helicopter mom

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jperry5683's picture
Joined: 02/13/10
Posts: 525
helicopter mom

On a scale of 1-10 how much of a helicopter mom are you? Do u hover..let them be..have a good balance?

I'm just wondering where everyone is at. I find myself struggling with a good balance. Like my son gets dirty and into everything. I have gotten better in just letting him be because I'm a total germaphobe. He is also a climber..and jumper.. and I hover a whole bunch. I've met some moms that are like oh let him..he'll learn...
I want him to explore but I get nervous.

Another example is that there are only a few people I will let watch him. There are various reasons why but Dh wants me to let up a little.

How do u think u will be as they get older? For example at what age will u let your kids sleepover at friends houses?

abacaxi's picture
Joined: 02/27/10
Posts: 363

I'm maybe at a 6. I do tend to hover in public, but that's because Rowan is a runner and if I look away for a second, she's gone. Once I briefly lost her at a library playgroup and when I found her she was on the other side of the room drinking someone's coffee. If she would just stay in one place, I wouldn't need to be so close all the time.

I let her get dirty and draw all over herself and pick up and kiss dead beetles, because I know she's just exploring her world.

I don't know when she'll be old enough to sleep at friends' houses. I would have to know the family pretty well first, especially the dad. And if I had any bad vibes at all, she wouldn't be allowed over there at all, much less to spend the night. But some of that is because I've worked counseling sexual assault survivors so I'm a bit overly wary.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I'm probably a 2-3 if a 10 is the over-bearing crazy women who are trolling about my university campus holding the hands of their precious snow flakes.

I'm all about letting Teagan get down and dirty so long as we're not about to go somewhere where she has to look somewhat presentable. I'll leave her with family & friends pretty easily. I'm ready for a sleep over now! The thing I'm pretty crazy about is what she eats. I'm fine with her eating occasional junk food but I'm pretty crazy about her avoiding meat, preservatives, pesticides, and sugar substitutes. So that's why I think I'm a 2-3. Otherwise, I think I just watch her do her thing and assure that she doesn't *really* hurt herself.

rubber_da_glove's picture
Joined: 12/31/07
Posts: 1527

about a 4. I make sure they are ok and not getting into trouble but most of the time I like to let them get on with it. It also depends on the situation, when we are at toddler group where they can't get out then I just leave them to play but if we are at the park with bigger kids/climbing frames then I'll stay with them Smile

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I try to be a five, but if we are out somewhere where I think he should be better behaved like a resturant I am pretty hovery just to try to maintain and control his behaviour, but because of my job I feel lke people always want to judge me as a parent.

With sleepovers I would want to know the family as well, but the upside of my job, I recognise lots of names of families who may not be overly appropriate for sleepovers and friendships.

Joined: 06/22/10
Posts: 5602

it really depends on where we are. if we are at peoples houses i am an 8 lol. at home, or at my mom's or MIL maybe a 3 or 4?

i think i will be an overprotective mom as that is how i grew up. the thought of him sleeping at people's houses makes me nervous i would have to know the parents well. I also don't let many people watch him. Only my mom, MIL, and cousin has and it has only been a couple of times.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

I'm a 3 in the getting dirty, jumping and climbing off things category. We do tons of messy play (paint, dirt, bubbles, cooking etc.) on purpose! Smile I'm also a 3 when it comes to policing how my two kiddos interact. I step in if it gets out of hand but am mostly letting them figure out how to interact and disagree. I just don't allow hitting!

I'm a 8 when I'm at my father's house because it's NOT kid friendly and my father and I do NOT have a good relationship so I'm generally tense when we go there anyway! Good thing it's only like 3-4 times a year! ha ha

I'm a 7 when it comes to trusting people to watch my kids at this age. When they are older (2-3 more years maybe) I'll probably be a 4/5. I just want them to be able to fully communicate if something is wrong and be able to call me on the phone if there is a problem too.

As far as sleepovers - maybe a year or two more until we do a sleepover with our closest friends? Anyone I don't know well will be a lot longer, if ever!

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I think it depends on the area of study. Here at home I pretty much let her to her thing. I even let her play in the backyard alone with my looking in on her regularly. Out in public I have to have her in my sight at all times. I've seen too many "I just turned my back for a second and he/she was gone!" stories, but as long as I can see her and I'm close enough to reach her quickly, I'm good.

