How many of you have heard the term helicopter parent before?
Show of hands, please. No? Okay.
Well, it’s a pretty common term. And it basically refers to a parent who is overprotective or just overly involved in a child’s life. Think moms who show up to every school board meeting or dads who won’t let their high school daughters date.
And, while helicopter moms and helicopter dads are a pretty well-known phenomenon, there’s another type of helicopter that is not quite as famous. But just as potent. And, that is:
We know. It’s hard to believe. But it’s really a big issue.
Helicopter children tend to be overprotective and overly involved in their parents’ lives, particularly when their parents are seniors. Now, you might be thinking “what’s so wrong with watching out for your parents?” Well, there isn’t anything wrong with that. And you should take good care of your senior parents!
But, a major problem arises when helicopter children are so focused on caring for their senior parents, that they stop caring for themselves.
So today, we’re going to talk about the dangers of being a helicopter child, how to recognize if you’re a helicopter child, and ways to stop helicoptering.
What’s dangerous about being a helicopter child?
It’s simply not healthy. Not for you and not for your senior parent.
There is only so much time in a day. And when you spend that time only caring for your parents, you don’t leave any time to care for yourself. Which will have its consequences in the long run.
Because, when you don’t give yourself any time to relax, or to meet up with friends, or even just to run errands -you run the severe risk of draining yourself out. And, when you reach that point, you’re simply not going to be able to do a good job caring for your parent anymore.
You may even come to resent the fact that you have to care for your parent. Which will in turn, make your parents feel guilty, and then unhappy. Which, will probably make you feel guilty and unhappy as well.
Eventually, negatively affecting your relationship and your lives.
Are you a helicopter child?
Now that we’ve established why being a helicopter child can be detrimental to you and those around you, it’s time to discuss the signs of a helicopter child.
You might be an at-risk helicopter child if you:
- Plan your senior parents’ daily activities
- Go through their mail
- Get upset if they don’t tell you where they’re going
- Call multiple times a day to see if they’re eating
- Call their friends and neighbors to find out how your parents are doing
- Manage their money and spending
The list goes on, but the idea is that helicopter children involve themselves in things that their parents can take of for themselves. Helicopter children view their aging parents as so fragile and weak, that they don’t give their parents any privacy or space.
How can you stop being a helicopter child?
Now, we’re not saying to leave your parents, dump them in a bush, and run away to the Bahamas. Absolutely not.
We’re just saying, it’s important to recognize when you’re overexerting yourself, and to strike a balance between the time you give to care for your senior parents and the time you give to yourself to live your own life.
You have to realize, that aging parents and senior parents are people too. That means, that even though they’re old, they are still strong, willful adults.
And they can manage many things on their own.