20 People Narrate Incidents Where They’ve Witnessed Extreme Helicopter Parenting
There are various parenting styles people adopt but ultimately the goal is to teach a child to know right from wrong and then let them make their own choices because, ‘free will’ right? Helicopter parenting is a term applied to parents who tend to be overprotective and over-controlling. Without teaching their children, they just make choices for their child which is ultimately unfair to the person they are raising.
It’s tragic to see this enacted around us but it certainly seems more common and extreme than one thinks, as apparent from stories narrated in response to a question posed by one online user, who asked people to explicate on the worst examples of overbearing parents. Scroll down for a selection of experiences expounded upon below.
My son told me about this one
5th grade overnight trip to nature center. Kids mom went (was only parent, that wasn’t a teacher, to go), had a complete meltdown when she was told that her kid would be sleeping in cabin with other kids and not her…she was told this before trip as well. Four teachers per cabin, basically overnight school. He said she basically spent the entire night outside watching the cabin, really creeped everyone out, man the rants she went on facebook…at least her friends and family called her out on her nonsense, imagine quite a few people got blocked that day.
In college, a girl’s mom stayed in her room with her the first week of our freshman year. Went to classes with her, ate with her and attended our dorm meeting, introducing herself as “Crystal’s Mommy”.
She finally went home, and Crystal had obviously never learned to do anything on her own. Her roommate dated a guy in my floor and would tell us about her daily, multiple calls home. She didn’t know how to do laundry so mommy paid roommate to do it for her.
By mid term, Crystal was failing all her classes and had basically just given up going to class as it was “too hard”. Again mommy shows up, stays two weeks, talks to her professors then pulled her out of school.
I’m curious what she’s doing now, hopefully she broke out on her own and gained some Independence.
A little girl who lived down the road from me and that I used to babysit. Her mom was so obsessive she basically pushed the father out of the picture without actually separating or divorcing. I quit babysitting when she was about 5 cause I couldn’t take it anymore, my sister took over though and they were neighbours so I kept up to date.
She didn’t learn how to speak until she was 4. Not due to any learning disability but her mom emphasized not encouraging her to talk and that “she would learn when she’s ready”. She only taught her basic sign language to ask for food or drink. Ended up falling and hurting herself pretty badly (internal injuries) and couldn’t communicate it to her parents cause she didn’t know how to talk. It was only her dad’s quick thinking and taking her to the hospital that saved her life. Learned how to talk pretty quickly after that.
When it came time for her to go to school (literally down the road from their house, maybe 6 houses down) her mom couldn’t handle the separation and would show up to the school every day. This pissed off the school and while she made it through kindergarten it was a few months into first grade when the school requested that she limit her visits to once a week and to only use that time to actually assist in volunteering like the other parents.
So she reacted like a reasonable adult and immediately pulled her daughter out of school and began homeschooling her.
Kid is probably around 18-19 now? Last saw her (with her mom of course) a couple years ago at a wedding and she seemed alright but who knows how well adjusted she actually is.
I work at an admissions front counter for a university so I get helicopter parents all the time over the phone, but I had a mom that had me laughing over the phone because of how ridiculous she was. Let’s call her Susan for reference.
At first, she was normal asking about general admissions processes and what are the requirements. However, where she messed up was when she admitted she did the application for him because “he is a boy and you know how boys can be so I just did it for him.” Then she started to fly off the walls. She asked if the campus was open because she wanted to visit her son EVERY SINGLE DAY since they live 15 minutes away from the main campus. Susan tried making herself not sound bat s**t crazy by sliding in her bringing him baked goods and home cooked meals, but I know she just wants to pester her child. There was another talk about how she wanted to get access to his student account to see his grades. I told her that she was not going to be allowed to get that access because her child will be considered an adult and the student has to give HER permission by saying a FERPA form. She wanted to know how and where to get those documents ASAP.
As far as social life, Susan asked if there were parties on campus. It’s a college, of course there are going to be parties. The worst part is that she asked if they are supervised….by PARENTS!!!! This is where I couldn’t help but laugh because why did she think that this was a high school setting. Susan then followed up with “Well how will I know where he is going or if he gets in trouble?” and I said, very casually, “Ma’am if your student decides to do something illegal (smoke weed/drink underaged) and gets caught by campus police and gets arrested, you’ll be getting that phone call.”
