Chittagong, Bangladesh

Chittagong, Bangladesh

We’re not helicopter parents.  Oh no, not us.

When my 27 year old son recently left for Bangladesh to volunteer in an orphanage for three months, my husband and I drove him to the airport.  My husband dropped us off at the departure gate while he parked the car.

My son and I busied ourselves getting the suitcases on a trolley and then sailed into the airport so he could check his baggage.  I clucked around a stand filling out lost suitcase forms for him and when my husband arrived he wanted to know if our son would like him to accompany him to the check-in desk.  My son shrugged his shoulders and indicated that would be fine, thought the better of it, and refused his offer.

While my son was checking in, my husband had his beagle eye on him during the entire procedure, watching for the slightest hint of a movement that would indicate something had gone wrong. I asked him to look at me, not our son, and suggested we should turn our backs to him.  Our son could take care of himself.

We walked with him to the security gate and hugged him good-bye.  He turned and was gone.

On the way home, we reminded ourselves what we had done at his age.  My husband was leading a small crew in ground geophysics in Brazil and at a younger age, I had traveled in Europe and hitchhiked across Canada. We know our concern is misplaced.

So we make sure we’re not helicopter parents. We would never do something like that. Oh no, not us!

Chittagong,Bangladesh

Chittagong,Bangladesh

Have you any experience with helicopter parenting?  Please let me know by responding in the Reply Box below.

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Lessons Learned
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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. We’ve all helicoptered at some point or another. It’s part of (parents) growing up!

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  2. It takes a lot of discipline to butt out and sometimes that discipline just isn’t there! Patricia

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  3. Oh, I think all of us parents think of ourselves that way… but maybe we still are… at least in my case… 😉

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  4. I think I have avoided helicopter parenting, for the most part. When visiting the US last summer, I sent my 17 year old son to a basketball camp a 4 hour drive from where we were staying with my mom. We dropped him off on the last leg of a longer drive, but he was to get himself to a train station, then take a train and a bus back to my mom’s at the end of the camp. Apparently as he was explaining his plans to his friends at the end of the camp, they looked at him incredulously and asked, “Dude. Where are your parents?!!” Maybe I have gone too far in the other direction? Though, at 17, I traveled Europe alone, so it is a bit of a family tradition.

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  5. I recall my first awakening many, many years ago when one of our sons was preparing to go to cub camp for a few days. He would be living in a tent and sleeping on the ground. He seemed so young and ill prepared. I found myself giving him all sorts of advice about how to keep warm and dry no matter what the weather. I am an expert at all of this but I could tell he was too excited to listen. I stopped. I realized then what I would tell myself over and over ever since – I must allow my darling children the right to suffer their mistakes and possibly to joy in their triumphs over those.
    Despite all the years of experience since, I still have to discipline myself to butt out, to remind myself that the best life lessons are the ones we learn first hand.

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