Helicopter Parenting or Parenting Parenting?

My kids often accuse suggest to me that I am overly strict and involved in their lives. While I would probably have to plead “no contest” to such a charge in court, I think, I hope and I pray that I am doing this whole mama thing right.  But am I?

For example: an eleven year old girl in our neighborhood is aggressively pursuing my thirteen year old son (about to be fourteen in a month).  Her facebook photo is of her in a bikini (for crying out loud).  I have intervened by informing her that her facebook messages to him are inappropriate (because I monitor all his facebook messages).  I have intervened by bringing my son inside when she is riding her bike past our house obsessively while he is playing basketball (in our driveway).  That (so far) has been the extent of my “psychopathic parenting”–quoting my son on that one.  I think he is flattered by the attention.

What I want to do is hunt down the parents of this child and shake ask them if they are asleep on the job or what?  Are you aware that your ELEVEN year old daughter is this focused on the opposite sex? It is truly frightening to me.

What I should do is where I falter.

When I intervene as I have am I over reacting?

Are these issues my son needs to handle on his own?

I don’t have all the answers to this parenting teen thing.  I pray without ceasing about these boys that God has entrusted to my care.

I will give account for my parenting one day…

Am I helicopter parenting or parenting parenting?

I don’t know- do you?

Please feel free to submit your posts about parenting teens/tweens in the MckLinky.

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  1. You are not overparenting. First of all you are suppose to be 13 to be on FB. My daughter tried to lie about her age cause she only had four months til her birthday, but we shut it down. YOU ARE THE PARENT. Let me repeat, you are the parent and can not let your child rule you out of these sort of decisions. My attitude is you pay now or you pay later. I had to tell one of my daughters she could not go to the prom not once but twice her jr. and sr. year. Boy did I feel terrible but you know what she thanks me now. We have a really close relationship because I held my ground. As hard as it is and she will give you the “everyone is on FB or I can’t live with out it” that is when its time to pull the plug. Sorry to be so blunt but if you want to discuss more contact me, dm me on twitter and I can give you my cell and we can chat. I have raised 6 daughters and have a 13 year old at home now so know what you are going through. It is not time for you to be her friend unfortunately….that comes later.

  2. michellepoteet says:

    No teens/tweens in our house yet, but my two cents is that you are just being a good mom. Honestly even at the young age of 6 (which is my oldest) parents are already “hands-off”. Your morals and beliefs when it comes to parenting are obviously very different then this young girls parents. Since you can't control this little girl, you have to take charge of your side of the situation. Educating our children on what is appropriate and inappropriate! You go girl! You're doing a great job!

  3. What does your son think? My first reaction would be to go to the girls house and talk to her parents and discuss the content of the Facebook messages. That is probably going overboard but maybe her parents honestly have no clue and if the roles were reversed wouldn't you want someone to tell you if your child was doing something inapprioriate?

    • That is something I wrestle with, Michelle. And yes, I would absolutely
      want someone to tell me if my child was acting inappropriately but
      unfortunately not all parents feel that way.

  4. No you aren't overparenting or helicopter parenting (I so hate that term). Honest to goodness if you have told her that her messages are inappropriate and they continue I'd block her. My son is being aggressively pursued by a 12 year old right now (He'll be 16 this year). We are working with him on his response. Thankfully he's not impressed and doesn't appreciate her pursuit, but he's trying to be very sweet in his responses to her.

    • oh my Sheri. I am glad that your son is not impressed by the attention of
      that little girl. Blocking is a good idea and something I honestly hadn't
      thought of (I am a tad emotional about this)

  5. I agree with Barbara and Michelle – you are parent parenting, not helicopter parenting. Growing up, I always thought my parents were SO strict. Not only am I grateful to them now (of course I wasn't back then), but I would say that I am at least as strict as they were with my little ones.
    I don't have tweens/teens yet, but I know the attitude that you're describing. Her parents should be thanking you for intervening where they aren't! Keep up the good work!

  6. TheProfessionalFamilyManager says:

    Having been a college prof and having a daughter in the dance world, I've seen helicopter parents…and you are not one of them.

    In our culture today, imposing any restrictions on our kids is paramount to near child abuse. We're supposed to reason with children who have not completely learned and developed their reasoning capabilities. We're supposed to encourage their self-esteem to the point where we can't place any restrictions on our children for fear of damaging their psyche. And nothing is ever a child's fault–it's the fault of society or their socio-economic status or some other thing that absolves everyone of personal responsibility. It's very sad.

