Please Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent To My Kid

Dear other mom on playground,

I don’t know you but it’s great to have other families be out too. I’d chit-chat with you about this “crazy” Seattle weather but it’s all the same conversation. Oh, and your kid is kinda cute. Anyway, I’d like to bring up what happened the other day on the playground. Ya know, about the little toddler boy, who carried around a Wii game controller. I’m his mom, who had the new infant in the baby carrier? Yeah, those are both my kids and one of ’em didn’t need your helicopter backseat-parenting.

Humnoy 18 months old

I’m sure you were trying to help by hovering over my son. I actually appreciate you helping keep him inside the enclosed play area too because he’s a fast runner. Here’s the thing: I felt a little insulted that you’d think I’m that neglectful for you to step in rather than let my almost- 2-year-old climb as he pleased, run with the bigger kids, and let me bark gentle reminders from afar. If I may, please let me provide you with my reasons (in list form, of course) why I don’t helicopter my own kid on the playground:

My kid is physically capable He may not look it but Humnoy is really physically advanced. He’s really strong, has amazing balance, and has exceeded all of his physical milestones months before children his age. I’m not bragging, I’m simply implying that size doesn’t accurately convey what children are capable of. He has been climbing off playground structures since he’s been around playground structures. Long enough to where he knows to sit down on the ledge and climb down on his belly because his legs are too short to step down facing forward. He knows this because we’ve done this well before our playground interaction with you, Other Mom.

My kid knows his own boundaries While your kid was getting ready to come down the slide, you didn’t need to move my kid from the base of the slide – he would have stepped away himself. He knows his own space and fear of getting hurt, especially since he’s had his share of playground injuries and that’s when I was testing out my own boundaries with playground duty. With this, I am now able to know when to intervene and when not to. That’s why I don’t chase him when he climbs a ledge but do stop him when it’s the next-next ledge because that’s too high for him and my standard.

I know my kid I’m sure I look extremely nonchalant or helpless or both because I’m a mom to two little kids right now but give me some credit. I’ve been this kid’s mom for coming on 24 months and I’m aware of his capabilities and boundaries alike. Truly, I appreciate the thought behind hovering, touching, and picking up my kid away from whatever he was doing but again, I think I can handle my kid the way I handled him before your interventions. Please Don't Be a Helicopter Parent to My Kid

How do you handle helicopter backseat-parenting?

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23 thoughts on “Please Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent To My Kid

  1. I know exactly how this goes! Huck is with me at my work (gymnastics coach) and he knows the equipment like a pro. So many people follow him around with open arms like he is going to fall (which sometimes he does, but he gets back up and is more careful the next time). I would be insulted too, but I know they just care…but really, back off heli-moms and let my kid fall down.

    • Yes! I know that kids can get hurt bad (Humnoys had his share of urgent care visits!) but I think letting them explore their boundaries and safe space is more important. I appreciate the thought but I wouldn’t do anything to purposefully let my child get hurt.

  2. Eeww she picked him up?! Ugghh I know she was probably trying to help, as you say, but still no touchy touchy someone else’s kiddo!! I would definitely feel insulted too.
    And I LOVE this entry. It’s straight forward and polite (kudos there, I have a hard time being non-snarky and polite to strangers regarding my bebe) but direct and with a little sass.

  3. Great post. Playground politics are one of the hardest parts of parenting to navigate aren’t they?! It’s the worst when other parents aren’t aware and respectful of your own parenting style & feel it’s their duty to step in and parent your child how they would parent their own. Tricky waters indeed.

  4. Wow haha some woman take the saying , “it takes a village” way to personally and feel like it is their duty to execute

  5. I usually go the way of bender from futurama .. Bite my smooth brown (insert word that rhymes with mass here). I’m not sure if its because meddling annoys me more than hovering, or the people I know who do it can barely figure out their kids.. Yet they wanna do a analysis on mines. So I become crass and very mama bear defense mode-ish.

      • It’s funny.. She probably has forgotten when she was a first time mom. She probably has forgotten the process that includes getting to know your child. That’s the key above all other lessons.

        Women like that usually have control issues. They hate me. With a passion. I’m the same way about my son, as I am with my four legged fur babies.. Even at their playground their are helicopter moms.. I’ve cussed out half of them. The ones who have approached me about my son.. Mind you he isn’t even 3 months.. Have also been blessed with a smile. You do not know my child.. Not all children are the same.. Mind yours and bite it chick!

  6. I totally hear you on this! At the playground it seems other mamas are so quick to grab my kids or try and stop them from climbing cause it is “too high” or something. EH, let them live and learn and do it themselves! I am watching, I know my child and not everyone has the same “playground rules”. Thats how I feel about it anyways, this subject is touchy to me! Thanks for the post.

  7. I forgot you were in Seattle! We have kids the same age basically. If you are down lets meet at a playground and hover our newborns while the big boys run wild. ?? Or if you’d rather not meet people from the internet, its all good. Haha. My husband just told me that me asking you “out” is a lil bit weird. Lol.

  8. I have no words of wisdom. I’m trying to figure out how to keep my SIL from being a helicipter auntie to Potamus. Seriously, the way she says certain things to him just grates on my nerves. Also, she expects much more from a 14 month old than is humanly possible. She does it to our dog, too. Ugh. I don’t want to have a conversation about it because it’s just soooo awkward, but yeah…

    People just need to BACK OFF.

      • yeah, she doesn’t have any kids, but is OBSESSED with things in a rigid way, like at around 4 months all she tried to do was get him to crawl. I was always like WTF. She doesn’t hurt him, but it’s freaking annoying, especially when I’m around. If she were babysitting I’d be okay with her rule-driven ways, but she’s not in charge of him… I AM!

  9. Have you ever dealt with other kids pushing hummoy down before? We hung out with other kids a month ago and someone’s little boy was going around pushing smaller babies down and he tried to do it to Harper who could only stand and not walk yet- I was so pissed!!!!!!! In my head I had to repeat “don’t push his ass down don’t push his ass down”!!! I know kids are just kids but I never expected how I would feel when I thought my baby was getting attacked!

  10. After performing trauma registry for a 3 years of injuries seen at a major Children’s hospital in Philadelphia many many years ago, this Grandmama looks after her highly physically coordinated Grandbabies like a mother hen. I never keep my eyes off of them for a second. Always encourage and praise independence, relaxed. But that second looking away or that lost second from being too far to spot them, can cause severe brain damage. Safety first, protect those brain cells, they are the only ones they get for a life time.

So, what do you think?

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