Helicopter Parenting: Pardon My Propeller

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Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here on BlogHerMOMS to help, three times a week. Email your pressing issues and questions to stacy.morrison@blogher.com to be answered in exclusive posts on Fridays. Today, we share the newest Mouthy wisdom on offer.

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Dear Mouthy Housewives,

A friend recently made an off-hand comment that I’m a helicopter mom. It really upset me because I consider myself a responsible parent, but I certainly don’t hover.

At least I don’t think that I do. I don’t let my 10-year-old daughter go out by herself, I wait with her for the school bus, and I watch from a distance when she goes to the store that’s two blocks away. I trust her, but I’m worried about the world that we live in. Is this a mistake? Am I a helicopter mom?

Signed, Cautious Mom

helicopter blade

Credit Image: odolphie on Flickr


Dear Cautious Mom,

Welcome to my world. I’ve been called a helicopter mom, too, but unlike you, I embrace it. Of course I like to think of myself as one of those sleek shiny helicopters, with high cheekbones and no cellulite or stretch marks.

See? Your friend was practically calling you Angelina Jolie and you got offended. Go apologize to her right now!

What?

Oh.

We live in a terrifying world and unfortunately we’ve all heard of too many horrible things happening to children. To children with wonderful parents who did everything right. It’s unfair and it’s maddening and I’m never going to let my children out of my sight again.

Except, somehow in all this madness, we need to raise our children in a way that will let them function in society. And that includes going to the store by themselves, walking down the street without their parents, learning how to make a margarita for their mothers and even taking public transportation.

Please give me a moment. I need to uncurl from this fetal position I seem to be stuck in. Although I’m pretty sure that it doubles as a yoga pose.

I can’t tell you if 10 years old is too young for your daughter to be outside unaccompanied by a (carefully screened) adult. That depends on your daughter’s maturity, responsibility, your comfort level and too many other factors to list. But I can share that when my daughter was 10, I was not even thinking of letting her go to the store without me. For one, she had no money, so what exactly was she going to do there? And also, I didn’t think that either she or I were ready. I can happily report that now that she’s 13, she does run errands by herself in New York City. Last month I even got an urgent text from her asking me to report to the local Abercrombie & Fitch promptly with my credit card because her allowance money wasn’t covering the purchases.

So trust your instincts. That and your relationship with your child should guide what is age appropriate for her. Even if it involves a bit of hovering.

Good luck, Marinka, TMH

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