Are You a Helicopter Mom?

Are you scratching your head and wondering what in the world I mean? It’s not like you have rotors sticking out of the top of your head, and you don’t hover, right? Or do you?

Do you find yourself swooping in to save the day for your kids…all the time? Nearly every minute of the day? Do you find yourself planning and executing their every last activity down to the minute? If so, you might be a helicopter mom.

Dena Higley, a parenting blogger, a television writer who has been head writer for Days of our Lives and One Life to Live, and mother to four children, recently published a very funny and enlightening book, MOMAHOLIC: Confessions of a Helicopter Parent. In this book, she chronicles her insanely busy life as a helicopter mom…and her recovery from said insanely busy life.

Dena juggles a very busy life between her career and her four children. Two of Dena’s children have special needs: one son is autistic, and one daughter uses a prosthetic leg and has other physical disabilities.  Two of Dena’s children are adopted from overseas. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of Dena’s book, but I have to say that her descriptions of and stories about her children were my favorite parts of her book.

I had a chance to interview Dena recently. She was great fun to talk to, and I learned a few things about how to pare down my own crazy busy life and let my kids have more autonomy and responsibility.

  • Was your mom a helicopter mom? No. Moms from our generation…they did their own thing, took care of kids’ physical needs, but they weren’t all over the kids emotionally.
  • Why do you think our generation is driven to be helicopter moms/do-it-alls? Driven by guilt? We’ve gone from a family unit to a child unit- everything we do is focused on our kid(s). Do you think mom competition plays a part? YES! When moms are calm, so are kids. We whip each other up, and then that whips the kids up.
  • How have your kids adjusted to your retiring for being a helicopter mom? The kids have loved the move away from my being a momaholic…felt more competent. And have they felt empowered? Yes. The move toward their autonomy has helped mature the kids. The rules have been consistent and finite – take care of your own stuff instead of relying on a parent.
  • How has your spouse adjusted? He is not as involved in small decisions, but he notices that I am calmer – that I am supportive/loving/on the kids’ side, but not overwhelmed by kids’ situations.
  • How do you “fight the urge” to be a helicopter mom when the instinct tries to take over? It has been a difficult transition – I have to resist the urge to swoop in and help. My instinct is to take over, and I am continually monitoring my behavior.
  • If your kids’ whined and complained when they started having to do stuff for themselves (remember appointments, carry their own stuff, suffer the consequences when they screwed up) – what was your coping mechanism? Coping was not necessary because we had family discussions about new boundaries and responsibilities. The kids were aware of the changes and got to participate in the new rules/boundaries.
  • What advice do you have for moms who want to break the helicopter-mom cycle? I’m not much for giving advice seeing as each child/situation is different (and remember this is for teenagers, not young children), but my rule of thumb is to not give advice unless asked for it, to support not “coach” and to love not nag.  Never feel resentful for all you’re doing for them because that’s a sure sign you’re doing too much.  Never act or be treated like a slave or personal assistant.

Leave a comment or fill out the form below for a chance to win an autographed copy of  MOMAHOLIC: Confessions of a Helicopter Parent.

All comments and submissions must be received by  9:00am CST on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. One winner will be chosen and notified via email with 24 hours to respond. The giveaway has no cash value. You must live in the United States. You must be 18 years or older to enter the giveaway. By filling out the form below or leaving a comment, you agree to the above terms.

** This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered and congrats to Angel on winning!