Helicopter Parenting 101

by Danielle Veith


“I am a helicopter parent,” said no parent, ever.

Call me crazy, but I just think that for something to exist in real life, someone somewhere has to claim it. Of course, things can exist online and in print as mere insults lobbed at straw-men (or straw-women) and they often do.

Making that claim, that “helicopter parent” is a non-phenomenon, of course, makes me worried that I must be one. All the signs are there—

1.      I’m a stay-at-home mom. I mean, I can’t even leave my kids to go out and get a real job. Full-time job? Helicopter!

2.      I love my kids. Admitting that? Totally uncool. Totally something a helicopter parent would do.

3.      I worry about my kids. Set aside the fact that I worry about everything. Oh dear god, am I a helicopter person? Ah!

4.      At the pool or at the beach, I have trouble reading. I have this terrible nagging feeling if I’ve lost sight of my kids. I mean, one can’t swim and the other has just learned, but seriously? If I can’t just toss them in, sink or swim, there must be something wrong with me.

5.      I give my kids band-aids like they’re stickers. Doesn’t matter if there’s no blood. If there are tears, out come the band-aids to make it better! Even the overpriced kids cartoon ones ring in at something like 10 cents a pop. In my helicoptering brain, that’s a small price to pay for no tears.

6.      I give my kids stickers like they’re nothing. Forget giving stickers for good behavior, they have no cache in my house. We’ve got a drawer full with free access, that ship has sailed.

7.      I attend teacher conferences. I even ask questions. Whir, whir, whir…

8.      I show up at dance recitals, soccer practices, lame manufactured random school events. I try to make all of them, if I can. Hover much, helicopter?

9.      At the playground, it’s best if I just don’t look.

10.   They’re 4 and 7 and have never been on a neighborhood adventure all on their own. Case closed.

Is there a license to be a helicopter parent? I’d better apply A.S.A.P. I’ve always felt like there should be some kind of test you should have to pass to get this parenting gig—maybe this is what I’m waiting for! 

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