Recently a coworker sent me a link to the Washington Post article, “Former Stanford dean explains why helicopter parenting is ruining a generation of children.” A few days later, a few of us were discussing taking our kids trick-or-treating and my coworker joked that I’m probably “that mom who carefully inspects every last piece of candy for razor blades.” You mean all parents don’t do that? What is wrong with YOU, is what I want to know.
But wait. What are these women not-so-subtly trying to tell me?
That I’m a helicopter mom.
I’ve witnessed my friends’ toddlers eat dog poop. Suck on rocks. Fall off a dock. Poke themselves with kabob skewers. It’s all I can do not to rush in and rescue these poor babies from contracting E. coli, choking, drowning, or dying from a stab wound. Meanwhile their carefree parents look on, shrugging their shoulders with an air of “eh, kids will be kids.”
Show me all the research you want about how children with overprotective helicopter parents — like me — will grow up to become helpless, coddled losers. I know my daughter will become an independent, contributing member of society just like I am because I understand the importance of teaching her these values, in addition to helping to guide her through life — or as some call it, hovering. I’m proud to be an attentive parent always looking out for the best for my child.
And here’s why.
- I like to protect my child from harm. If keeping a watchful eye on my kid lessens her chances of being poisoned, kidnapped, or injured, count me in. I’ll risk her losing an ounce of independence or gaining an ounce of entitlement, to keep her safe.
- I like to provide for my child. I got my first job at the local fast food restaurant when I was 14 so I could buy my own shampoo. I worked 33 hours a week while taking 18 credits as a freshman to put myself through college. I want my daughter to enjoy her adolescence! This does not mean she won’t work or learn the value of a dollar. It just means she will have the luxury of knowing both work and play.
- I want her to avoid disappointment. From heartbreaks to loss to rejection, life presents plenty of unavoidable disappointments. If helping my daughter to succeed in life helps her to avoid a few failures or letdowns along the way, sign me up.
- I understand that my generation grew up without sunscreen, life jackets, or car seats and was surrounded by crib bumpers and processed foods, and we turned out just fine. But rules change for a reason. Why wouldn’t I provide the safest childhood possible for my daughter?
What about you, mamas? Are you a helicopter parent?