0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by nextTalk.org, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim On AM 630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents cyber parent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:37 – Speaker 2
Today’s show is about helicopter parenting.
0:00:41 – Speaker 3
Oh, my goodness, that is such a popular phrase. Yeah, and you know me.
0:00:44 – Speaker 2
I hate labels. You do Like I hate labeling people certain things. But I do think we can kind of look at this concept, sure, and see some characteristics of what it means to be a helicopter parent and look in the mirror. You know we always need to be doing some self-evaluation to help this relationship with our kids.
0:01:03 – Speaker 3
Well, I’m preparing for the show. I was looking in the mirror a lot. I was like, hey, that’s you a little bit Like me. No, me, me, me.
0:01:10 – Speaker 2
Well, I don’t know, wait a minute. Yeah, I got some stuff I don’t know. I got some stories for you. Let’s be real. Yeah, no, I’m just kidding.
0:01:16 – Speaker 3
I can only speak for myself, but I’ve had those helicopter moments, and so we want to talk about what it means to be a helicopter parent, and if you’re doing that, or you have a dear friend who’s doing it, why? Maybe that’s not the best route?
0:01:29 – Speaker 2
Right, well, and let’s define it first. Yeah, like what does it really mean? It kind of means you’re just all up in your kid’s business. Mm-hmm, you, I have trouble pronouncing this word. Say it for me too. When you are like hovering over Hovering, I always say hoover. Hoover is a vacuum, honey. Yeah, I say it wrong. There are some words that I say wrong sometimes. It’s okay, it’s okay.
0:01:51 – Speaker 3
So hovering is the word, it’s the word that we’re looking for here. When you hover over your kids, you know their phone, their life, their friendships, their world, their challenges. You’re just in it all the time. That’s a helicopter parent.
0:02:05 – Speaker 2
You’re a micro manager.
0:02:06 – Speaker 3
0:02:07 – Speaker 2
Good point, right? I mean you got to be in everything? Yeah, you can’t let them. And and you know, in defense of parents everywhere, when they are younger you’re going to be more in their business, absolutely. But as they get older and you’ve taught them things, you got to let them figure things out on their own.
0:02:25 – Speaker 3
Yes, and I think there’s a difference between a helicopter parent and a parent who is setting a standard, you know, following up, guiding along and then stepping back to let your child figure it out.
0:02:36 – Speaker 1
Implement that and figure it out.
0:02:37 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and so there’s this hard balance when you’re parenting to kind of be an example and set a standard, but let them fly.
0:02:45 – Speaker 2
Yeah. So before we dig into this concept a little more deeper, let’s talk about the opposite of being a helicopter parent, because I think that kind of plays into how we understand it as well. And we were talking through this. It’s kind of like a hands-off parent, Sure, Somebody who I mean, you just make sure they’re fed and alive basically, maybe a roof over their head, yeah, but you’re not in their business. This would be like the total opposite.
0:03:09 – Speaker 3
I recall having a friend like that, growing up and like no curfew, really no rules, like she could just stay for days at the house and it was no problem, Just totally the opposite, and it was. It was hard for me to comprehend.
0:03:24 – Speaker 2
You know my kids and I we talk about that. We actually read a verse last night in Proverbs and it was about disciplining your child and my 11-year-old, the youngest in our family. He said Mom, this is why you set rules for us, because you don’t want us to be brats. Yeah, when we’re growing up. Yes, and I thought how awesome that he’s understanding the why behind the rules.
0:03:49 – Speaker 3
0:03:49 – Speaker 2
You know, because we talk about it. It’s not just me trying to be mean, or me trying to make your life miserable, it’s I. I have been called to be your parent and that means I have to teach you life lessons. Right, that’s what I’m called to do as your parent. And how cool that he gets to see that that is awesome, you know, and kind of respect the guidelines a little bit more.
0:04:09 – Speaker 3
To full circle moment.
0:04:10 – Speaker 2
It was kind of a cool moment when we were having our scripture time.
0:04:14 – Speaker 3
So it really is. It’s easy to understand when you think of it that way, as someone who kind of shirks that responsibility. They say you know what? You’re here, you’re alive, that’s really all I’m going to do for you, yeah, and, and I have seen that and it’s. It’s not a good situation either.
