Do You Know the Definition?

Last week I interviewed several college students asking them the following question…”Can you define the term Helicopter Mom?” Surprisingly, not one of the college students knew the definition.  Although, some of the students admitted their moms were Helicopter Moms or had friends whose parents were overbearing and overprotective – but they’d never heard of the term.  I interviewed girls between the ages of 18 and 31.

Next week I plan to interview male college students to get their perspective of Helicopter Moms.  To see recent interviews, click on our “Videos” page.

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Helicoptermamma Interviews Two College Girls

To see more video-taped interviews, click on the “Videos” page.

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Reformed Helicopter Mom?

Yoga

Natalie – Are You Serious…Yoga?

I received an email from a woman named Natalie of Arlington, Virginia who claims she’s a “reformed” Helicopter Mom.  I wondered, How can one reform once she is categorized as over-obsessive, overbearing, overprotective, super controlling and just plan evil? Natalie claims she used to be just like me.  How sweet.

Natalie said she has a son Scott – her only child and when Scott went off to college, she nearly lost her mind.  No Kidding????  Natalie went on to say, “I was able to deal with him growing up, getting married and moving to California by doing yoga”.  You don’t say?

Yoga?  I really don’t know if yoga can reform folks like me, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

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Behaviour Therapy

helicopter propellers

Hovercraft

So now I’m seeing a therapist who sits in her chair and listens to me for an hour.  Last week during my second therapy session, I asked the question… “Why do I need behavior therapy?”  Therapist’s response, “Because we need to focus on your behavior.  Not the thoughts or feelings that cause the behavior”.

Boy, did that make any sense to you?  Surely makes no sense to me.  Why not first study my thoughts and feelings, because obviously it’s these thoughts and feelings that are causing me to be a hovering, overbearing and overprotective Mommy.  It’s these thoughts and feelings that make me worry about my son every waking moment.

I sit there and spill my guts out to this woman.  Pay her an exorbitant fee, and then leave her office wondering what the heck just happened?  How many more sessions before we get to the root of this “Helicopter Mom” thing?

I started thinking maybe I am so overprotective because my father died when I was just thirteen.  I grew up without a father and a mother who worked night and day to provide for myself and my siblings.  Or maybe it’s because my mother remarried, had more children and my siblings and I don’t all have the same father?  I’m not sure, but I hope we can get to the root of it all very soon.  This stuff costs way too much money.  But, it was something I had to do, because I have to find a way to function when my son leaves for college next year.  Trying to keep him home with me or following him off to New York – will only hinder his growth and I don’t want to do that – but sometimes my propeller switch stays in the ON position.

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Hovering Creates Rotten Teens

Still Hovering?

I honestly don’t believe that hovering creates rotten teens. I think the teen was born rotten to begin with or was possibly influenced by friends at school or in their neighborhood. Nobody can make a child good or evil; the kid is just innately bad or innately good. If someone is rotten to the core, then the core needs work before you can see light shining from that individual.

My stepson had a run-in with the law last year. My husband blamed himself over and over for his son getting in trouble. I told my husband that we as parents cannot control the actions of our children. We can only pray they make the right decisions and hope they learn from the examples we set for them. Being a Helicopter Mom does not make me a bad person. It means that I care deeply for my son. I want him to be happy, so happy that sometimes I wish I could control every aspect of his life. That’s not a good thing, but it’s better than being an “uninvolved parent”. I guess too much or too little of anything isn’t good. But, I firmly believe that if a child sees his or her parents doing good and noble deeds, then he too will follow their lead. However, if he or she still behaves badly; then they are innately bad to the core.

Bad behavior results in negative outcomes. Once they get enough negative outcomes, maybe they will begin to do positive things. All we can do is pray and lead by example. That helps too!

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Are Your Kids Driving You to Drink?

I have never been much of a drinker. However, at weddings and parties I may sample the house wine and sip one or two glasses, but that’s it. But, have you ever attended a party or an event and watched the ladies drink like they were sailors? I have – actually I was just at an event recently where the woman sitting next to me drank until she was completely inebriated and couldn’t even drive herself home. I listened to her as she belted down each drink and she was extremely upset with her daughter. Her daughter had recently “unfriended” her on Facebook. This apparently didn’t go over to well with the woman sitting next to me, by the name of Sandra.

