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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting letter on the front page of the Free-Range Kids web site: Free Range Kids » Did Being a Helicopter Mom Doom My Marriage (and Kids)?

Dear Free-Range Kids: This is my first time saying anything on this website, but I’ve often heard about this blog from my coworker. In the beginning, I thought she was more or less nuts, despite there being some nuggets of wisdom she mentioned. I am recently divorced after nearly 30 years of marriage, and I can’t get the Free-Range philosophy out of my mind. Am I saying Free-Range Kid-raising would have saved my marriage? I don’t think anything is that simple. And yet, if some things had been done differently, who knows?

I was pretty much the classic helicopter mom and I was proud of it. I think it drove my ex-husband nuts, but I was the mom at home and he wasn’t. Besides, what’s wrong with taking good care of kids? My kids went nowhere without me, or at least my complete approval. I made sure they were entertained. When things in school went badly, I intervened. When drama came up with friends, I was there representing my kids’ cases. I made sure all of my kids’ needs were met and as many reasonable wants as I could supply. If they called, I came running. Because that is what a good mom did. Did my husband get shoved to the background occasionally? Probably more often than I realized. But, hey, that was part of parenting.

I still have two minor kids at home and five I wish I could say were on their own. I figured if they made it to 18 and left the house, my job was done. It didn’t happen that way. My adult children were still calling me. At first, it seemed normal, all those little things you forget about as you make your way into the world. Hah. I can’t call it normal anymore. The more I heard myself saying, “Can’t you figure it out on your own?” the more it seemed something was out of place. I mentioned the two minor children at home? I have them, plus two adults with their significant others and their children. No jobs, no clue. Yes, we are working (with a counselor) to remedy this living situation, but out of the children I have, only one is what you call independent. I never intended my family to turn out this way. Maybe I can’t be blamed for all their choices, but now that I look back I wonder that if I had let them fall on their butts a few more times they might have learned a few more lessons.

I recently threatened my teenage son with the typical “I won’t be there to fix it for you” remark. When I mentioned the conversation to one of my daughters, she said “Oh, Mom, of course you will.” That was a blow, but a fair one. Habits are hard to break.

And then there is the subject of my ex-husband. I think he saw it coming. We had fights, huge arguments about the children, with him specifically saying I needed to step back, especially when they were adults, and let them make their own mistakes. He hated having adult children and their families living in our home.

I don’t want to place the typical nuclear family up on a pedestal and say it’s the best one for everyone, but I’m beginning to wonder if this focus on being “the best parent” isn’t a bad idea. My ex and I were supposed to be PARTNERS. It should not have been about him simply being about an accessory to be used occasionally in the child-rearing department. I married him because we were in love and we seemed a good fit. Not to have kids, but to be companions to each other. Ideally, most of my kids should have been out the door years ago. Isn’t that the idea? Marry, raise a few kids, send them off to live their own lives, and continue being married?

Divorce happens. I’m not championing staying together “just because.” But we should be entering marriage with more focus on our partners, not any potential children. Instead of spending so much time worrying about my children, taking care of my children, I should have been giving my relationship with my husband a little more attention.

By all means, we should love our children. By all means, we should take care of them. But we should be viewing the family as a whole.

Was my divorce the right thing? It’s complicated, there is so much more to it than just kids, and in light of everything it was the best choice. But I have to wonder, if I had let my kids be kids and let myself be a wife, maybe things could have been a little different. – Kristina\
 

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Ooooh helicopter parents!

My mom worked at a junior college...she said parents would call about their "childrens'" grades. These people were 18+ and my mom couldn't give out information. But these parents would throw fits!

:eek:

omg. Shameful. If your kid is in college, and not doing what they should do, then stop footin' the bill. Geebus.

but I'm sure it started at birth...hover hover. I see these parents a the playground....standing 3 feet away from kids 4 and older..."watch out!" "Not too high!" "Be careful!" "don't do that!" "come down!"

Holy crap. these kids don't know their own bodily boundaries or anything! They don't learn to think or rely on their own thoughts and what they can and can't do.

I go to the park and sit under a tree and watch my kid play. If she falls (rare), we kiss the boo boo and she goes back to play.

Helicopter parents probably do hinder children's growth in many ways, not sure about the marriage....although if my spouse was a helicopter, and I wasn't, there would be many discussions and that gets exhausting.

(sorry for typos)
 
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The best advice I had as a new parent was a reminder that I wasn't trying to raise perfect kids, I was trying to raise future adults.

