You are Not the Boss of Me

One day I woke up and realized that my entire life was centered around my son. I found myself focused on him from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. So, I began to research this “phenomenon”, that many around the world call “helicopter parenting” and that is when I discovered that I may have a serious problem. The term “helicopter parent” was originally coined by Foster W. Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay, in their 1990 book entitled, “Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility”. According to Cline and Fay, like helicopters, mothers hover closely to their children, never being too far away or out of reach (whether the child needs them or not).

It’s like having a boss who “micro-manages” his employee. Nobody likes to be micro-managed and if you work for someone who monitors every aspect of the business process and pays extremely close attention to every single detail – then guess what, you’d quit!The one common thread that helicopter parents and micro-managers have in common is CONTROL. The definition of control is “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” Well guess what, this describes me to a “T”. My problem is that I always want be in CONTROL. However, as mothers unfortunately we cannot control our children. We must teach them right from wrong and pray that the values we have instilled in them as parents over the years, becomes apparent in the decisions they make throughout their lifetime.At what point do I let go and allow my son to become a self-sufficient, contributing member of society? I keep asking myself this question and it continues to be an uphill battle for me, because I keep wanting to protect my son from life. I say this because I want to protect Arthur from any and all disappointment, hurt, suffering – anything that will cause him pain or grief. Why, because I only want the best for my son. I want to see him happy.

I don’t think there are very many moms who want to see their kids sad.The only problem with this way of thinking, is that my son will not always be happy. In order for Arthur to grow, he must unfortunately experience disappointment, pain and suffering. Arthur will not truly experience life and grow as a young man, unless and until he experiences life. Life comes with the good, bad and the ugly. Being a helicopter mom for the past 17-years, it’s been difficult for me to allow my son to make mistakes, learn and grow from those mistakes. I keep wanting to be there to prevent the mistakes from occurring. Sometimes, I wish I had a remote control device that could literally control all of his actions and emotions. This way I could ensure that Arthur made all the right decisions and avoided any and all mistakes.Biology is the study of life and scientists have had a very difficult time defining life because life is a process. It took me over 18 years to realize that life is a process. And through that process, one must experience growth. The definition of growth is “development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution”. Growth involves experiencing all that life has to offer in an uninhibited world.

However, as a helicopter mom, my son has been experiencing life in a very controlled environment. This unfortunately, will do nothing but prevent his personal growth. My behavior has not been beneficial to my son. Yes, I have protected him and shielded him from the world, but I have indeed stunted his growth. My son has even told me things like, “Mom, please stop treating me like a 5-year old”, or “Mom, I am almost 18, I can walk to the store by myself”.

So, since my son is realizing that I am an over-bearing, helicopter mom, why is it so hard for me to stop? That is the question that I must find the answer to. Let’s explore this phenomenon and let’s try to find the answers to the questions, that many moms like myself need answered.

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