Dear Helicopter Moms: Leave Free Range Kids Alone!

admin May 16, 2017

Dear Helicopter Mom,

I don’t know you well.  I’m sure you are a good parent, and doing your best (just like the rest of us).  I have no issues with you preferring to be a helicopter parent.  I’m not here to tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t stick close to your kids.  After all; I don’t know you or your kids or what their needs are.  You know your kids and what they need.  I fully support your right to raise your kids in the way you think is best.

But, I do have a little problem.

See, sometimes, you seem to think that other peoples’ kids need you to step in.  To tell them how to parent, or to scoop their kid up.  One mom I know recently shared that her 4-year-old was happily crossing the monkey bars at a playground, when a random helicopter mom ran over and grabbed him down, afraid he would fall.  This kid was not upset, not in danger, and doing just fine.  That mom’s anxieties were her own problem…and she shouldn’t have made them his.

That’s where I draw the line, mama.  While I fully support you parenting your own kids however you see fit, don’t tell me how to parent or interfere with how I am parenting my kids.

It’s okay that you have different opinion.  It’s okay to feel nervous.  It’s okay to think to yourself, “I would never do that.”  But it’s not okay to swoop in and grab another person’s child (unless they’re truly in immediate danger, like running towards a busy street) just because you don’t like what they’re doing.

It’s fine to have a different set of standards than I do.  It’s fine to say that when your kids are outside, you’ll be outside with them, playing by their side, 100% of the time.  Go for it!  But it’s not okay to tell me I should have the same standard.

I know that you don’t agree and won’t see eye-to-eye with me on this, but I believe differently than you do about parenting.  I believe that, as long as kids are in a generally safe place, they need freedom to explore.  I believe they need time to play without me being right on top of them.  I believe they need time and space to resolve disputes they get into on their own.

Yes, sometimes they’ll get hurt in minor ways — what kid doesn’t have a scraped knee here or there?  Yes, sometimes they’ll make bad decisions or get in arguments.  Again, what kid doesn’t?

My kids know that if they need me, I’m there.  I’m across the playground, or just inside the house.  I haven’t just left them alone with no support system.  I am present, if not immediately next to them.  They know they can come and find me in a minute and I will help them clean their scraped knee and give it a kiss, or mediate the argument they’re having.  If and when they need my help, they will ask for it!

And you know, that doesn’t mean I never play with them.  I do!  There are times I set aside all the chores I need to complete and just enjoy them.  And there are other times I work on those chores while my children play nearby, without me.

I believe in balance.  I believe in giving kids a chance.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me that you see things differently and raise your kids differently.  More power to you.  But don’t call me a neglectful or lazy parent, don’t tell me how I should be parenting, and don’t swoop in to parent my children just because I’m not two feet behind them all the time.  I’ve got this.  I know my kids better than you do, and I know what they need.  My kids, like yours, are happy and healthy and doing just fine.

So, let’s just agree.  We both love our kids.  We both want happy, healthy kids.  And we both have different ideas on how to do that.  That’s okay!  As long as you let me parent my way, and I let you parent yours, we’ll both be just fine.


A More Free-Range Mom

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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