(Originally Posted on the Geek Girl Mommie blog)
When I got pregnant with Little Lass, my sense of awareness totally changed. I never once saw a pregnant woman when I traveled to and from work before, but I swear the day after the confirmation they were absolutely every where I turned. Like some sort of weird memo had gone out that I had joined their ranks and so was allowed to notice them.
Along the same lines before I became a mother I was only vaguely aware of the different parenting styles that are out there. And by “vaguely aware” I mean that I was very aware when I came across children that I couldn’t stand, but less aware of the good kids.
Now that Little Lass has become mobile a brand of parent has surfaced and they scare the living crud out of me. They are the over protective parents, or as they have been coined these days… the Helicopter Parents.
These are the parents that hover over their children no matter where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with. They watch what their children do with keen eyes and kind of bounce on the balls of their feet just waiting to jump in and take care of anything that may get in their childs way or to tend to any need the child may have (both real and imagined). They hover around the edge of the room, playground, table, etc and watch the situation from every angle. It’s very unnerving… I haven’t caught any one of them that I’ve met blinking when they’re “on duty” yet. These parents scare me for many different reasons.
I worry for their children. Our job as parents is to raise strong, self-sufficient, and well balanced children who will one day, hopefully, carry all that through to adulthood. We parents are in it to raise good people. In the end that’s all we want, just to know that our kids will be decent people. Preferably better than we are now as adults. But I worry that these poor children are getting the message that taking chances is too dangerous a thing to do, that getting hurt is something they can’t recover from, and that putting yourself out there is not okay. I’m afraid of them becoming afraid and putting themselves into a bubble.
I worry for the parents. I truly do. These parents love their children, there’s no doubt. But there is such a thing as loving your child so much that you actually hinder them. They’ve started this downward spiral where they’re so afraid of their child getting hurt physically or emotionally that they’ll do anything to stop it. It’s a spiral for them too however. They’ve put this stress on themselves to be the saviour and the protector and they haven’t figured out when and how to let go. They run the risk of driving a wedge between themselves and their children some day and that saddens me.
I worry for myself. I have always told myself that I wouldn’t be overly protective. Protective yes… I’ll push a child out of my childs way to make things easier on her no. But just recently I realized I could quite easily become a Helicopter Parent if I don’t keep a rein on myself. Just a couple of weeks ago I was watching Little Lass play with the other babies at Baby Story Time and another little girl toddled up to where she was playing and grabbed the ball out of my daughters hands. Little Lass looked confused and uncertain of exactly what had just happened and I had the urge to march on over and grab the the ball back. I actually had to take a deep breath to keep myself seated and reminded myself that these children were under 2 years old and this was how they were going to learn to be social. Which is when Little Lass reached up and grabbed the ball right back, and a game of grab back and forth began. I smiled at the other little girls mother in a conspiring way, but in a that split second I understood where that line could be crossed and never re-crossed again and it amazed me how easy it could be.
We walk a fine line every day we parents. Protect but not hinder. Aid them but not always do for them. Teach them but don’t think for them. Believe in them but help them accept their failures.
Remind me why more of us aren’t alcoholics?