And she had nothing else to say. :)
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My dad’s friends from law school. They waited until their 40s to have a child because they were busy running their very successful law firm and once they realized they were getting a little old they really struggled to conceive. They finally had one viable pregnancy that resulted in their only child, Theo. Theo is super bright like his parents but they hovered over him his whole life. One time they held a dinner party and they had their caterer make an entirely separate buffet for Theo because the other buffet (that they chose and paid for) wasn’t healthy enough for him. They ended up retiring and closing their firm the same summer he graduated from high school and bought a house next to his college campus. They had a really big falling out when Theo wasn’t coming “home” enough and the last I heard he ended up transferring colleges without telling them.
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My mother. Wouldn’t stop hovering over me until I broke out of it at the end of high school.
– Always checked my grades for me instead of me doing it myself, etc.
– Always e-mailed teachers in high school about grades and whatnot,
– Wouldn’t let me make mistakes and learn on my own,
– Always tried to force me into studying and learning even when I was genuinely tired or uninterested,
– Forced me into mathematics classes giving me no time to relax and take time off,
– Always was like “I have to check your homework” in grades 6-8,
– Treats me like a child even though I’m 19 (tried to take away my computer but I was able to non-violently keep her from doing so)
– Refuses to change in ANY respect. I am almost certain that not a single one of her co-workers actually likes her.
– Always micromanages my weight. To lose weight you have to actually *want* to do it *for yourself.* If someone micromanages you, you lose that drive and can’t achieve your goal.
As a result a lot of the skills that most people would have developed are also ones that I don’t possess, namely the drive to get assignments done on time and the drive to prepare myself for life in “the real world”. The reason I got all B’s and C’s with only a few A’s was because I barely survived. I never felt like I was doing it for myself, but it always seemed like I was doing it for her. I never had that motivation.
Nowadays, I always feel uneasy around her and cannot really say many positive things about her.
**I can’t even believe I came out of her. Ridiculous.**
On the other hand, my dad is your ideal dad who lets you learn on your own when you’re supposed to learn on your own. He helped me through this and eve he admits mom has problems. But *why did I have to go through this?!*
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I’m in college, living off campus with my 20 year old roomate. She has to be in contact with her mom every single day. If she doesn’t answer within a few hours, her mom gets extremely anxious about where she is and what she’s doing. Her mom has called me more than once to see where she is. Usually, I’m within 40 feet of my roomate and she’s just doing homework or watching cable. It’s ridiculous that she’s being monitored like a hawk when she’s an adult.
Edit: a word.
One of my neighbor’s kids was a good basketball player, but she just didn’t have the height for the position she played at a DI school. Coaches recruiting her told her that she could play DI if she switched positions, but her mother (who was a coach) would tell these coaches that her daughter wouldn’t change positions, and to basically take it or leave it. Well, pretty much everyone chose to not extend scholarship offers at the DI level because of it.
She ended up getting a really good scholarship to a DII school that had the academic program she wanted (they even had a 6 year program that combined undergrad and the post-undergraduate school she would’ve had to go to, so the process would’ve basically been seamless to become a licensed professional in her field). However, her mother was so controlling over her recruiting that she told her daughter she couldn’t go there because the coach didn’t send her a bunch of cards and whatnot (basically things schools send to recruits to try to convince them to commit–it’s mostly flattery), so she wouldn’t allow her kid to commit there.
Instead, she made her kid commit to this tiny DIII school in the middle of nowhere (literally nowhere, extremely small and rural) that didn’t even have the academic program her kid wanted. Her reasoning was that her kid would get a good Christian education (but how good is *any* education if it doesn’t even have what you want to study?). Eventually, the kid, with help from her father, quit playing basketball and transferred to a large state school because she hated the small Christian school so much, and she could finally study what she wanted to study.
Her mom was so controlling that she ended up giving up on the sport she loved. This all would’ve been avoided if she had just gone to the DII school, but no, her mom took way too much control and ended up ruining her kid’s college athletic career.
EDIT: I must add that the daughter has since graduated and moved away, but based on the last conversation we had, she seems to be doing well. I think she was looking at grad schools, but I don’t think she’s started yet.
