Signs You Might be a Helicopter Parent

Momservation: You just might be a helicopter parent if you’re figuring out ways to casually pop-in on your kid three hours away at sleep-away camp in the Sierra Mountains cause you “happened to be in the neighborhood.”

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pic courtesy of kvki

I’ve come to a stark realization this week.

I’m a helicopter parent. I’ve become that parent that I swore I’d never be and hated dealing with when I taught 5th grade.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

Helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.

Do you think trying to change your daughter’s group for sleep-away camp before they even get on the bus because she’s doesn’t seem comfortable with them counts as a helicopter parent?

What about thinking of driving up to the camp, 100+ miles away, to bring warmer clothes because the weather forecast changed?

How about contemplating breaking the rules by sending up a cell phone with a parent bringing their kid to camp late, just so you can call and check to make sure they’re having fun and like the food?

I know. I need to call the control tower and report my flight plan.

I first heard the term “helicopter parent” used about parents of college age children who continued to be heavily involved in their children’s lives and even solving their problems for them despite them reaching adulthood and moving away.

I thought these parents were ridiculous and doing their kids a serious disservice in learning responsibility, accountability, and independence, as well as stunting their growth.

I’ll tell you what. If I don’t land this chopper soon go ahead and sew a big red “R” for ridiculous on my shirt.

I guess I’m taking the first steps to reforming myself because I recognize the problem. But for those of you who may not recognize your own flight pattern over your children, here’s a helpful list:

Signs You Might be a Helicopter Parent

  1. You run out on a field of play during a time-out to apply sunscreen.
  2. You want a syllabus at Back-to-School night to see what projects you’ll be working out this year.
  3. You think the joke of wanting to wrap your kid in bubble wrap is really not that bad of an idea.
  4. You’ve never thought twice about bringing a forgotten lunch, book, homework assignment, or class project left on the counter to your child at school as soon as you discover it. With a note attached: ♥ u, Mom
  5. When your child complains about their teacher, you volunteer to “help” in the classroom under your policy of “keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”
  6. You will not let your child have a play-date (side note: you use the term “play-date”) with someone whose mom serves unhealthy snacks like trail mix with m&m’s.
  7. Your kid can’t hear what the coach is telling them to do because of your yelling from the stands (actually, that’s a sign of an obnoxious parent).
  8. If your child is not cool with you seeing them naked and you still put toothpaste on their toothbrush for them.
  9. Your child has had a smart phone since kindergarten and checks in with you at snack recess.
  10. You’ve had a doctor tell you the “rash” is just a red Gatorade mustache.  


Let’s add to this list! What are your Signs You Might be a Helicopter Parent?


  1. Shelly Phillips says:

    Love the post and here are my contributions to the list 🙂

    You might be a helicopter parent if you’re texting the babysitter from the elyptical machine at your gym.

    You might be a helicopter parent if you can’t leave for a date with your husband without telling the babysitter exactly how your daughter likes her hair brushed.

  2. Cantsay ThenThe NeighborsWillKnowHa says:

    You might be a helicopter parent if you organize the TP attack on the neighbors for your kids so that they will have a successful TP adventure and not get busted! Oh, and in the end you go along to ensure they enact the plan precisely!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      You sound suspiciously like you know of which you speak…my daughter went on one these adult led TP adventures on a sleepover. I always thought the sneaking out was the big highlight of TPing. Good one!

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