And By the Way, If You Qualify as a ”Helicopter Mom,”
You Might Not Want to Read Any Further Because Poopie Ain’t Sugar-Coatin’ Shit.
Poops! I gotta tell you, this topic couldn’t wait to be addressed! I’ve read so many articles and blogs on this lately that sooner or later I would’ve gotten to the subject, but my own personal experience recently with one of these moms has now made this something I must discuss. As you know, I keeps it seriously realzzz, and today is definitely no exception.
First of all, let’s examine what the general definition of a ”helicopter mom” is. According to Wikipedia, they are: “parents who pay extremely close attention to their child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. This 21st century colloquialism grew as more and more parents, particularly moms, began “hovering” so closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children needed them or not. It is also known as ”overparenting syndrome” (yes, a freakin syndrome—I would actually call it a tragic epidemic) whereby parents try to solve all of their children’s problems for them. According to some college professors and administrators, these parents are actually morphing into a new sub-group of even more exteme hoverers called “Lawnmower parents,” named so because these moms and dads attempt to smooth-out and mow-down every single obstacle in their children’s way.
Are you nauseous yet? Well, Poops here thinks you should be. Smooth-out every obstacle? WTF? Hello! It’s the obstacles and challenges in our lives that teach us the most valuable lessons and builds the most character. Not to mention it also provides us with self-reliance, confidence, emotional coping mechanisms and social and psychological intelligence. Look, I’m no shrink okay, I’m just a Mommy Blogger who is putting her opinions out there for better or worse. But since the name on this particular blog says “Poopie,” then I”m entitled to say what I feel. And what I feel for these helicopter/lawnmowing a-holes is that they are ruining their children’s lives and interfering way too much in the classroom, on the field, in the dance studio, on the playground, even in someone else’s home on a playdate. No joke. It’s that bad out there. How in the world are our kids supposed to learn how to deal with their own problems in life if Mommy and Daddy are hovering right above them at every single step of the way navigating the uncharted waters for them? How in the world could a parent perceive this approach as healthy? I just don’t get it. And I never realized how insanely early this phenomenon started until I recently had my own experience with one.
I don’t need to dive too deep into the story, but let’s just say that a mom called the school about one of my children, claiming she said something inappropriate to another student. It never once occurred to me that this didn’t take place. Kids say inappropriate shit all the time. But, I have learned never ever trust what comes out of a four or five year-old’s mouth, as they tend to embellish, get confused and sometimes just make things up altogether (like 2 years ago when one of my girls said a boy at school was being mean to her that day and then I called the school to get to the bottom of it and found out he wasn’t even in attendance that day!) Lesson learned. Valuable lesson learned. There are ALWAYS two sides to every story and before you jump to conclusions and start freaking out and “hovering” all over a situation, you should find out precisely what took place. And this, of course, was what I did, once the incident was brought to my attention. I pulled the teacher aside a few weeks ago and calmly inquired about what she saw or heard. Apparently, Helicopter Mom (that’s what I’m calling her) took her kid’s word for the only version of things and called the school freaking out about what my daughter said to her child. I know better than to do this, as I’ve made myself look like an a-hole plenty of times after the truth is finally revealed and my kids’ version of the story wasn’t the same as reality.
So, anyway, the teacher recounts the story. My daughter wanted to play with a few girls and those girls were nasty to her telling her that she couldn’t play with them and told her to go play with the boys (it’s sick how early these cliques are formed!) In fact, Helicopter Mom’s child was the one who said she didn’t want to play with my daughter and was rude and exclusionary. So what did my daughter do in reaction to having her feelings hurt? She told the girl her hair smelled. I said to the teacher, “was that it? That was what the big fuss was all about?” Ok, got it. Well, I said to the teacher, “that certainly isn’t nice and she knows better than to be mean like that and I will definitely speak with her about her behavior. She was probably really hurt and sad about being left out and it was just a knee-jerk reaction.” And do you know what that teacher said to me? She told me that she thought that even though it wasn’t a nice thing to say, she thought it was fantastic that my daughter had enough self-esteem and self-worth to stand up for herself and say something in response to how she was being treated. Meaning, of course it’s not okay to insult someone as she did, but the teacher went out of her way to tell me that it’s wonderful that my daughter didn’t cry or run and tattle to a teacher. She handled the problem herself – maybe not in the optimal way, but she didn’t let those girls get her down. She dished it back a little, and though it wasn’t nice, the teacher said this is something to be proud of at her age, as time and again she sees these things happening at school and a lot of kids just run to the teacher in tears. I guarantee you that Helicopter Mom’s kid did just that when she got home. Hence, the whole situation being blown significantly out of proportion. My god…they are 5 years-old! Kids act mean sometimes. Kids say mean things sometimes. THEY ARE KIDS. And yes, sometimes it’s even your own kid saying or doing the mean things. And yes, sometimes they are the victim too.
Either way, if you hover and hover and try to smooth our every single wrinkle in their lives, how in the world will they know how to stand on their own two feet and handle anything for themselves? I am so grateful that the teacher took the time to reassure me that my daughter’s response was not only normal but also the healthier reaction. Of course I don’t condone saying hurtful things to people, but she was hurt and she responded in kind. I am proud that she had the self-worth to say something back to make herself feel better. I don’t want to raise a cry-baby who can’t learn to cope on her own when they going gets tough. Because you know what? It will get tough. It will get harder and she will get her feelings hurt again and again. It is the nature of children and, unfortunately, often the nature of girls. I remember. It can be brutal for girls at school sometimes. But thank god my mom wasn’t up at school ”lawn-mowing” me out of every situation. I would never be the strong, independent and confident woman I am today if she had.
I feel sorry for the kids being raised in these helicopter homes. Their parents are stealing authentic, self-developed confidence right out from under them and instilling them with a false sense of how the world works and how they should operate in it. We absolutely can not protect our kids from all the dangers out there in the world. We absolutely can not swoop in and hover over every situation that upsets them or hurts them or causes them challenges. Of course we can lend a hand when it’s necessary and of course we should be there to provide steady guidance and open arms, but we should never solve all their problems for them, as they will in turn, then never be able to solve anything for themselves. Below is an article that a lot of moms posted on FB a few days ago that ran on HuffPost. It is brilliant and I hope you’ll take the time to read it, as it addresses this very same concern.
Ok, Poopies, I’ve said my peace. Agree? Disagree? It’s all good. Put it out there and let’s get it on! By the way, it’s Wednesday and I have not gone to the grocery store. We’re running low on milk, but I’ll just have to improvise. Hope you’re all partaking in the challenge too. I haven’t heard from any of you! Check-in with me Poopies!Oh, and sign-up to follow me on Twitter. The PoopieTweets are going live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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