As far as other people watching her I'm more on the crazy lady end of the spectrum. I don't trust anyone. DH's parents are too old to keep up with her, DH's sister is crazy, my own sister barely knows where her own kids are most of the time and doesn't use carseats for her 4 and 5 years girls. Strangers are out of the question. On several occasions, SIL has called, wanting me to go out to a bar to watch a friends band play, with a line like, "she's a Christian, can do no wrong, teenager" who is a friend of a friend's daughter. Um, no! I don't care if she's a nun, if I don't personally know her and know her very, very well, NO!

As far as overnights when she's older, I hope that I'm able to relax at some point, but I think it will be hard. I'm like Sara on that front. My BFF's stepfather molested her, and when I used to spend nights over there we'd barricade the bedroom door with furniture. One night we didn't baricade it well enough and he came in there while we were sleeping. I never woke up fully so I don't know what all he did, but I remember him hugging me and he told me the next day that I 'let him' kiss me on the lips.
I don't trust anyone.

stacymh's picture
Joined: 03/16/10
Posts: 1807

At home, it's pretty much free range. I let him get dirty and be on his own, with me looking in. I go outside with him, even in the backyard, but he gets to do whatever, and I'm just there to make sure he's ok. When we are in public, I know I am on the hovering side. He is also a runner, so I like to be where I can grab him if I need to. I let my family watch him whenever I need to. I trust them completely. I would let MIL watch him if we lived closer to her. Friends, I haven't needed them to watch him, but I have a couple that it would be no problem for me to trust if I was in a pinch. Sleepovers, he has slept over at my parents house. For now, that and my brother's house will be it. I already worry about when he's in school and it's time for sleepovers. I will be an 11 on that scale when it comes down to it.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

I'm crazy like Anna when it comes to others watching Aiden. I need to know them. Strangers are not okay. We had two couples watch him twice back in Del Rio. Both of which we trusted and felt we knew first. Otherwise it's just been grandparents.
Sleepovers? Oh heck no right now! No idea when I'll ever allow that. Anna, stories like that keep me paranoid.

Now before you think I'm a nut, I've been told I'm too relaxed with Aiden at times. lol. Yesterday at the park during the CD meeting I let Aiden wonder around the playground area (it has 4 different big play structures and a few small ones too so it's a rather large place!) to his heart's content. Every few minutes I'd glance for him. If he was wondering outside of my comfort zone, I'd grab a wrap and chase him. But apparently since I wasn't actually on the playground area I should have brought a babysitter just to watch him according to another mom there (she told the CD leader this who laughed at told me later). I trust my child on playground equipment. Even if I was there not like I could stop him from thinking he's a bird or something ya know? So then the big risk is abduction or him taking off too far and getting lost/hurt. But is hovering really the answer? Okay, maybe I am too relaxed in these situations for someone who doesn't trust babysitters. Blum 3 I am more likely to stick with him when in a crowded situation with strangers (the park yesterday was overtaken by other CD moms, most of whom I've met before). I do wear him a lot when out in public (pretty much the only times I wear). It's rare where I let walk or ride in a cart. But then again, DH and I did loose Aiden at the children's museum once. lol.
Where does that put me on a scale? I feel like a contradiction.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

First of all, let me just say that I don't think keeping your kid from screaming and running around in a restaurant, or not letting them bolt in a parking lot or playgroup counts as "Helicopter Parenting"...that's just good, appropriate parenting in a society. Kids need boundaries or else they'll grow up to be hellions. Or get run over. That's just REALITY.

Helicopter parenting is not letting your kid have any independence, not letting them make their own choices and follow through, not letting them try and fail and learn from it. Doing their homework for them. Filling out their college schedule for them. Or at this age, helping them up that play structure they can probably handle on their own. Etc.

I would say I am very laid back about most things, and I try really hard not to hover around her learning new tasks--THAT is my biggest struggle: not stepping in to help too soon when she is struggling to do something just outside of her comfort zone. But I try hard to fight it because I know it's incredibly important for her to have the space to learn perseverance!