0:04:29 – Speaker 2
And so you know that that’s kind of the opposite of where we are today, what we’re talking about, because the helicopter parent has to have their hand in everything. They can’t let go, basically, and I think it operates really we, we helicopter and I’ve been so guilty of it, especially when my kids were younger of, because I’m fearful, like I’m afraid.
0:04:50 – Speaker 3
I think, if we’re really honest About where that behavior comes from, a lot of times it is from fear Something that has happened to you in your past that you want to save your child from, or protect your child from Experiencing or fear of, things you don’t know. So for a lot of parents, technology and the pace at which it moves and the accessibility that it provides is Scary. That is a word we hear all the time from parents, especially of people who are moving towards that phase of letting their kids have a cell phone. They’re afraid because they don’t know all of the things that their kids could be exposed to and they don’t know how to protect them.
0:05:30 – Speaker 2
It’s overwhelming and let’s kind of talk about that from a cyber parenting standpoint. You know, from a helicopter parent, you would give your kid a phone, but you would be all up in it all the time. Yeah, you know. And from a hands-off parent, you would give your kids a phone and you would just not want to know anything.
You would set no guidelines. So that’s kind of what the two opposite spectrums look like in my mind. You know the nextTalk family would would find that balance Mm-hmm, and they would set clear guidelines, but they would be able to know when their kids phone needs to be checked less. You know they would build that trust, sure, and set that. We always say, set that cell phone contract. But then you also need an exit strategy because you know when they get that contract they’re new and they’re learning it. You’re checking their text more often. You’re saying, give me your phone a lot more often. But then you know five years later they’re much older and You’re trusting them. We have a team member who says trust what you’ve taught.
Yes and I love that and I think of it often. You know, my daughter is um 14 now and I don’t check her phone near as much as I used to, because there’s a trust there and she’s Constantly telling me things she’s still seeing online, like that’s a constant conversation in our home and so. But at the beginning I was a little bit of a helicopter parent because I was afraid yes, I didn’t know. I mean, it was like an experiment for me, right?
0:07:02 – Speaker 3
Absolutely Well. And you know, for parents of younger kids like myself, introducing the tablets to our boys Was scary. Like I remember wanting to just sit next to them all the time, like, if you’re gonna have tablet time, you got to sit by mommy because I wanted to watch and make sure. Like they’re not gonna see anything, they’re not gonna do anything, what’s out there, what’s gonna get them? And that was going through my head and I remember thinking you know, god doesn’t want to have us, doesn’t want us to have a spirit of fear.
This isn’t where I need to be and I don’t want to model that to my kids, and we had already talked about what do we do when we see something. They knew the rules and the protocol. They knew why they were doing it. You know the why behind it to protect your heart and mind and how important that is. And so I would sit with them a little bit and then I’d go in the other room and let them have their free time and they would report to me when they would see things or when they would have a question or if they wanted to download a new Game. They were doing the things that we talked about, and so I would talk them through that. You’ve built mommy’s trust up, because these are the guidelines and standards we set to keep you safe and you’re following through. And so let out that kai string a little bit you know, I’d I’d be in another room, they could play on their own.
You can add more games and it was less scary for me because I knew that they would tell me just Like your story with Ella you the fear goes away when you know they’re gonna come and they’re going to be honest with you. Yeah, and we’ve had some you know hiccups and we’ve had some mess ups. We talked through that and then we start the trust building process again. But if I was standing over them all the time and Checking everything that they did, how would I ever know that they were implementing the things that we talked about?
0:08:41 – Speaker 2
How would I ever know they wouldn’t have an opportunity to report anything bad to you exactly? I’d be seeing the hovering. Am I saying it right?
0:08:49 – Speaker 3
you were hovering, hovering you can be Vacuuming if you want, but I’m gonna talk about hovering.
0:08:57 – Speaker 2
With that word. I don’t know, you know just some words, you can’t say right, that’s one of them for me.
0:09:02 – Speaker 3
It’s okay, girl, you just keep on vacuuming.
0:09:05 – Speaker 2
I love your story cam, because you know, because you are teaching them and you’re not Up in it all the time. When they get a cell phone, I mean, it’s gonna be so much easier. And it’s the same way. You’re gonna be more involved with the cell phone process in the beginning.
