Are YOU a ‘Helicopter Parent’???

helicopterAre you a “helicopter parent”?  That is a parent that ‘hovers’ over their child at all times.  I just heard this description recently and I ask it of you today.

The term “helicopter parents” is an expression for parents that has been widely used in the media.  It seems it first appeared as early as 1969 and gained larger acceptance based on the continued use by school administrators.  Specifically college administrators; as parents did everything from calling their child in the morning to wake them to contacting teachers directly about their child’s grades.  They spend too much time ‘watching over’ their kids not allowing them the freedom to be on their own.

Hovering…..get it?

Welcome to the world of the cell phone, and all other sorts of instant messaging devices.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make sure I was not a ‘helicopter parent’.  Some parents I have talked to since I heard this expression say they are, definitely are, and are also proud to be so.

Now, as always, the diabetes community has been ahead of THIS CURVE for some time.  I am pretty sure our “diabetes police” is the rest of the world’s ‘helicopter parent’.  If I have a choice in the matter, I would much rather be more concerned about my child’s diabetes management than waking them up at college to attend class.

In either case it must be stated that too much of either, can be a detriment to any child.  It’s crucial for them to stand up on their own.  I have heard parents say that they will take care of their child’s diabetes for as long as they are able because their child will have to do it for the rest of their life.   I differ with that statement and if it works for you—-it’s your call.

I’m a firm believer that the quicker a child starts to manage this disease and know that at the end of their day it is up to them, I think the better off they will be.  Some things in this life are non-negotiable and good management has always topped the list.  Not because I want.  Not because anyone else wants.  But because, I know, they will physically feel better.

And that is something they need to understand and realize so I, nor anyone else, will need to be ‘hovering’ overhead like a helicopter.

I am a diabetes dad.

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3 replies on “Are YOU a ‘Helicopter Parent’???”

Absolutely agree with that. Children need to stand on their own two feet. I will admit allowing my T1 daughter the same freedom as her brother takes a few more deep breaths. The deal is she looks after her diabetes properly (regular testing, treating appropriately etc) and she can do her activities, play out, walk home from school. If she doesn’t look after it then she can’t do these things. I trust her teachers to let me know if there is a problem and I don’t feel the need to question them about school in general (obviously some things like residential trips need more discussion than for a “normal” child). Jaz is only 10 though and so I still do a lot for her at home. For the most part though she owns her diabetes and she would hate it if I became a helicopter parent.

I totally agree with this. We are a year into this journey. My daughter knows that she gets more freedom if she manages her disease well. In less than 7 years from now my child will be an adult and on her own. I will not be there to hold her hand, ask her if she checked her blood sugar, and tell what to do if she is too high. The quicker she learns how to manage her disease the better. My daughter does everything herself. If we have problems with something we problem solve together. I try to have her figure it out first before I pipe in. The majority of the time her solution is the right one and she feels a sense of achievement that she figured it out. I am there if she needs me and she knows I double check things, but I think it is important to give some space. It’s all about balance. Pestering and hovering I have found doesn’t work well and is very stressful on the kids.

I always enjoy, and am educated, by reading letters from those in the fight each and every day. When experience is the teacher, I will gladly be the pupil. Thanks for sharing.

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