Sandra was really pissed off at her daughter for no longer wanting to be her “friend” on Facebook and no longer speaking with her. Sandra said, “It’s been three weeks since that Bitch has called me. Three long weeks and I will not call her until she picks up the phone and apologizes to me!” So, I asked, “Why should she apologize to you?” Sandra said, “…because I carried that little witch for nine months and all because I said one mean thing about her boyfriend, she stops talking to me? I can’t believe this crap.” So, I said, “Why don’t you give her time to cool off and wait until you hear from her? She will eventually come around.” By this time, Sandra was so drunk that she started repeating the “B” word over and over. I told her, “It doesn’t make any sense to stay angry at your daughter. You are giving her boyfriend exactly what he wants. If your daughter is aware that you have issues with her current boyfriend, then voice those issues – but NOT on Facebook. You need to tell her privately how you feel. Give her a chance to digest your feelings and understand your point of view. But don’t ever call your daughter out on Facebook. That was a bad move.

I think as drunk as the lady was, she heard me loud and clear, but a friend of hers ushered her outside and drove her home. So, I am hoping she deletes the nasty Facebook messages and talks one-on-one with her daughter. Give your kids the same respect you’d like them to give back to you. It’s embarrassing to have your mother post something nasty about your boyfriend on Facebook. I think that’s what ticked her daughter off. But, there is always a “cooling off period” and after that blows over her daughter will call her and hopefully they can talk like adults, without using Facebook to get their message across.

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Beware of Mom

Jennifer admits she’s constantly hovering over her three children, especially her 17-year-old daughter Kim. She admits to calling Kim’s cell phone multiple times a day and following her to her friends’ houses, the mall and even cheer-leading practice.

Could Jennifer’s hovering ruin her relationship with Kim? Jennifer should probably not follow Kim to cheer-leading practice. The mall is OK, because they can go their own separate ways and shop in different stores. Malls are large and nobody has to know Jennifer is in Macy’s shopping, while Kim’s shopping at Forever 21.

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Helicopter Moms Get a Bad Rap

Why is it that being a good mother, makes you a bad parent? There could be worse things in life, than having a hovering mother, you know? Like a mother who neglects her children. What’s worse, or better yet – what causes more damage to children?

So many negative things have been said about Helicopter Moms, like:

• You are not a helicopter parent if your kid is not in a zillion extra-curriculars
• Helicoptering is a natural outcome of our increasingly competitive society
• If you are not that materialistic, you can’t be a helicopter parent
• Helicopter parenting is about too much presence
• Sacrificing your own life for your children is a good or noble thing
• Helicopter parents are bad or pathetic people with deranged values

I keep asking myself, why so many mothers, who simply want to protect their children keep getting such a bad rap? As a Helicopter Mom, I love my son and all I want for him is the best. I want to see him happy, successful and accomplished. However, I am not steering him one way or the other. I am not selecting his profession for him or following up on his job offers. I did in the past, but have slowed down in those areas. I am trying to get better and allow him to grow up and become more independent.

But, let’s stop bashing Helicopter Moms. We are here to protect, nurture, offer guidance and love to our children. We feel it’s our duty to help them grow and lead them in the right direction. So, please stop giving us such a bad name. We love our children and they love us back. Maybe sometimes we get a little too involved, or too overbearing but it’s all out of love.

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Teens Who Want to Divorce Their Helicopter Moms

I was reading an article today about an 18-year-old young girl, who lives at home with her parents. She views her mother as controlling and a bit too much at times. She has a boyfriend that she is madly in love with, but her mother totally disapproves of the guy. According to the teen, her mother wants to control when and where she sees her boyfriend and even impose a curfew. Her mom sets unrealistic house rules and even blurts out things like, “…you are never to move in with him until you are married”.

The problem here is that the 18-year-old wants to be treated like an adult but won’t be – until she starts acting like one. In today’s society, adulthood comes with more than just a number. Yes, she is 18 and in the state of Ohio she is recognized as an adult, but unfortunately she is a “dependent adult” whom depends solely on mommy and daddy for financial support.

In her letter to Dear Abby, the teen writes:

“I am technically an adult, which means to me that I can make my own decisions and suffer the consequences if there are any.

I know I live in my parents’ home. I follow their rules and respect their wishes – but this is a bit extreme, don’t you think?

Abby, please advise me on how to explain to my mom that I’m an adult and not a newborn baby as she regards me.

