Recently, a blogger I admire wrote a compelling post on bullying at Parent Dish that was picked up by some mainstream media:
As someone who was horribly bullied in the 5th grade, I was intrigued. I mean, my parents did actually let me get bullied, but that was because they never knew it was happening.
I was too scared and ashamed to tell them. Locked and cornered in the bathroom. Thrown around the playground. Called terrible mean names.
I hated going to school. I hated my existence. Most of all, I hated those puny, ugly 6th grade bitches that made my life a living hell.
Looking back as a parent myself, it was obvious something was going on. But my dad was working all the time or drunk. And my mom was trying to hold the family together.
And how many times do our kids cry and say they don't want to go to school where we might just think that they're being silly, or lazy.
If you read Amy's piece (and please, do so!), you'll realize that the headline (perhaps added later by an editor - dare I cry "link bait!") isn't representative of how Amy feels about bullying.
I actually feel the same way as she does:
-I have strong leanings toward being a helicopter parent, but my desire to let my kids' life experience not be suffocated by my anxiety and worry is usually stronger;
-I believe that we should allow our kids to handle their differences themselves, and intervene appropriately when it escalates.;
- I agree that it's my job as a parent to arm my kid with the coping skills to deal with challenging situations that will inevitably arise.
But what I don't agree with is a title that I think is misleading and dangerous.
We're so quick to pile onto hovering mothers these days - those overprotective "mommies" that won't let our kids eat Oreo cookies or walk alone to the neighbor's house.
"What's so wrong with a conventional banana?!!!"
As a parent, I find myself caught between wanting to let my kids live life without my own fears interfering whatsoever with their experience and wanting to be with them every single second of the day.
Some days I lean more one way than the other. I hear the news. I read the paper.
Times have changed. That doesn't make me paranoid. Or anxious. Or a helicopter parent.
It makes me a realist.
When it comes to real bullying - not little tiffs or Kindergarten name calling or "nanny nanny boo boo" - I say hover.
Do whatever you need to protect your child.
Fortunately, I survived. I was taken out of school at the end of 5th grade, having failed history, barely passing all my other subjects.
I was down trodden. Wounded. And it took me a long long time to recover.
Sometimes it's okay to step in.
I'd rather look like a smacked ass, over protective helicopter parent than one with a kid who was emotionally and physically damaged.
Or even possibly dead.