Looking back on my own childhood as a ‘90s kid, I’m pretty sure that my parents would be classified as “helicopter parents” by parenting gurus nowadays. They weren’t the hovering parents that I’ve read so many horror stories about online, but they definitely kept a close eye on my sister and I when we were growing up, especially in comparison to the parents of our neighborhood friends.
Don’t get me wrong, they didn't smother us. For example, I remember my father keeping a watchful eye on me when I tempted to jump off a homemade skate ramp that one of my friends made in the schoolyard while wearing roller blades.
I’m sure he was internally worrying that I was going to break a bone or fall flat on my face, but he kept his concerns to himself as I attempted the jump and just resigned himself to staying fairly close by in case I went splat.
Much to my father’s everlasting relief, I cleared the jump and didn’t break a bone. I was so good at it that the ramp became a fixture for the local rollerbladers and I made the most of that hunk of junk until it broke.
So while some parenting gurus might roll their eyes at how helicopter parents like mine roll, there are definitely some good tips we can all learn from them and implement in the future.
20 Shadowing A Toddler
A Fine Parent points out that many “helicopter parents” have a tendency to stress out about worst-case scenarios and often shadow their toddlers like hawks — even when they are playing outside.
In today’s world, there are plenty of horror stories about bad people who take kids or children getting hurt in a split second when their parents take their eyes off of them. It’s not a bad idea to watch one’s children—especially when they’re mischievous toddlers—very closely so they stay out of trouble.
19 Being The Little One's Playground Buddy
Scary Mommy writes that helicopter parents like to play with their children when they’re at the park instead of watching them run amuck from a safe distance on the benches.
In moderation, playing with one’s child as they frolic through the park isn’t a bad idea because sometimes, the park is empty and the little one won’t be able to see their friends. By making it a regular occurrence to play with one’s child, it’ll lessen the chance of a temper tantrum if his or her friends don’t show up.
18 Becoming BFFs With Your Kid
According to the Huffington Post, one sign that you grew up with a helicopter parent is that you consider them to be one of your best friends.
Having known people that grew up in a ridiculously dysfunctional family, it’s not a bad idea to be a supportive parent and develop a good relationship with them. Of course, one’s child shouldn’t consider you their ONLY best friend, but there’s no harm in fostering a loving and supportive relationship. As long as the child has friends their own age, what’s the harm?
17 Helping Your Child With Their Homework
Café Mom jokes that helicopter parents will often finish their children’s homework for them; they’d probably have the vapors if they found out that my mother would sit patiently by my side and help me with my homework until I was in the sixth grade.
If your child is really struggling with a homework question, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to coach them through it or even finish it up for them, given the fact that teachers nowadays like to toss piles of it at kids. Just be sure to find them a tutor so they can improve in the subject they’re having difficulty in.
16 Asking Teachers For Suggestions About How Children Can Excel At Home
Mom Junction points out that some helicopter parents quiz their child’s teachers about ways their son or daughter can improve in their studies out of a subconscious fear about a rough outcome.
That being said, getting honest feedback from a teacher about a child’s strengths and weaknesses is a good idea. The earlier you identify a problem, the more time you’ll have to get a tutor and fix it.
I was always abysmal in math and my parents didn’t hire a tutor for me until I was in sixth grade after my teacher suggested it. I wish they’d done it earlier; it would’ve made my life so much easier.
15 Double-Checking To Make Sure The Backyard Is Safe For Play
A Fine Parent jokes that the stereotype of helicopter parents is that they scrutinize everything — even their own backyard (if they are lucky enough to have one) to make sure that it’s safe for their kids to play in.
As long as no one goes overboard, it’s a good idea to give the backyard a once-over and regularly inspect it to make sure that it’s kid-proof.
My partner told me a horror story that he heard about a couple that asked relatives to watch their toddler. They took their eyes away from her for one second, and she tragically lost her life from drowning in a pool. After hearing that, I don’t blame parents for being cautious!
14 Holding Their Hands As They Cross The Street
Today’s The Best Day points out that even though some people like to make fun of helicopter parents for holding their child’s hand when they cross the street, it’s a good thing that they’re doing so. In Brooklyn, New York we’ve been having a ton of issues with speeding cars and about a month ago, one recently hit a child.
I’ve seen a handful of parents blithely let their children run several feet in front of them and hey, if that works for them, you do you, but it makes me nervous. I can completely understand why some parents hold their kids' hands — too many folks drive like loons!
13 Following Your Child Closely Outside
I know some people roll their eyes at parents that follow their children like hawks when they’re playing outside, but I do think if it’s not done in overkill, it’s a good thing, and Today’s The Best Day agrees with me.
For example, when my sister was little, she was trying to swing across the monkey bars at the playground at the local pool club. She slipped, fell, and sprained her wrist. My mother was supervising her and took her to the doctor ASAP where she got a cast. It would’ve been way more gnarly if my mom wasn’t following my sister that day.
12 Calling Your Child's Friends' Parents To Sort Out Any Arguments
According to A Fine Parent, one stereotype of helicopter parents is that they would be the sort of people to call their child’s friend’s parent to smooth out any issues after an argument.
That’s a bit ridiculous when a kid is older, but if they’re toddlers or fairly young (like age seven or younger), it’s not a bad idea to call the other child’s parent to apologize and brainstorm ways to help their kiddos get along better or to prevent any future mishaps. At the end of the day though, a child needs to learn how to resolve their own conflict.