But, you’ve already set these guidelines. I mean, I didn’t have that. We went into it with a cell phone. I mean we had a, you know, we had a family iPad, but I didn’t have really family guidelines. I mean, I missed this thing. Y’all know my story, sure, and so it was a whole new thing for me to learn, but you are way ahead of the game, which is where thank you, many majors, because of you, parents of young kids.
We want you where Kim is. We want you way ahead of the game. So when they do get a cell phone, you’re like five years ahead of this thing.
0:09:52 – Speaker 3
Well, and you? I’ll be honest with you. Like I said, we’ve messed up, we’ve done things wrong, we’ve had moments where they’ve made bad choices. We’re all human, but being able to practice that when they’re younger is a lot easier when then, when they’re older. So if you have a chance to set these guidelines when they’re little and the infractions are smaller unless life changing man does it help?
0:10:14 – Speaker 2
Well, and they listen to you more. Like you’re still cool, you’re still like the one who knows everything. Yes, that’s true. I mean, when you move into a cell phone era, you know they’re older and you’re not cool anymore. Like, so you’ve got that whole thing working against you as well, and so it could be a perfect storm. Okay, so this whole helicoptering thing, you know it can be applied. We’ve talked about it in cyberpainting, but it can be applied to a lot of different stories that don’t even have anything to do with cell phones.
0:10:44 – Speaker 3
Yeah, I have to tell you, when we were talking about this show, the first image that came to mind that was impactful for me is my mother-in-law lived with us for a while and I would hear her from the other room sometimes going oh Kim, oh oh. And I’d be like what is going on in the kitchen? And I would come around the corner and she’d be like there’s knives in the dishwasher. I’d be like, yes, that is where we wash them. She’d say, well, I can’t unload those knives, it’s just too scary, and so I’d have to unload the knives. She’d unload everything else.
0:11:14 – Speaker 2
We all have our fears.
0:11:16 – Speaker 3
We all have our thing. And I’d unload the knives for her and if we’d be cooking dinner and I’d say me, mom, do you wanna, you know, help cut up an onion or whatever? And she’d be like I’ll do anything that doesn’t involve a knife, like let me stir, let me use a spoon. And so we were having a conversation once, kind of trying to talk about where that fear of knives came from, like, just like, even a butter knife is a whole thing. And we were able to talk through and talk back to when she was a child in the kitchen with her mom. Her mom would hover over her doing anything, didn’t let her pour milk, didn’t let her do anything in the kitchen.
And when she got a little bit older and was able to use a knife, her mom would say, oh, you know, as she would try to like cut the tomato, oh no, and instill this deep fear of a knife. And you would think, well, someone would grow out of it, maybe someone with this. Woman now is almost 80 years old and she gave me permission to talk about this and she said you know, it’s sad for me that I never overcame my whole life. I have been fearful of that because my mom. Never let me take the instruction and the direction and do it on my own. Never let me do it. And so here she is a senior still doesn’t use knives.
0:12:32 – Speaker 2
So this story right here in my mind, I’m thinking how am I scarring my children, cause I know I’m doing it in something. Well, we all do Right because of our thinking.
0:12:41 – Speaker 3
We all have stuff, it all stems from fear of a repeated mistake or our child taking on something or being exposed to something that we don’t want them to.
0:12:50 – Speaker 2
Which is why self-evaluation is so key on this journey To always look in the mirror and deal with our own stuff, so we’re not passing it on to our kids, if you’re just now tuning in.
0:13:00 – Speaker 3
This is nextTalk Radio at 2PM on AM 630,. The word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organization. Go to nextTalk.org and click on give.
0:13:18 – Speaker 2
Okay, I got a story for you.
0:13:19 – Speaker 3
0:13:20 – Speaker 2
And it’s funny, when we were talking about this show, I wrote a blog post about this years ago, like before I wrote a book. Any of the nextTalk stuff happened, and it was about helicopter parenting and the title of it was Am I a Helicopter Parent? Because I had a light bulb moment when my daughter was younger and I think I was a helicopter parent.
0:13:43 – Speaker 3
I think we all are a little bit yeah, especially when they’re little.
0:13:46 – Speaker 2
So she came home from school and I’m thinking second or third grade at this point, I mean, she was younger, much younger, and she kept saying to me I got set at a table with all boys and they keep using bad words. Well, in my mind, you know, the bad words are like the F word, like, my mind goes dirty.