– Not a Child Anymore in Ohio”

I must agree with her, when she says she is technically an adult. However, in reality she is not. An adult is someone who is responsible for themselves. She needs to get a job, earn her room and board and ultimately her parents will respect and trust her. But, right now she is acting like a spoiled, ungrateful, little brat. The teen complains that he mother treats her like a “newborn baby”, but if you behave like a newborn, then you will be treated as such. Grow up and stop whining!

If you are sick and tired of your mommy being all in your business, then get a job, move out and get your own place. Start school (if you haven’t already) and begin to act like a young, responsible adult. Your mother isn’t hovering because she’s bored. She’s hovering because you are immature and she’s worried that you will make some really bad choices. (i.e. your current boyfriend) She doesn’t want to see you hurt. So, wake up and stop blaming your Helicopter Mom, she only means well.

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All in the Genes

I received over 100 emails requesting additional information on Stathmin. Without getting too scientific, because a scientist I am not. However, I will try to shed more light on this topic for you.  It seems that Gleb Shumyatsky, a geneticist at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been studying the role of Stathmin and its relationship to post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, borderline personality disorders and human anxiety diseases.

In the study Shumyatsky examines how Stathmin controls both learned and innate fear.  Animals often have inborn fear for their natural predators or certain body movements that are predator like.  On the other hand, learned fears are a result of an animal’s experience.

Mice without Stathmin have deficiency in innate and learned fear.  Meaning these particular mice do not access threats well, which leads to lack of innate parental care and adult social interactions.  They lack motivation for retrieving pups and are unable to choose a safe location for nest-building.

So, I guess since I am such a paranoid Helicopter Mom, I must have way too much Stathmin in my DNA.  The mothers who simply don’t give a damn about their kids are the ones who lack Stathmin.  These are my personal opinions and conclusions and not those of any particular doctor or scientist.  After researching this topic further, I gathered that Helicopter Moms have way too much Stathmin, so now we need to find out what causes an abundance of Stathmin in humans?  I will research this and post on that topic at a later date.

What’s your DNA make-up?  Does your DNA make you less or more caring for your offspring?

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Are Helicopter Moms Enablers?

I met a woman today who told me she has a 37-year-old son, who lives with her.  Her son is married and has three children  (ages 5, 6 and 12).  Her daughter-in-law does not work and is currently in the job market seeking employment as a job as a dispatcher.  The problem is that the woman I met, we’ll call her Liz says she supports her son and his entire family and has been doing so for the past eight months.  I think it’s OK to help your kids out when they run into financial difficulties but to support an entire family – that’s way too much.

What really grabbed my attention was when Liz mentioned that her son was a crack addict.  I said, “You gotta be kidding me.”  Liz exclaimed, “I love my son and will support him until the day he dies, if I have to.”  Now that’s a true Helicopter Mamma.  She is standing by her son and his family through these tough economic times, but I say Liz needs to throw that son of hers into rehab.  If she really loves her son, then she must be willing to accept the fact that he is an addict who needs immediate help.

I asked Liz, “Who gives your son the money for drugs?” and her response was, “I do.”  I was speechless.  I felt bad for her, because I could see the pain in her eyes, but I think Liz feels hopeless.  I mean, her son is 37 and still lives at home with mamma?  I mean, really???  This is ridiculous!

Which brings me to raise this question, “Are helicopter moms enablers?”  Do we enable our children in both good and bad situations?  How can we stop enabling them when we know it isn’t doing them any good?

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Blended Families

Many of you out there have blended families and sometimes it’s difficult to show favor to all of the kids, particularly when the child is not your biological offspring.  Many of you have gone through the baby-mama drama with your boyfriend’s, husband’s or fiance’s ex and it’s caused major turmoil in your relationship.  But, how can we not show too much favor to our biological children, which sometimes makes our stepchildren feeling left out or not as important as our own?  Well, this is not an easy situation.

After I was married several years ago, I wanted to be a stepmother to my husband’s three beautiful children.  But, his ex-wife was not having it.  She made it impossible for my husband to have visitation with his children and when we tried to ask her for monthly visits, we got the door slammed in our face.  So, it’s been hard for me to develop a relationship with my stepchildren.  I would like to treat them like my own blood, but how can I when their biological mother is insecure about my relationship with her children?

I never thought blending my family with my husband’s would be so difficult.  But, it has been an uphill battle since we said, “I Do”. His ex-wife set his kids against him, they rejected his telephone calls, said they wanted nothing to do with their father; all because he’d moved on and remarried.  His ex-wife’s anger took over and she made it impossible for us to grow closer to his biological children.