11 Being Extra Cautious When Teaching Your Kid To Ride A Bike
I know A Fine Parent claims that many helicopter parents are too cautious about taking off the training wheels from their child’s bike and they should let their child be more adventurous, but I do think it’s okay to go slow in regards to using them when teaching a little one how to ride a bicycle.
I have ZERO hand-eye coordination and I kept my training wheels on for a LONG time, probably a lot longer than most of the kids my age on my block. My parents never once pressured me into taking them off, and my dad patiently taught me how to ride a “regular” bike when I felt more comfortable with my balance.
10 Scrutinizing The Playgrounds You Attend
According to A Fine Parent, one joke amongst more lax parents is that the helicopter moms or dads scrutinize playgrounds down to the last detail and only let them play on it if it’s covered in mulch. I guess I can understand those safety concerns from all.
I’ve got PLENTY of scars on my body that annoy me from all the times I fell doing dumb stuff at the playground, even when my parents were watching me. Heck, my sister hurt her wrist at one playground and I think it helped that she fell into mulch instead of onto hard plastic or concrete.
9 Purchasing A Webcam So You Can Observe The Baby Sitter
Café Mom joked about helicopter parents putting a nanny cam in their house so they can observe the babysitter, but jokes about parenting styles aside, that’s not a bad idea. You can dissect someone out the wazoo and they STILL might turn out to be untrustworthy, so it’s good to have a camera just in case the sitter turns out to be a scumbag.
I’m a dog walker and on occasion, I’ll often feed cats, too. One of my clients asked me to stop in to feed her three cats, and she had a pet cam for peace of mind. I think it’s a great idea to give you peace of mind whether you have pets or a child. No one should be judged for that.
8 Signing A Kid Up For A Lot Of After-School Activities
Kindercare points out that a bad habit some helicopter parents have is micromanaging a child’s after-school activities down to the last detail and signing them up for every extra-curricular under the sun.
While this isn’t a good idea if your child is passionate about something like horseback riding or gymnastics, if your child isn’t quite sure about what they like to do as a hobby or a sport, the two of you can sit down and pick a few to enroll in to see how they take to it. This will allow your child to develop good sportsmanship skills and meet a wide variety of people too.
7 Teaching Your Children To Check In When They Are Out With Friends
According to Café Mom, many parents that don’t like the “hovering” parenting style often poke fun at those that proudly fly their helicopter by making sure that their kiddo constantly texts them when they’re going somewhere.
Of course, no parent should expect a constant stream of text messages, but it’s a good idea to make texting one’s parent a habit so that when they’re older, the kiddo won’t be as likely to complain about their parents breathing down their neck.
6 Urging Your Little One To Succeed
Café Mom adds that another stereotype of the hovering parenting style is that they are CONSTANTLY worried about how their child will succeed in life and micromanage their kids lives.
While I don’t believe parents should go overboard, there’s nothing wrong with doing your best to set your child up for success in moderation. Whether that’s cheering them on at a baseball game, getting them a tutor because they’re struggling in math, or something else, it’s good for a child to know that you’ll always have their back and will be a friendly, supportive ear when they need it.
5 Scrutinizing Babysitters
Cafe Mom notes that some helicopter parents are too relentless in their scrutinizing of potential babysitter candidates, but in today’s world, that’s really not a bad thing in my humble opinion.
When it comes to both dog sitters and babysitters, it’s a good idea to ask for references, quiz those references endlessly, and make sure that the person is a good fit for your family. It’s also best to get a second or third opinion, too. Just look at what happened to that dog named Sugar in NYC a few years ago; the pet sitter lost her and the poor owners were devastated. You can’t be too careful nowadays!
4 Teaching Your Child To Wash Their Hands Constantly
Cafe Mom jokes about helicopter parents that like to teach their children to wash their hands constantly in order to get rid of any germs that they might have picked up from school, but it’s a good idea to instill proper hygiene from a young age.
I’ve heard too many horror stories from my aunt and mother, both of whom worked as teachers back in the day, about parents that slacked off on teaching their kiddos good hand-washing habits. They inevitably either wound up getting a nasty cold OR began spreading the germs around the classroom. Do yourself a favor and teach your kids the joy of a good hand-washing or hand sanitizing!
3 Not Coaxing Their Children To Explore The Playgrounds At The Park
Scary Mommy admits that some parents with a more lax style of raising their children often get frustrated when the helicopter parents won’t let their child explore the playground freely.
While I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep your child cooped up in one part of the playground (just because you’re worried they’re going to get hurt), I also don’t think parents should constantly bug them to explore the park if they have an area they prefer to hang out in.
When I was a kid, I loved swinging on the swings or crawling across the monkey bars and I would’ve been mad if my parents forced me away from the areas I loved.
2 Strictly Enforcing The Rules At The Park
According to Scary Mommy, some parents can be a bit annoyed when the helicopter parents start enforcing the rules of the park. I can see where they would be irritated, but I also think that in some circumstances, you need to do that.
When I was a little girl, my parents would’ve been considered helicopter parents and even though they didn’t make a habit of it, they would step in to smooth an argument over or remind my friends and I to play nicely if they could sense an argument brewing. Meanwhile, my buddies parents were gossiping away on the benches.
1 Not Allowing Your Child To Play Too Far Away
Scary Mommy writes that one stereotype of helicopter parents is that they never let their children play too far away and point out that that the previous generation grew up running wild on the streets without any parental supervision but they turned out okay.
I don’t think parents should shadow every step, but if you let your child play at the nearby park or schoolyard like my parents did with me back in the ‘90s, it’s a good idea to periodically check up on them to make sure that everything’s okay. Accidents can happen in a split second, so give your kiddo some degree of freedom, but don’t ignore them either