How to Lay Low as Helicopter Moms

14 September 2009
Today I bring you a wonderful guest post by Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. This article really hits home with me as my oldest if starting to spread his wings. Dan and I talked just the other day about how in trying to keep him on the straight and narrow, we've actually been smothering him and actually make him more rebellious. Parenting is such an adventure! Anyway, this article is great for those of us having a hard time letting our kiddos start to find their independence.

Huge thanks to Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. for this great post. Stop by their blog, Nourishing Relationships for more wonderful family information.

How to Lay Low as Helicopter Moms

By Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D.

As your teenagers begin to drive and enjoy their new freedom, you may find that letting go is harder than you thought. Are you having trouble cutting the apron strings? Perhaps you're stuck in a new phenomenon that falls under the colorful moniker, Helicopter Mom. If you're hovering - offering protection from life’s ups and downs or micromanaging from afar - you fit the description perfectly. Begin to step back by following these practical tips:

1. Encourage your kidults to take on more personal responsibility. Insist that they get a part-time job and open a bank account. Pull back as they learn new time and money management skills.

2. Resist taking on chores that now should fall to your growing children. As much as cleaning their rooms and helping with homework have been part of your job description for many years, it may be time to pass the baton.

3. As they make more of their own decisions, be supportive but let them deal with the consequences. They will face lots of decisions about assignments, dating and extra curricular activities. It’s been said before, but experience really is the best teacher.

4. Make sure that school activities are on your agenda. You'll meet other parents, teachers and administrators who understand - this is the best way to find out what's going on.

5. Focus on your kidults’ positive qualities and think of reasons to support their unique ideas. Remember that part of their job right now is to develop problem solving skills. In preparation for college, they need to learn more about the joys and responsibilities of independence.

6. Discover what you feel passionate about. Follow your dream of returning to school or changing jobs. Join a hiking group or exercise class. Take up bridge or yoga. Put yourself front and center for a change.

It's time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In the end, your emerging adult children need to be accountable for their own actions. That's the only way they'll become more self-sufficient and self confident. Isn’t that what you really want anyway?

© Her Mentor Center

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. & Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are co-founders of, a website dedicated to the issues of midlife women and, a blog for the sandwich generation. They are co-authors of a forthcoming book about women and their family relationships. As psychotherapists, they have over 40 years of collective private practice experience.

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1 comment:

lynette355 said...

what great advice for moms of kids preteen to twenties
thanks for the reminders