Now, several years later I wonder if it will ever happen?  If I will ever have a close relationship with my stepchildren.  I long for a special relationship with them.  I really do.  But, it looks bleak for me and possibly for some of you.  But, I would like to hear your comments.  Please post them here and let me know if you were able to have some sort of relationship with your stepchildren.  Did the ex-wife, ex-girlfriend or ex-fiance ever put her feelings aside and put those feelings of the children to the forefront? Tough question.  I am curious.

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Where Helicoptermoms Unite

Helicopter moms care so deeply for their children, that in the midst of their hovering they sometimes cause more pain than happiness in the lives of their children.  I know, because I am a helicopter mom and I have a seventeen year old son, whom I love dearly.  But, sometimes I have a difficult time letting go and allowing him to grow up and become an independent, young man.  As mothers we want our children to become productive contributors of society.  We would like to see them succeed and of course, we don’t want them to endure the growing pains that we ourselves have endured in the process of maturing and becoming adults.  We’ve made mistakes and learned some very harsh lessons from what I call the errs of life.

We want to protect our children, by completely shielding them from the misery and suffering that ultimately fosters growth. I am hoping that as a mother who is currently experiencing this phenomenon known to many as over-parenting, that I can tell my story and help other mothers voice their personal struggles and experiences as self-confessed helicopter moms.  Through this forum, we can come together and help one another.  I have been a helicopter mom since the birth of my son almost 18 years ago.  I started law school and didn’t finish because I feel the need to hover over my son to ensure he does not have so many problems I see teenage boys his age experiencing.  So many parts of my life have been placed “on hold”, because of my need and desire to control all aspects of my son’s life.

However, I want to stop trying to control his life and relinquish the reins to him, because he will be 18 in February of next year and if I don’t stop now, I am afraid I will do more harm than good.  I’ve watched many helicopter moms on talk shows like Dr. Phil, Anderson, Oprah and Good Morning America.  I don’t want to be one of those helicopter moms that ruins the relationship with my son and his future family.  Therefore, I need and want help and I’m hoping that by opening up this platform I can help other mothers who suffer from the “helicopter mom” disease.

We’ve gotta cut the umbilical cord and allow our children to grow up.  Yes, it may be difficult at times but we must learn to trust their decisions and trust they’ve learned the valuable lessons we’ve taught them.  If we don’t get help now, unfortunately our actions will have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of our children.  The children we love so dearly.

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Feeling Neutral Today

I am trying to remain neutral about the decisions my son will make about his future.  I would like for him to attend a college nearby, not more than a two-hour drive away.  Of course, I would like to be able to visit with him on the weekends and holidays, but my husband is hoping my son attends a college in another state.  That is a big move for someone so young, particularly if they don’t have any close friends or relatives in that “new” state.

My son will be applying to state colleges, UC colleges and a few Ivy League schools.  He has a great chance of being accepted to an Ivy League and wherever he goes, well – I plan to follow as his mother.  Am I wrong?  I want to be near my son should he have any problems, then he can come to myself and my husband for help or advice.  He’s talking about moving to Boston, New York and even Philadelphia and I am looking for apartments in each of those areas.  I promised my son that I would not get involved in his personal or professional life, but I would like to be a springboard should he need me.

Please let me know if I am wrong or if there are any other mothers who feel the same way I do.

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Overparenting equals Neurotic Kids

I read an article a few days ago about helicopter moms who raised neurotic children.  I can only hope that my son does not become neurotic since I am truly a helicopter mamma.  I don’t see myself changing anytime soon and as I write a new book about my experiences as a helicopter mamma and how it’s affecting my life, my husband, my close and extended family and friends – I can’t imagine my life any different that it is today. I always wonder how my son is doing and if he is OK.  Even while he is at school.  I still worry and pray that he is alright.

I know this is an illness, this thing called over-parenting, but how can I stop?  I read once that a study was done on mice who hover over their newborns and there was something in a certain region of the brain (within the mice) that caused this over-protective behavior.  It was called Stathmin.  It caused a fear factor to reside within the mamma mice.  I wonder if this is what’s causing my fear?  I hope not.  I feel like a protective mamma bear.  I want to make sure my son is always happy and always doing well.

In the coming months, as I get closer to publication of my new book, I will post where you can purchase it.  I am hoping that by writing, I can help others and myself overcome being acute helicopter mammas.  If we can’t be so overly protective, can we still be minutely protective?  Or does it have to be one way or they other?

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