The process was tough, introducing additional privileges with additional responsibilities. Consequences for behavior (good and bad) along the way definitely helped them begin to understand what was expected.

We were also careful not to 'give' too much. If everything is handed to you and not earned, what value does it have? We bought a used car for my oldest but SHE had to pay the registration, insurance, gas, upkeep. She also was expected to help on occasion with picking up her sister.

I can't imagine calling the University to ask for my daughter's grades. How embarrassing! I won't even offer my advice on an issue unless they're comfortable with me doing so. They're 19 and 21 for crying out loud. When I was their ages, I was a parent and on my own.
 

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YES! I think of my kids as just future adults. They are not MY children...I don't own them. But it is my job to make sure they grow into productive and compassionate and intelligent human beings....with a ton of fun along the way ;)
 

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Based on my experience in being a teacher, I've seen parents who are over protective and those that find it hard to let go of their children. Mothers love their children to a great extent that they want to mold them to be as perfect as possible and they never allow them to make mistakes and learn from these mistakes. They forget that they can never be around all the time. You are a good mother and want the best for your children. It's time to talk to your older children and let them have a life so you can also focus on your own life.
 

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When my kid is 15, I expect her to NOT tell me everything. Holy wow. She's a good kid. Trust is huge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of course these questions come from the mom that does not think her 15 yr old son can effectively take a $20 bill to the athletic team admin, she must do it for him. :slap:
Wow... unless the kid had a drug problem and/or a history of stealing money, that was overkill.

The worst kind of helicopter parents are the ones who don't let their children go anywhere. I have seen parents drive their kids just down the block to the bus stop and wait in their car until the bus comes. Meanwhile, they wonder why kids are so freaking obese today. When I was a child, we didn't even know any fat kids, and in the Summer we would sometimes be outside all day long! We rode our bicycles everywhere. But in my own neighborhood today, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually seen kids on bikes (other than mine).
 

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Yeah, this was my mom.

My siblings never got away from this, they ALWAYS talked to her. They shared every intimate, personal detail with her. They are both successful career wise, but I would say are a bit emotionally / relationally stunted because of it.

I did a 180 the moment I left for college. I resented the hovering big time, and I never did share much personal with her. I certainly didn't share about my marriage. My mom 'knew everyone' and would snoop. She'd also gloat about the snooping. So when I moved 110 miles away at a college with 24,000 students, I loved the anonymity.

Around the time I was getting married, my brother was going through a divorce. Both he and my soon to be ex sis-inlaw were treating my mom as their MC. It blew me away, and I told my wife that if the *EVER* confided personal / relational information about us to her I'd be GONE. The look was priceless, a huge NO WAY since she didn't get along with my mom.
 

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I believe helicopter parenting can be equally damaging to both mother and child...

"Parenthood is supposed to be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. But mothers whose lives revolve around their children may be more likely to suffer from depression, according to a study.

American researchers questioned 181 women with children under five and found ‘intensive mothering’ damaged their mental health.

The trend for mothers in particular to be extremely involved in their child’s every experience is known as ‘helicopter parenting’, with psychologists saying it leaves children fragile and unable to cope with life’s experiences." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2169769/Parents-lives-revolve-children-damage-health.html
 
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This is why SO MANY young people have NO common sense.

They've never had to think for themselves.

I love my kids and this life but I look forward to the day when I see them grown and say, "You're a responsible adult and I love you....now move out." ;)
 
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Yea. I don't check homework. She gets As and Bs.

I let her go with friends to the mall. She's 13. She has a phone.

I let her fail and make choices that I KNOW will suck...but that's how she LEARNS.

My mom somewhat hovered...not to the extreme but she made decisions for me when I was younger that was like "wtf". But she's a control freak.

I let my kids know that life is about choices and consequences/rewards. Just be smart and sometimes the consequence is worth it (ike when I snuck out and made out with this boy when I was 16)...hahaha TOTALLY worth the 3 weeks of 'grounding'.
 

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LOL - we kept telling them that we were buying them luggage as an 18th bday gift!!!

The only time we hovered on homework was when our oldest started getting C and D's for missing assignments. She realized how much more she enjoyed her freedom and privileges and quickly brought those grades up!!!
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Well, yea, if my kid doesn't hold up her end of the bargain, then I have to hone in. lol. She hates it. I get all up in her biznes.
 

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It's funny, isn't it? Because they've learned to value all that freedom, the loss of it (or threat of loss) yields fast results!
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