    Having standards, rules, and morals is not being a helicopter parent. Compared to other parents, your son probably feels you are one–I know my kids think I'm too strict, too. But, then, my oldest two were homeschooled until this year, and almost every day they come home and thank me for keeping them out as the two of them can't believe how other kids behave and what their parents let them get away with. Your son may be more used to seeing this type of behavior. Sadly, I think it is the norm.

    I doubt the parents of this young girl see anything wrong with what she is doing. After all, kids do this stuff these days, it's no big deal….sigh. I don't think saying anything to the parents would change how they parent or help this girl. But you can help your son. Right now he may not appreciate it and hate that he has the most strict parents ever…but when he's an adult he will appreciate it. We're not here to win a popularity contest with our kids…we're here to set good examples and raise them well. What you are doing for your son is true love for him.

    • Thank you Michele. And this is so true…we treat kids like adults too
      soon. The parts of their brain responsible for judgment and forecasting
      aren't fully developed until they are in their mid twenties..that is why I
      feel strongly it is my place to be that part of their brain right now. I
      just wish more parents felt that way. Scary to think of the generation to

  7. secretmomthoughts says:

    I think you are just parenting. I'm scared for that 11 year old girl. It is normal for girls to have crushes at that age but the bikini pic on FB is scary.

  8. kristen_momssharpeningmoms says:

    KUDDOS to you, Melissa, for being an intentional parent. In my opinion, you would be flirting with helicopter parenting if you shut down his fb page altogether because you wanted to control by severely limiting his interaction with others. I think monitoring its comments and discussing his response to her attention is totally acceptable, appropriate and necessary!

    We need more Mamas like you!!

  9. We have been discussing issues like this for the past several weeks in our Bible study – as our culture becomes more and more morally degraded, sexuality is becoming more broken – we are flaunting our shame.

    I've been asking myself if I'm a helicopter mom lately, too! But, I also think that the majority of parents around me are naive about the amount of REAL danger that is constantly surrounding their children. As my children's peers are allowed to become hyper sexualized at an alarmingly early age, I think it is my duty as a Christian parent to protect their innocence for as long as possible and then intentionally train them to know how to deal with it as they grow older.

    Keep up the good work, mom! Even “good” kids from good Christian homes are still… kids. They need us to PARENT them.

  10. As the mother of a 10-yr-old daughter, I am sadly not surprised by this sort of behavior. And, I truly wonder WHY DOES AN 11 YR OLD NEED A FACEBOOK PAGE?????? I guess the question could be asked why any of us do … but seriously, 11. Isn't that just asking for trouble?

    I think you are parenting. Period. And, as I just explained to my daughter on Monday night, there are just going to be times when we make decisions on her behalf that she doesn't like or understand. Sometimes our job is to protect our kids from themselves and their own lack of understanding.

    As we've discussed, I don't miss the days of late night feedings and potty training ~ they were physically and mentally exhausting. But these days of tween angst and adolescent boundary making/defying ~ the exhaustion spiritually and emotionally is overwhelming at times. I find myself CONSTANTLY praying for wisdom.

  11. I am a mom to three boys. My oldest is only getting ready to turn 7, but it doesnt sound like you are being a helicopter mom. You don't stand outside watching him the entire time he plays basketball or evesdrop on the phone to know these things, they are put out in the open in front of you in a way that a good mom could not miss.
    I worry about our boys in that while boys are more often open and blunt in their thoughts and intentions it seems to me that girls are more manipulative and devious about things like this.
    It is scary the things that girls are wearing younger and younger every day.
    Good luck.

  12. Melissa,
    May I encourage you? You're a great mama! You're not interfering at all. You're teaching your son that he needs to have boundaries too (especially against an aggressive little one in a bikini!!). I am not speaking to your son's character at all when I say this (I don't know him), but a 14-year old boy (any boy his age) would of course be flattered by the attention of a younger girl. My goodness, we're human. But, he may not be old enough yet to determine that she could spell real trouble for him. Your “intervening” is what a mama should be doing. You're showing your son you love him and that he is important to you.

    It's sad to see so many young people like this girl you've described work so hard to get the attention of boys…bikini's…posting those pics on FB…my goodness. She should be enjoying time with her family and friends doing girl things (no boys allowed!).

    We have two daughters, 10 and 7. We do it now and we will continue to do it – help them to understand that they are special to God and to us. That it is worth waiting for marriage, etc.

    You're a GREAT mama!

    I hope you've been encouraged…

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