Dear Helicopter Parent. . .

I saw you last night in the restaurant.  When the waiter came to your table, you ordered for your daughter, who looked about 12 years old.  I found it amusing that when the waiter asked if she wanted it plain or with chicken, she piped up, “Chicken, please,” thereby making her presence known.  I see many similar incidents in your future.

I’ve also seen you on campus.  You’re the one with arms full of your child’s backpack, jacket, and musical instrument – while she skips ahead with her friends.  You’re the one who unpacks all of your son’s school supplies and organizes his desk for him, telling him where everything should go (he’s not listening, by the way; he has no ownership in what you’re doing).

I’ve seen you at the school office, delivering a Burger King lunch because your child forgot her lunch at home (it had a boring sandwich anyway), or a homework assignment that was left on the printer, or an athletic uniform because it’s a game day.

I’ve disagreed with you when you complained that “the students” (by which you meant “the parents”) weren’t given enough printed details about an assignment, which meant you they were unable to complete it correctly.

I know that you clean your child’s room, make her lunches, and do her chores because a) it makes you happy to take care of her, b) it’s easier than arguing with her, and/or c) by the time she gets home from her activities, it’s too late.

I’ve heard you complain that your child doesn’t pick up after himself, can’t think for himself, has little self-confidence, and doesn’t respect you.  To the latter I say, why should he, if you’ve let him use you as a personal butler/valet/maid?

I wanted to let you know you are under a Storm Warning, and the storms ahead are going to be big. You can expect either a rebellious child who rejects you in order to stand on her own two feet, or a dependent child who has learned that you will take care of everything for him.

It’s never too late to land your helicopter.  Provide a map and a first-aid kit – and let your child learn through mistakes and natural consequences!


  1. Well said, and how it does need to be said.

    Oldest son off to Kindergarten, up the steps of the big yellow bus which closed its doors and whisked him away. I cried all the way up our driveway.

    Oldest son delivered as a Freshman to his dorm at PLU. Everything unloaded and in his room. My husband said, “OK, let’s go.” I said, “I need to make his bed first.” My husband said, “No you don’t. It’s time to go.” He was right.

    We hover like a helicopter because we love them so. It’s in their best interest, and ours, to putt putt putt away and get involved in something else.

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