Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday Factoid: Helicopter Parents

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Did you have Helicopter Parents?

Nah, I wouldn't say I had helicopter parents. I did have supportive parents, and my mom especially as the primary caregiver was involved in my everyday life as a child. I didn't feel she was overprotective, as I was allowed to do things like sleep over friends' houses, go outside without supervision, choose most of my own entertainment, and attend events without a chaperone. I had friends whose parents didn't allow these freedoms.

That said, if you had asked me this question as a teen, I probably would have brought up incidents that suggested my mom was inappropriately involved in my life--stuff like confiscating a tape I liked because it had dirty language, deciding based on stuff I thought was arbitrary who I was allowed to get in a car with (and changing the rules over things I didn't think made sense), and telling me I couldn't talk to a boy who was nineteen on the phone because I was only fifteen. (That nineteen-year-old boy was a total jerk, by the way. They were right.)

When I was even younger, my mother was certainly quite involved in protecting me when issues arose, and though some people might have thought she fell into the "excessive" category, I didn't think so even then. I was a pretty weird kid and occasionally I butted heads with teachers or authorities who reacted to me inappropriately. My mother went to bat for me when a teacher decided I must be a remedial reader and put me in the lowest reading group (because the testing procedure included vowels with "long" and "short" markings above them and I'd never seen those before, so I was baffled and cried instead of trying, leading the teacher to conclude I couldn't read at all). My mother had a conference with a teacher on very short notice because I reported that she'd called me a liar. And occasionally my mom would poke into my social life, encouraging me to make friends and trying to push me toward social interaction in ways I wasn't fond of (but I guess she didn't really get at that point that I wasn't lonely). My parents (or sometimes just one of them) would generally come to all my performances in school, from elementary chorus to middle school violin concerts to high school show choir. I think the attention and support I received was just about right.

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