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A friend’s parents are hypercontrolling. He was on a date and sister called the parents because she was filling out the FAFSA, but was stuck. Instead of saying “call your brother” Mom drove 2 1/2 hours to their college town, tracked him down on his date, and then brought him (but not the date) to the sister’s apartment to do it for her. Mom also came to the town when the sister said she saw his motorcycle parked in front of someone’s house after dark. It was not his motorcycle. It was just another shiny red motorcycle. The helicopter parent seemed to have influenced a helicopter sister.
My sons befriended the “new” kid in middle school. Home schooled through elemantary school years, but parents wanted him to interact with kids. Hes a good kid. Smart, but guarded and sheepish but he got along great with my sons. They want to have a sleepover. He gets dropped off and his mother hands me a list. Had to be 4 pages of his routine, dos and dont’s and everything (Adam is not to have anything to drink after the hour of 8pm. He needs to brush his teeth with the tootbrush we sent him with. He needs to be asleep by blah blah blah).
I have three kids. I can keep a 12 year old kid alive for 20 hours without a list. She would text me non stop. I felt bad for the kid. I let him know “listen if you bend a few of these rules, I’ll never tell your mom if you won’t” and he had this huge smile. I’m not sure what kind of people helicopter parents think they’re creating, but it can’t be a fun one that’s for sure.
Working summer orientation for my old community college and we have new students register for classes towards the end of the session. Counselors are there to help with class selection.
This one mom was literally hovering over her son telling him which classes to choose, and completely ignoring the counselor’s advice, when she had him stand up. She proceeded to sit down and she herself started registering her son for his classes.
I tried to intervene, letting her know that we ask that the student register themselves, and that he’ll be doing online registration for the rest of his college career. I was told to f**k off.
Later I pulled him aside and told him to change his password and swap into a class more appropriate for his placement exams.
It was this incident that triggered us to design a parent orientation to keep them away from their kids.
Welcome to adulthood lil bro!
As an RA, I was checking students into their dorm rooms. One mother came with her son, who looked to be about 25, and she would not let him get a single word in. She went on about it being his first year in college and that she was finally approving of him moving away from home and actually going to college (a big yikes we kept an eye on later). When he was assigned to a traditional room with a roommate, she flipped her s**t, saying how she wanted him in an apartment so she could stay with him whenever she wanted (can’t do that anyway) and she would withdraw him from school if she didn’t get her way. Thankfully, I was already dead inside from dealing with other residents so I checked her son in, and immediately gave him the number of my boss in case his mother gave any more problems while he was moving in.
I later heard from another RA that she tried to prevent the roommate from entering their shared room, even though her son was desperately trying to get her to leave. The RA and student security had to escort her out of the building where she sat until her son was done moving in.
The son was actually a really cool dude once his mother was out of his hair, and a really involved student, happy to be on his own and living the college life, even if he was a bit older. His mom still managed to call our duty phones asking about him, but Bc of federal laws we just hung up.
I watch a neighbor kid. He’s 15. The poor kid has no social/life skills. I do not blame him as his guardian (step mother) is crazy controlling. Up until this school year, she walked him to the bus stop (literally two houses down) then proceeded to wait until he boarded the bus. Once, she grounded him for talking to a stranger at McDonalds. As stated, the kid is 15. She refuses to let him do normal teenager things. The furthest he can walk alone is one house down, through an alley (to my house).
While working at new student orientation in college, I was told a story from a previous year. The parents who attended orientation were housed separately from the students. One mom wanted to stay with her daughter, and took the bed of another student. The mom told the student she can find somewhere else to sleep. The student, not knowing what to do, ended up sleeping in a chair in the common area of the dorm.
The mom of a former coworker of mine. He was 27 or 28 and his mom didn’t approve the woman he was dating, so he kept dating her in secret. He looked really in love with her (gf not so much but seemed happy)
Eventually his mom started calling me and a couple of other coworkers to check if her son was still dating that woman, so we lied to cover him
After a year or so of this secret relationship the girlfriend got pregnant, my coworker proposed and they started planning a small wedding. When the mom knew she went ballistic and forced him out of the engagement. He literally broke up with the future mother of his child because his mom said so
All of this happened 10 years ago, I still talk with the gf because I was friends with her, she is living with another guy, her daughter is 9 years old and never knew her biological dad
I have no idea (or interest of knowing) what happened with my former coworker, if he is still living with his mom or what happened
Probably not the worst, just the nearest to me.
