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August 13, 2012


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I'm sure you're right. When I think about my behavior when I had one small immobile baby, I wonder what the hell my problem was.

Amen, sistah. I have four kids and cannot believe how differently I parent my youngest compared to the oldest.

I let the 2 year-old walk around with Crayons. Sure, they're washable, but still. That shit never would've happened with the first.

Oh gosh. I'm a teacher with a ten-month old baby at home. I am glad that I have a kid so I can finally have some frame of reference for helicoptering parents, but I am the one who lets the kid fall on his face, eat dirt, and cry for a while before I rush to him. Thanks for sharing.


I admit I have helicopter tendencies, but I own up to them - it's by choice. I had a child late in life, I work full time, I have few precious hours a day with my boy, so you betchya I will do all I can to make the most of it.

One time, after asking my pediatrician about some strange spots on my boy's teeth, she asked me - what if you had 8 children, would you worry so much? My (mental) response was- that's why I don't have 8...but never mind....fast forward 1 year of me "letting go" and now I am looking at hundreds of $$$ of dentist fees. My hunch that the spots on the teeth were problematic was actually right. His front teeth are decaying, one dentist suggested crown under general anesthesia for a baby tooth...painted pictures of boy in pain with swollen face, or tooth pulled prematurely leading to a lisp and life-long pain of teasing. I am now on dentist #3, and convinced that, had I helicoptered, we could have nipped this in the bud.

I also tried to sleep train the way mother and mother-in-law suggested (so the child becomes independent at 5 months, you see), and drove myself to the brink of death. If child only sleeps in parents' bed, so be it, I don't care. I can't go through a full day of teaching on my feet with 2 non-consecutive hours of sleep, just so I don't over parent and make my child dependent. And yes, I pay attention at the playground, because after a solid head plop on a wet tile floor my boy had strange behavior changes and insisted (by screaming relentlessly) on sleeping outside in the yard for 2 weeks. Every bump, bruise, or fever makes my day impossible to go through. It's a very difficult balancing act to arrange for a doctor's visit during a teaching week, so I better keep him healthy.

First time parents learn a lot very quickly, but what I have learned is that overparenting some aspects of my boy's life is necessary. I also learned about what things I can let go - such as unstructured and largely unsupervised playtime, choice of food, clothes, etc.

I am a single mother of one with a full-time insurance job. I can't remember once when I ever did something as glamorous as cutting food into pretty shapes. Sigh...

Very Nice Post. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for sharing that link, Karen -- it's an awesome piece.

And welcome, momofone!

Thanks for sharing, Randi. I try to remember that as I know so many mamas aren't moms of one or even two by their own choice.

I remember when my sister and I took our firstborn-onlys, toddlers at the time, to the playground and grumbled when older kids scaled the equipment and knocked into our kids. "Where are their *parents?!*" we would ask. We CHORTLE at ourselves now when we go to a playground and we are trying to make sure the littles don't break their necks, while we occasionally look for the bigs to remind them not to scale the equipment and knock into babies. Because, ahhhh, yeah.

There is something to be said for fostering independence and resiliance and I believe that some of it is personality and some of it is circumstance but part of it can be choice, too. Interesting discussion, though.

Not to be all guilt trippy, but some of us wish we could have more than one, but can't. I may seem a bit over-protective, I may have time to be, but it's all I know. I adore my kid and am so blessed to have her. But I really wish I could grant her some siblings. Just some food for thought.

I love your blog. I recently came across it, and love your sacastic, witty take on parenting and just chichood in general. Thanks for posting as often as you do!
I am a single (with a coparent) mama of just one (and will stay only one) and loved this post on helicopter parents. Although it is not my style to heliparent, I am able to give more attention to my one for sure. But I giggle when I see parents over analyzing, and typically over materializing, every event. So much crap to carry around if you parent this way! As long as I leave the house with my mom bag equipped with a granola bar, a little sun block, and an extra pair of kiddo undies (toddler), we are set for anything.

Keep up the great posts!

