I Am a Helicopter Mom – Help Me Stop!

Labels.  We have labels everywhere.  I am ‘ok’ with labels, not too bothered by them.  I wear some very loudly and proudly.  Except the one that hovers over me, literally hovers, as I hover over my now four-year old.

I am a helicopter mom.  I never planned to be a helicopter mom, but here I am. 

Helicopter parenting refers to “a style of parents who are over focused on their children,” says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D.

They say that the term helicopter mom (parent) is usually used with high school and college age children.  However, I am referring to the hovering I do over my child – the constant fear I have ingrained in myself that she will hurt herself.

I hover in the hopes of preventing this.  I know it’s bad, I know I shouldn’t, but here I am – hovering away!

I don’t plan on staying this way; in fact I work on being less of a helicopter, every day.  As I force myself to let go more, I am made painfully aware of just how difficult this is.

Recently my wife took our daughter to the park.  I received these photos while they were out on their adventure.

I Am a Helicopter Mom - Help Me Stop! | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Que **heart sinking, panic, anxiety** and I wasn’t even there to see it.  Although I almost RAN to the park to save my daughter from the imminent threat to her well being, I was able to control myself, with a simple response to my wife that I hoped she was close by, should something go awry.

I know my wife laughed at my response, but I also know she expects it from me at this point.

I don’t know how to let her fall. I know she needs to fall and I know she needs to get back up again.  I know she always gets back up again and we’ve started a ‘shake it off’ mantra so the not-so-serious falls, bumps and scrapes don’t evolve into full on four-year old meltdown madness.

I hope no one reading this was hoping for a fail proof solution to letting go of those helicopter propellers we wrap around our kids because I sure don’t know.  I am looking for the mamas out there, there has to be more of us who are just a touch too protective of our kids.

I Am a Helicopter Mom - Help Me Stop! | Twin Cities Moms Blog

I can’t be the only one closely following her as she runs on the sidewalk reminding her to be careful and go slowly.  I try my hardest to keep those ‘running feet’ for use on carpet and other similar soft surfaces.

I know a part of this stems from my own level of being accident prone.  I swear I was born with the ability to trip and fall on flat surfaces (sometimes I don’t even have to be walking for this to happen) and I occasionally see some of that coming out in Gradie.  Granted some of it is probably just because she is four and learning how to coordinate her feet with her legs.

I don’t doubt that my unnecessary hovering is holding my child back.  Not like she’s missing milestones or that I keep her wrapped in bubble wrap or anything.  However, I know if I encouraged a more adventure seeking attitude that she’d be climbing more and challenging herself more. 

What ways have worked to help you ‘let go’ a little more?  I have had people tell me that if we are blessed with child #2 I won’t be as protective, but I honestly don’t know if that’ll happen for me. 

I Am a Helicopter Mom - Help Me Stop! | Twin Cities Moms Blog

4 Responses to I Am a Helicopter Mom – Help Me Stop!

  1. Amanda August 8, 2017 at 10:09 AM #

    Hi Debbie,

    Thank you for sharing this post with us. Having a reoccurring fear that your child will hurt themselves is totally natural. As your daughter ages, it will also get easier. I think you are doing the right thing by taking small steps to give her more and more independence each day.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Tracey Nagel August 8, 2017 at 10:59 AM #

    Great article. And i completely understand where you come from. I am a helicopter auntie. Especially when it comes to Gradie. I panicked when she got hurt on the slide the other day. But she assured me that she came down the slide so fast that she donked her friend but she was ok. And off to the jumpy castle we went. It’s hard to step back because you dont want kids to get hurt yet we know its part of them growing up.

  3. Amanda August 8, 2017 at 12:27 PM #

    There was a line in a parenting book that I read which my husband and I repeat often. It is “let them climb trees”. This is meant as letting them get hurt sometimes, they need to figure out where their own stress lies. Stepping away actually helps with their development. I need to remind myself of it still, but it has helped me let go more.

  4. Christian Kingsbury August 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM #

    Loved the article. Keep it up!

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