My mom expects a call letting her know if i leave the house, where i’m going, etc. She flips out if i dont answer 2 calls in a row. Im not allowed to hang out with anybody, even family, without her approval.
1. I am 29.
2. I am married with kids.
3. I live an hour away from her in my own house with my own truck.
She also told me i am not allowed to have any more kids, as i developed preeclampsia with my youngest and it scared her.
I follow exactly zero of these rules, but she persists.
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My mom was awful. She pulled a bunch of controlling manipulative s**t all the way to college. My dad worked over seas most of the year. I never got to leave the house except with family, there was school and only school, no TV, non academic books, games, or friends. I was sent to private schools and she set up weekly meetings with my teachers, every waking moment was based around school.
Highschool was a living hell. I was quizzed in the morning at breakfast, tutoring and prep classes after school. I was doing ACT and SAT prep as a freshman. The only reason I was allowed to get a car and drive was to get myself to these after school sessions because my mother was to busy doing the same thing to my 8 year old sister. She kept a meticulous log of the cars milage to make sure I wasn’t going anywhere but those sessions.
Her “hard work” seemed to be validated when I was accepted into several top tier private colleges. We lived on the East Coast and in order to escape her I choose a school on the West Coast. I got a full ride academic scholarship and a campus job so my parents didn’t control my finances in anyway. I took summer courses not to go home. My mom would still try to do surprise “visits” to “check” (control me) but because she didn’t know where I lived in the college town or my schedule I could control the meet ups.
I finally made friends and got involved in activities out side school. I still worked hard in college and went to grad school, but I also learned to relax. I got tattoos which she flipped out about. My sister had a mental break down her senior year when I was just starting grad school. She tried to kill herself because she just couldn’t take the pressure and the constant lack of control over her own life. During her hospital stay her therapist chewed out my mother, who to this day believes she did nothing wrong. After months of therapy my sister ended up leaving the state and works on a farm in the Midwest. She has not talked to our mother for the past 5 years.
Not long after my sister left my fathers job brought him back to the States permanently and he ended up divorcing my mother. With out kids to control she started making his life hell too. I call her on Christmas, her birthday, and my birthday. She still believes she isn’t at fault for any of this.
It’s my opinion that many of these helicopter parents have a neurosis that makes them control freaks bordering on Munchausen’s by proxy. They crave validation of themselves through their children and end up hurting the kids more. I’m glad I’m at where I’m at today but the means by which I got here are and were never justified.
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Ugh this one kid I knew from elementary-high school.
The mom didn’t have a job and somehow managed to be at his school EVERY SINGLE DAY, watching over him.
In elementary she was a volunteer Teacher’s Aid every year which meant she would help out in whatever class he was in. By middle school, she was the head of the PTA and although not necessary she was at the campus almost every day. She would just wander around and eventually, the school stopped caring and she could do whatever she wants. She would randomly pop into one of his classes and just observe or come up to him to hangout with him at lunch.
The kid was 24/7 stressed the hell out, his whole body always clenched up. His mom put IMMENSE pressure on him to do well in school both academically and behavior wise.
He had an extremely hard time making friends and eventually he was bullied to the point of randomly getting beat up. Made it to the first year of high school before he had to transfer to another school.
It’s her fault, all she wanted was for him to be smart and polite to teachers and he never got to learn how to just be a guy and make friends.
My best friend’s mom. They live 10 minutes away from me, and my friend is REALLY bad with directions.
He drove to my house, and got lost, so it took him like 45 minutes. After like 30 minutes his mom calls me and is sobbing because he hadn’t checked in with her. He’s 26.
A mom came with her kid to whine about a (deserved) poor grade.
The “kid” was a junior in college. Mom was not happy when I informed her I couldn’t and wouldn’t talk to parents. And by “not happy” I mean “lost her s**t and was escorted out by campus security”.
The student was mortified of course, even came by to apologize and I was basically like “let’s both just pretend that never happened, m’kay, here’s what you should work on for the next exam”.