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Helicopter Parenting Alert: When Do You Step In?

I’m not a fan of helicopter parenting. Part of that results from the fact that I was always too busy socializing with other adults than to actually pay attention to my son freaking another three year old out about some Scooby Doo zombie mystery. (Or spitting with bulls-eye precision down a plastic volcano at an indoor play yard. That went over really well with the yuppie parent in the Ugg boots who called Security on me when I told her to buzz off and stop acting like a Nazi.)

My flaws aside, I do believe that our kids have to fight their own battles or we’ll end up with adult babies who cry the moment their boss tells them their perfect presentation actually was more of a bomb than Miley Cyrus’s latest performance. It’s up to us to teach our kids how to navigate tricky waters – not row the boat for them.

But when does the boat get so full of water it’s time to call in the rescue? I know that with my son and his “bully” situation, we’re far from calling S.O.S. on the P.O.S.’s.  But, truth be told, I went behind his back and confided in a fellow mama (whose kid is friends with one of the bully kids) to have “the kindness conversation” with her son.

Is that too sneaky? Stink specifically asked me not to talk to a teacher or Principal Jay, fearing I’d make it worse. Citing the many times Stink negotiated with my terms, I am telling myself I didn’t, inherently, violate his trust. But did it? Would you have done the same?

And furthermore, do you think I was too hard on my son when I told him that those kids just didn’t like him, like in the last post? A few of my friends had looks of “ewww” on their faces when I told them the story. I saw it as being practical and enlightening. They saw it as a bit harsh.

Would love your opinion.

PS: One of you wants my vitamin supplement list for tics. I will do that next post for you. I will say for now, however, we are off the focus pills. Intuniv was great for 1.5 years, but my kid wanted a break from feeling tired and sleepy. He said it made him feel less like himself. So far he’s doing fine with moderate exercise, great diet, good sleep and moderate computers. My motto is always to go more drastic when a kid’s social, emotional and academic life are threatened. (Maybe I need to remember that advice with the bully situation also!)

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About Andrea Frazer

Find me at www.happilytickedoff.com! I'm a produced television, magazine, newspaper and national blog writer available for freelance writing in the areas of faith, parenting, lifestyle and healthcare. In addition to ghostwriting and content creation, I am proud to be publishing my first book. Called "Happily Ticked Off," it is a humorous mom-moir about raising a son with Tourette Syndrome. I can best be described as Erma Bombeck meets Nora Ephron. I live to connect with others through writing, authenticity and just a wee bit of sass.

7 responses »

  1. Don’t know if you did the right thing, but if I makes you feel any better, I would have done the same (and actually, have done the same). And it worked out. I file it under the little white lie never hurt anyone scenario.

    Reply
  2. Okay, well first I have to say that…ummm, I’m not so sure ignoring your son freaking out a younger child or spitting at an indoor playground is the antonym for a helicopter mom That said, the only way I could say whether or not I think you were too hard on Stink is if I had been in the room during the conversation. The way a message is delivered is almost as important as the message itself. So, only you can answer that. However, I don’t (for the most part and within reason) believe in sugar coating the ugly truth’s about life to my kids. I have always told them that people are going to be jerk’s, people are sometimes going to be rude and obnoxious to you and some people are just flat out not going to like you. Who care’s. There’s a lot of people I don’t care to be friends with. They might be the best friend in the world to someone else, but they don’t work for me. Now, I realize this is different because your son is feeling hurt and rejected. It’s also different because kids hurt other kids feelings. So, onto the next point. I have in the past and will in the future step in if my child is being bullied or hurt by another child. Yes, our kids have to learn to fight their own battles, but what does that really mean? How do they learn that? My thought is…they learn that the way they learn most things…by emulating their parents or other authority figures. I guess maybe I am a bit of a helicopter mom and I definitely have the…if you mess with my kid, you mess with me mentality. At this point I really wanted to insert the playground clip from “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”, but due to the foul word I refrained. Yet, it’s kind of a WAY over the top version of me. I mean in that real word scenario I’d probably get arrested, but depending on the situation I would definitely step in. I did with my older son a few times and he is now in 11th grade and believe me he can fight his own battles. I never have to worry about that, so my “interference” or “stepping on a few (little punks) toes” didn’t negatively impact his ability to stick up for himself. The interesting thing is, he is also extremely tolerant of other people and is the kind of kid that will stick up for someone else. So, I personally think my “mediation” increased his ability to stick up for himself and also for other people. I don’t know what the proper protocol is for what would define you as “sneaky” or “violating Stinks trust” in this particular situation… but I would and have done the exact same thing! Hope things improve at school…

    Reply
  3. It cut off my first sentence, which is bad because it makes me sound harsh instead of funny harsh. It was suppose to say – “Okay, well first I have to say that…ummm, I’m not so sure ignoring your son freaking out a younger child or spitting at an indoor playground is the antonym for a helicopter mom, but then again I wear Ugg’s :).”

    Reply
    • Lynn – I love you even if you wear Ugggs. Speaking of ugggg, we are slogging through. So far it’s been pretty good. I will let you know how things progress. Best to your family for me and your sister with the new one.

      Reply
  4. School is better this year- we have a more laid back teacher so less stress there. Video games are still an issue of course. Mario is back (on the sly). I find myself yelling “Go play Minecraft”. As seldom as he plays the Mario and pac man variety of games, they still trigger him for weeks. Well, my theory for what it’s worth. Here’s hoping for a peaceful school year for all of us.

    Reply
  5. I loved your blog post about the bullies. We’ve said similar things to our kids. My husband is straightforward in his delivery. I’ve learned to back off from being overly involved with my kids’ social lives. When kids come to “tattle” because my 9 year old son with TS said or did something I usually blow them off unless he does something to hurt, or that could possibly hurt, someone. My biggest lesson has been to let go of what others might think about my son. I know who he is and I trust my own opinion of him. I don’t need anyone else’s.

    Reply

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