Some have heard of this term, others may be wondering what it is.
To clarify, “helicopter parenting” relates to a parent that hovers around their child, being overprotective, shadowing them, keeping a short distance between them, in case of accidents and other life issues.
This is me. I’m a helicopter parent. The thing is, I don’t want to be one. I certainly never chose to be one. It kind of just happened.
Friends have called it “mollycoddling” or “Mummifying”. People have judged me, and my children, calling my son “clingy”, telling me I should just “let him get on with it” when he hurts himself or gets sick.
It would seem, the term ‘Helicopter Parenting’ brings with it, nothing but negativity. Go and see for yourself-Google the term, and you’ll be met with articles entitled “How To Stop Being A Helicopter Parent”, “How Being A Helicopter Parent Will Damage Your Children”, and apparent “facts” about being one.
Because of all the negativity surrounding the term, and others views on my parenting specifically, I started becoming really aware of how close I was to my child, forcing myself to take a step back and trying not to be as bothered when he hurt himself, or to be stronger when he became sick.
But I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t hold it in.
My mental health issues dictate and consume my life. I can keep them at bay most of the time, but triggers, such as sleep deprivation (something very common with little ones in your care) and stress, exacerbate the issues. No matter what you do to suppress them, they always come back.
My anxiety disorders consist of generalised anxiety, social anxiety and health anxiety.
Health Anxiety is the less known out of the three so let me shed a little light on what this actually means for those that suffer from it.
Also unfortunately labelled as “hypochondria“, symptoms for those that suffer with health anxiety include;
Excessive worrying about your health, to the point it affects daily life.
Getting a headache or chest pains (due to anxiety) and assuming you have a life threatening health issue.
Worrying about future health issues you may have.
Those suffering from health anxiety can constantly need to seek information and reassurance–for example; obsessively researching illnesses from the internet, booking frequent GP appointments, and having frequent tests that don’t find any problems.
My health anxiety doesn’t just flare up when I’m poorly. Sure I assume I’m dying each time I have an odd headache, my glands are up, or I’ve felt unwell for a longer period of time than I deem “normal”.
But it also expands into worrying about my kids health too.
I know everyone does that-we all worry when our kids are sick. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a parent who doesn’t worry when their kid gets sick.
But mine is to the extent where I can’t sleep.
Because I’m thinking up all of the health related issues that could happen to my kids.
I’m thinking about all the ways I’ll have to deal with them.
I’m checking all the doors are ajar upstairs so I can hear them clearly-but still thinking I can hear them faintly, when I actually can’t.
I’m picking my phone up every few minutes to check that it’s charging, and making a mental note to take the charger in a bag along with other bits and bobs I’ve earmarked in case we need to go to hospital.
I get jealous of my husband who’s sleeping through without worry, and isn’t hearing the kids coughing or calling out.
I’m angry that I’m like this and I wish I wasn’t.
The following day I’ll be tired, and my anxiety in general will be worse because that’s just how it works. It’s a vicious circle, having these issues, and it’s genuinely the hardest thing to get up the next morning and paint on your happy Mummy face, after the previous night’s events.
I am a “helicopter parent”. But it’s not as clean cut as that one label.
So, before you judge someone’s over-protectiveness, their mollycoddling, Mummifying, or smothering of their child-take a step back and think that maybe, you don’t have all the facts. Maybe, that’s not who they want to be, but it is who they are-and judging/labelling them for something that they can’t control or fix isn’t going to solve anything.
For more information on health anxiety see the NHS website HERE.
For more lifestyle, parenting and mental health posts (and everything in between) head over to my main website HERE.