I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m a Helicopter Dad.
The first time I considered it was after another parent gave me the title on social media. No, it doesn’t mean I fly around in a helicopter. That’s for young, rich, fictitious billionaires who apparently give their helicopters goofy names like “Charlie Tango.” It also doesn’t mean I’m a superhero, which is what I thought the first time I heard it. I had to Google it: It means that I’m overprotective.
Me? Overprotective? I’m appalled!
After all, I’ve sworn my entire life that I wouldn’t be that kind of parent. I was going to be the cool dad who let his kids do all the stuff that he couldn’t do. After the first time I was called Helicopter Dad I got really pissy and did what any grown man would do: I responded with a snarky, passive-aggressive Facebook post from behind the safety of my own keyboard. That’ll show ‘em!
My parents were the overprotective ones. My mom wouldn’t let me ride in the car with any of my peers until I was well past driving age, a rule that I broke a lot. Sorry, mom!
When I did start driving, my dad somehow knew everywhere I went, always. I didn’t get to go to many parties, etc. I remember thinking during my teen years that, “I’ll never be this strict on my kids.” Fast forward 20 years and here I am, grilling No. 3 about who’s going to be at the house where she’s going to sleep over: “Will you be going anywhere? Who’s driving? How long will you be there? You need to text me before you go anywhere and after you get there and… wait, what is on your eye?! Are you wearing makeup!?”
She’s a great kid and makes good decisions, which is really all I want. But now she wants a Snapchat. This probably doesn’t seem too bad to most people. I know a lot of kids her age are on it. But this is my daughter, my sweet little girl. Enter — dun-dun-duuuuun — Helicopter Dad! She presented a good argument: “I need it so I can talk to my friends.” Apparently, the phone she has is useless for communication unless outfitted with Snapchat. Go figure.
The problem isn’t with her. It’s the little boys she goes to school with. I know what those little heathens are thinking! Not only was I a prepubescent boy at one point in my life, but I also just went through all this stuff with No. 2. I equate it to sending her into the boys locker room and telling her to cover her eyes.
It’s just a bad idea. She’s bound to run into something and it ain’t gonna be good. Maybe I just read too many horror stories online but it seems like kids today are abnormally eager to send their peers pictures of their naughty bits. I don’t get it. I mean, I get it, but I don’t get it. I wasn’t really trying to let people see me naked at that age. As a matter of fact, I don’t really want anyone seeing me naked now, either. But, I digress.
It’s not just her that I’m overprotective of. No. 4 wants to have his own YouTube channel. He wants it more than anything. What should I expect? He’s just like his dad. He isn’t happy unless he’s demanding attention in some way shape or form. But, I’m too afraid of online bullies. Then there’s No. 2; I’m always on his case about the music he listens to, just like my parents were on mine.
What happened to me? How did I get so uptight? It’s something about having kids, I guess. I’m always afraid that one small incident is going to change the course of their life and lead them to a life of crime and despair or something. It’s quite possible that I’m trying too damn hard. They’ve done pretty good so far, maybe it’s time to ease up a little.
Anyone want to buy a helicopter?