As for the other stuff--food I don't think is really helicopter parenting either, but as long as we're talking about it I guess I'd say I'm medium crazy on that one--we keep our house full of pretty healthy food, at least in the sense of preservatives, food dyes, sugar substitutes, and other crap. I'm a label reader, and I have a hard time shopping at conventional grocery stores (I mostly shop at Trader Joe's, because I am also not wealthy). We're not vegetarian, although we do try to limit our meat consumption and have many meat-free days every week, and buy conscientiously. I'm a label reader, but I figure as long as MOST of her food is healthy, I'm not going to worry about the occasional whatever meal or snack that she ends up having at someone else's house or out and about. Everything in moderation.

As far as other people watching her...that's a tricky one. She is just so young, still, and until she can fully articulate her needs in a way that other people can understand (not to mention go to bed without a whole involved routine, not wake up in the night crying, etc.--no overnights for a while yet!) I don't think there's anything wrong with being really careful about who I entrust her to. Again, I think that's just good parenting. However, as she grows, I do think that I'll allow her to spend more and more time with other people alone, as long as I know them and feel comfortable with them. Just going to have to feel this one out as we go. That said, she does of course go to daycare, stays with my mom and MIL sometimes, and she has had a couple of paid babysitters, including a college student and a high school student. But both were extremely experienced and came with glowing personal recommendations from people I trust. I'm still leery of just hiring a stranger, or someone without a lot of childcare in their background.

I guess if I had to sum it all up, I think that's a good balance and very age-appropriate. If I'm still acting exactly the same way as she gets older and earns more independence, then that's where it starts to get out of whack. But at two? Heck yes--a good balance.

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

I'm probably a 5. In the house, I pretty much just let them go. When they disagree, I let them handle it unless is escalates to hitting/biting (Lainey) or if Claire is taking stuff from Lainey (she is HORRIBLE about this) or if they are destroying the house.

I don't let anyone but family watch the kids. One time we absolutely HAD to have someone else watch DD1 (it was before DD2). It was a nightmare and cemented my belief in no one but family. She (the sitter) was always taking her kids/my kid in the car to different places, and wouldn't clear it with me first. The last day when I went to pick her up (she watched her for 2 weeks), I heard voices in the back of the house and when around back. I found the sitter's DD (age: almost 2) playing in their unfenced back yard alone, and my DD came running out the back door to me. The sitter and her other 2 kids were in the front part of the house, or maybe upstairs. I went in looking for her, and she met me saying, "Oh, there they are. I wondered where they went." ANYONE could have come and taken those girls, or they could have gotten lost or hit on the road, and she wouldn't have known. Thankfully, that was the last day she had to be there, because I would NOT have taken her back.

In public, they have to stay within sight of me. Outside at our house, they also have to be within sight, but we don't have a fenced backyard, there is a small creek to one side of our property and we live in the country and the speed limit on our road is 55.

DH is worse about the staying clean thing. I have had to tell him numerous times to just let them be kids, and they come clean in the tub. He's better than he was.

As far as overnights, we would have to know the parents VERY well to even consider it. The kids would have to be old enough that I could trust them to call me if anything wasn't right. The main issue isn't that I don't trust my kids, it is that I don't trust other parents.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

Most of the playgrounds here Ronin needs help because they are just not designed for little kids, but I do still gon buy a coffee and let him go for it and only try to help when he is struggling or yells out Mummy hand

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Leigh & I were just talking about playground hovering the other day. We were at a playground that had a very tall upper platform (my short self could barely reach up to the floor) with open areas that toddlers could just fall out of. It made me incredibly nervous. She kept trying to step out onto this series of elevated steps that had a railing she couldn't quite grasp and I swear she was trying to give me a heart attack. T hasn't honed her playground skills yet (ie, knowing not to step off the 6 foot platform or to step out of the way of pre-K kids running towards her) so I hovered big time. That's just responsible parenting. I'll sit back and relax when I know T can handle it or when we're at a different playground that's toddler friendly. I also worked on encouraging her to go down the slides. She's got this fear of heights things going on right now and slides freak her out. I try to show her its OK and encourage her to do it herself but that sometimes means holding her hand and walking her up to the slide.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"TiggersMommy" wrote:

Leigh & I were just talking about playground hovering the other day. We were at a playground that had a very tall upper platform (my short self could barely reach up to the floor) with open areas that toddlers could just fall out of. It made me incredibly nervous. She kept trying to step out onto this series of elevated steps that had a railing she couldn't quite grasp and I swear she was trying to give me a heart attack. T hasn't honed her playground skills yet (ie, knowing not to step off the 6 foot platform or to step out of the way of pre-K kids running towards her) so I hovered big time. That's just responsible parenting. I'll sit back and relax when I know T can handle it or when we're at a different playground that's toddler friendly. I also worked on encouraging her to go down the slides. She's got this fear of heights things going on right now and slides freak her out. I try to show her its OK and encourage her to do it herself but that sometimes means holding her hand and walking her up to the slide.

Yeah, that was totally great parenting on your part, Erin. You were letting her TRY things while being near enough and paying enough attention to avert disaster (which was a real potential!) She was making me nervous too, dangling herself off the platform over those crazy open stairs. That wasn't hovering, that was keeping your child from certain destruction.

It's always just a trick of finding that delicate balance...letting them have a lesson learned moment here and there, but not a super dangerous one! Especially when you know them well enough to know they CAN'T quite handle it yet.

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

We were at soccer practice the other day. The teams are 4 & 5 year old girls. So they don't know what they're doing, and half the time they're goofing around not paying attention but they're learning. This one mom sits on right up on the sideline and barks directions and corrections at her kid constantly. Not over big things, but every little thing. I noticed at one point that the kid glances at her mom before she does anything. She doesn't even trust herself to follow the coach's directions without checking with mom first to make sure she's doing it right. That's helicopter parenting, to me.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"BuckeyeK" wrote:

We were at soccer practice the other day. The teams are 4 & 5 year old girls. So they don't know what they're doing, and half the time they're goofing around not paying attention but they're learning. This one mom sits on right up on the sideline and barks directions and corrections at her kid constantly. Not over big things, but every little thing. I noticed at one point that the kid glances at her mom before she does anything. She doesn't even trust herself to follow the coach's directions without checking with mom first to make sure she's doing it right. That's helicopter parenting, to me.

EXACTLY.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

"cactuswren" wrote:

EXACTLY.

Yep. That's classic helicopter parenting. I sure hope I don't end up like that. Though I'm more likely to be shouting things at Teagan while she's at school taking a math test Smile

Joined: 06/22/10
Posts: 5602

"cactuswren" wrote:

First of all, let me just say that I don't think keeping your kid from screaming and running around in a restaurant, or not letting them bolt in a parking lot or playgroup counts as "Helicopter Parenting"...that's just good, appropriate parenting in a society. Kids need boundaries or else they'll grow up to be hellions. Or get run over. That's just REALITY.
.

oh good, that is what makes me an 8 at people's houses Blum 3 we always go to people's houses that are not child friendly and there are drinks, cups, plates and food all within his reach.

Anna, that is HORRIBLE!! honestly, it's stuff like that that makes me terrified for him to be independent and on his own.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

"BuckeyeK" wrote:

DH is worse about the staying clean thing. I have had to tell him numerous times to just let them be kids, and they come clean in the tub. He's better than he was.

My husband is veeeery lax at home (how the kid got into sugar and spread it everywhere right in front of him!), but outside of the house? Total helicopter parent. Drives me nuts. Kid can't go down the slide without being right there holding a hand as he goes down. Aiden can totally sit down, get himself down the slide, and get off just fine. Even when he falls off the end he usually laughs about it. DH panics.

Cherrychip's picture
Joined: 01/31/09
Posts: 1134

I think I'm about a 3 or a 4. I like to keep an eye on her to make sure she is safe ,but I have no problem letting her do her own thing as long as she isn't in danger of hurting herself. I am pretty picky about who watches her-we had one babysitter for a while and now she goes to daycare-those are the only people who watch her besides me and dh since we don't have family close by. I don't think I would allow overnight visits until around 9-10 years old and I knew the family really well. It depends on the child, but I think a lot of children aren't ready for overnights before then anyway-I remember I tried to stay overnight at my cousins' house as a young child and got scared and insisted on going home, lol!