to have a blast with all the kids — swimming and playing and squirting water guns and doing pool flips all day long.

I am stunned.

I say to the Mom, “Omigosh, if I were at someone’s house and that was my kid complaining about a too-small swimsuit, I would’ve run to the nearest Target to buy her a new one! Or driven home to get one that fit! Or torn down the curtains and sewed her a new one on the spot!”

She laughs and says, “Yeah, I was pretty accommodating with my first couple kids, but then they started to expect it. So if I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of high-maintenance kids, I figured I’d better teach them to just go with the flow.”

I am in awe. I want to be like this mother.

What a wonderful philosophy. She tells her kid who has a genuine problem, “It’s a beautiful day, so go enjoy it” – and her kid does!

My kids are high-maintenance because I cater to their every whim.

And it’s all because I only had 2 kids.

If I had 6 kids, I’d be a much better mother.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do you accommodate your children a little too much? Or are you a “go-with-the-flow” mom? Am I the only one with high-maintenance kids? Share an example of your parenting style — Over-Accommodating or Adaptable-Go-With-the-Flow?)

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10 replies on “Gasp! Am I a HELICOPTER Parent?

  1. I think I’m a little of both. Last night I spent over 2 hours making my son an awesome child-friendly Wolverine claw for the dress-up costume he has become obsessed with! Which, of course, now means it will become his least favorite costume of choice by next week.

    But when he comes to me, almost every day, and says he has an owie and needs a band-aid, the new rule is “if there’s no blood, there’s no band-aid”. A bloodless owie gets a kiss and he gets sent on his merry way. The kiss seems to do just fine.
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  2. Judy said:

    I don’t have kids but I suspect I’d be one way one day and the total opposite the next. Then the kids would grow up to all require therapy, thus keeping therapists in business.

    They say you parent like you were parented so if I had kids, then I wouldn’t even know. Oh my gawd! Maybe this means I do have kids… somewhere. I’ll check the closet when I get home.

  3. I think we all over-accommodate sometimes. My daughter suffers from daily headaches; I know that I probably give in to her too much when I know she’s suffering. My son is bashful and used to be painfully shy; sometimes I tell him it’s okay to not be outgoing when he’s uncomfortable, etc.

  4. I have three; when they were younger, we always had heaps of friends staying over on weekends. So much so that I had to do a head count for meals. People asked me how I coped, but actually when there are more children around they are easier to deal with — they keep each other busy.

    We pander much more to our youngest now that her big sisters are out of the house.
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  5. Mimi Gin said:

    I coached my daughter in basketball from third grade through sixth. Had many a parent who “hovered.” They learned my philosophy pretty quick – when a girl came off the floor complaining of a hurt, my response was always – ” I see no blood gushing, no bones poking out – suck it up and get out there and play!”

    So then – my daughter has a HUGE crash on the court with another girl. The other girl is knocked out. (yes, they played that hard.) My daughter jumps back up and says she’s fine, no blood, no poking bones…blah blah blah. Yea, three months later I felt like crap when we went for her physical and mentioned that she had had an achey back for a bit. She had three fractured ribs! And my daughter had continued to play and behave as if nothing was wrong.
    :(

  6. I know I am horrible because I spoil them rotten. I didn’t have all that much when I was young so they have everything.

    I joke with my oldest son that he has more things in his room than I had in my first apartment.

    I laugh with my wife as when we were little (like say 10) we would be in a group and get on our bikes and be gone like all day. Now if I can’t see them they are too far.

    Funny how we change. lol

  7. There are over-achievers in all walks of life but this is ridiculous. There were four kids in my family and I remember my mother walking around mumbling, “Who are these people, who are these people.” I also recall it would take Jimmy Scot, who came from a family of eight kids, about ten minutes to get permission to go next door because his Mother wasn’t sure she knew him and she couldn’t remember his name.

  8. Liz said:

    I am pretty nonchalant with my only child. He’s 8 months old and I just feel that children are supposed to go through life with lots of accidents, sunshine, fresh air, and love. There are times when he does bang his head especially hard on the floor (because he doesn’t quite understand yet the whole how-to-walk business) and in those moments I pick him up and hold him but more often than not I simply smile and say “Uh oh! You fell down!” with a big grin on my face so he understands that everything will be okay. Because, really, children don’t need much. I personally think that as long as their basic needs are covered and they get a few of their wants every so often then they’ll grow up just fine.

  9. Yup. I found that I became a better parent after 3. A lot more letting go and going with the flow. That’s why I had more ;-)
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