Since the NYT published the op-ed piece last week about this (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/raising-successful-children.html?smid=fb-share)

I have been thinking about this, and actually wrote about it today. I have a child who is not typical....born with an unusual birth defect, five surgeries, partially deaf, and this helicoptering is something I battle in my mind daily. The line is SO THIN when you have to stand in front of your kid and yell at people sometimes. It's my parenting purgatory, I guess.

I have helicopter parenting tendencies. That being said, I DO think there is a difference when you have more than one or two children. My mother points that out to me (she had three of us) when I am dealing with just my two kids. Personally, the wounds from being a middle child are still deep, and I chose NOT to have any more children based on that. Otherwise, I would have had to have four children (you know, to make it even) and my vagina was not up for the task.

I've been thinking about this subject a lot. I would have disagreed when I only had one kid that I was a helicopter parent...lol. However, when I had two I thought, wow, I was such a helicopter parent. And you are right, it was only because I had more time to focus on the details of raising one kid. In other words I had more time to worry and fret over what I might or might not have been doing wrong. With two, I have let so many things slide it isn't even funny. Sigh...I can't imagine how it would be with more kids:)

I think that children benefit from having parents who clearly say that the child is important to them and often having the tine to make their sandwiches into pretty shapes conveys that message. However a problem that some children have is thinking that the world revolves around them. Having too much attention from the adults in their world can lead to this misconception. In the past when the average family size was 3 1/2 children, parents had less time to spend on attending to every detail in the child's life and they learned that they were not the epicenter of the universe. They learned that other people's needs might even supercede theirs. My biggest concern about children today is their sense of entitlement and lack of empathy for others. Perhaps having to share parental attention with siblings is one way to counteract this. JMO

I don't find it helpful to "categorize" moms whether you have 1 or 10 kids. Perhaps we do that b/c in some odd way we need to validate our own parenting & so we find ways to "judge" others. Instead of judging & labeling how others parent even if that in some ways makes us "feel better" about what we do or do not do, let's look at ways of supporting each other. We have a lot of people judging us as moms, let's not do it as a mom community.

I've been thinking about this lately too.

Not so much for the helicoptering angle - though whenever Tacy gets whiny about how she has to share our attention, we launch into stories making fun of ourselves for how we hovered over her - but for the sheer inability to do as much for multiple kids as we could do for one.

I don't worry about whether my kids are the only ones without lunch punched sandwiches or trendy sneakers. But I do feel bad that I can't take them on cool vacations or give them an edge in sports with private lessons. Heck, I feel bad that we had to leave NYC out of sheer financial necessity.

I realize too, that my feelings are more a reaction to what others do (and the implicit expectation, real or perceived, that I ought to do the same). I'm working on that, being satisfied with the trade-offs we've made.

I totally agree, @Mom101 + @JodiFur that there are people that have one kid and don't have any helicopter tendencies. Totally don't want to generalize.

But I bet there are parents of one, even parents of two kids, that feel compelled to do certain things, not because they have to but because they can. It's not just the over anxious stuff, it's the daily stuff that might bog them down.

On another note, why am I ALL OF A SUDDEN, getting captcha when I comment here?

I don't know about this. I think some of it is personality. I have one kid. And I am, and always have been, one of the least helicoptery parent I know. I can be helicoptery about SOME things (like issues at school), but others, HELL NO. I have always had babysitters and date nights and I have no issues with leaving my kid in disney cruise camp or whatever.

I would not have obsessed over they way the wind was facing while the child napped in the stroller. Then again my kid never napped in a stroller. Sometimes I hate generalizations based on how many kids someone has because I don't think they are ever always true.

I think there's a really interesting observation that people who might otherwise helicopter, can't, when they have more kids. But I know plenty of parents who don't have the tendency to do it at all. Or maybe they outgrow it faster than others.

I'm really worried about a friend of a baby who's reluctant to put him down, walk away, hand him over for even ten minutes. He's going on a year soon.

Actually I'm less worried about the baby and more worried about her.

I'm in total agreement. I should totally spend a weekend with my friend who has four kids under the age of 5 and chill out. Mine are 10 and almost 4 and I want to have one more. Not only can I helicopter individually as the oldest is pretty self-sufficient but she gets in on the helicoptering as many older sisters do...

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