Open Letter to Helicopter Parents

I am an adult with children of my own. Two years ago my mom
passed away and I thought I handled her loss very well. Recently I have figured
out that my mom was a helicopter-parent.

I loved her very much but she was human, and apparently a
helicopter, all at the same time. This big realisation came as I struggle with
having a successful business. (Hardly a complaint I assure you, but rather an
a-ha moment.) I keep seeking out others to validate me and my work. For heavens
sake, this constant need for validation and acknowledgement was wearing me out
and getting me nowhere.

It was in this mire of insecurity that I figured it out. My
mom fixed everything for me, my teenage angst, my projects, my bedroom.
Everything. She would come along and tell me in words that what I had done was
great but then go ahead and add something or straighten something. Her words
were drowned out by her message, “This is fine but not quite good
enough.”

Shame becomes a big part of the lives of children of
helicopter parents. In the moment, as a young child, I became grateful that I
had a parent who would make my things better, do it better than I could. (‘it’
meaning everything from tying shoelaces to art projects to writing speeches.)
In time I stopped trying so hard because I needed to give her room to make it
better. As I grew older I stopped finishing projects and I started
procrastinating. Her approach caused me to stop trying so that I could save
face, so that I could not have my best work improved upon.  In the last
decade I have found that I am very good at what I do but in equal measure I do
not feel good at what I do.

A significant part of being a productive adult and
effective learner is not only being competent but more importantly, feeling
competent. Children of parents who, with love and great intention, do too much
for their children raise children who never feel good enough, always feel some
shame about their work whether it is in their career, hobbies, running a home,
relationships.

I am working on this now that I have identified it. I hope
to not bother my friends with insecurities as much anymore. I hope to be
comfortable with my skills and talents.

Author: Lauren Edmunds – Copyright

Posted in

Lauren Edmunds

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