0:14:05 – Speaker 3
I guess your mind goes dirty, I’m defaulted. I’m defaulted to dirty, okay.
0:14:12 – Speaker 2
That’s another shirt. No more defaulting to love, but defaulted to dirty.
0:14:16 – Speaker 3
Defaulted dirty Okay.
0:14:19 – Speaker 2
So in my mind. So I’m bracing myself. You know I’m like well, what kind of words. And she’s like, well, fart and burp and poop, and you know all these like bathroom words.
0:14:30 – Speaker 3
A little girl with not having older brother. Yeah, I mean, she was so refreshing.
0:14:35 – Speaker 2
She said older. You know she was the oldest child, so we had a younger brother, but he was still so he was a baby.
0:14:41 – Speaker 3
0:14:42 – Speaker 2
So, yeah, she wasn’t kind of exposed to all that. And so you know my knee jerk reaction. I kind of went back to when I was in elementary school again, we’re seeing this trend and you know how I would have things. But I didn’t feel like anybody would advocate for me. Yes, and so in my mind I’m like, well, I’m sending an email to the teacher, like this is, I’m just gonna get this done. Yep, and I had like a check myself moment where I was like wait a minute. You know, the teacher knows the whole class. There may be a reason why she has my kids sitting at this table. You know, it may be to help with something, who knows. And so I thought I’m just gonna pause for a minute before I, because I had the email drafted and ready to go. You know like Mama Bear came out five minutes later she tells me this I’m like you gotta move my child. Yes, and bless our teachers Bless them.
0:15:40 – Speaker 3
Well, they’re saying God bless you right now for not like slamming her.
0:15:44 – Speaker 2
You know they get this all the time Like parents Non-stop, like demanding things for their kid Non-stop. I’m just gonna leave that at there.
0:15:54 – Speaker 3
That’s a whole nother show.
0:15:55 – Speaker 2
That’s a whole nother show, but I had to. It was one of those moments where I was like I am helicoptering right now. Like my kid is in second or third grade. If she has a problem, why can’t she go to the teacher and talk to the teacher? Like she needs to learn how to communicate with adults. Yes, right. And so this whole process happened. We went through this. I’ll shorten the story here a little bit but at the end of this thing my kid was able to have a one-on-one conversation with the teacher. The teacher responded beautifully and said thank you for telling me I didn’t know you were struggling with this. Like thank you for bringing it to my attention, all these wonderful things that I would have like scripted the teacher to say yes.
The teacher said right, imagine that. I mean, they know better than me, guys, they’re a teacher.
0:16:42 – Speaker 1
0:16:43 – Speaker 2
So, but it was a great learning experience for me in the fact of letting her figure it out. Yeah, and I think the life skills she needs to be able to when she’s uncomfortable or in a situation she needs to be able to voice that without having. I mean, can you imagine a kid in college calling me and saying mom, you got to email my professor because I don’t like who I sat next to? You know? It is so crazy.
0:17:08 – Speaker 3
Please tell me that isn’t, that doesn’t. No, it’s so crazy. You say that. I just listened to a podcast the other day from the dean of a university and he said in all of his years, he never imagined that he spends most of his days all day responding to emails and calls from parents trying to fix things for their college student, like with their professors, with their dorm room, with he doesn’t like the meatloaf in.
I mean, seriously, you are. And he’s like I never see the kids, like they never come in and talk to me, they never Write a letter, they never stopped me in the hallway. He’s like I hear from more parents than I do students. It is the strangest Generation and I thought, wow, and then we were writing this show about helicopter parenting. This is a great point. We’ve got to Step back so our kids know how to handle things on their own. If we, if we’re hovering over them, they never learn that skill. Yeah, it’s like robbing them of something they need to be successful in life.
0:18:08 – Speaker 2
It’s so true. I mean it was. It was a moment for me and I still think about it, and we’ve had instances since then. Now, now that she’s Going into high school, I don’t have much teacher interaction, right, but she does come home and she’ll ask me things. She’ll be like mom this happened on a test. I need extra credit. What do you think I should do right? And I’ll say well, can you email the teacher, can you go in early, like what are your options? And we kind of talk through it. Yes, but I let her do it right, she’s responsible for it.
0:18:37 – Speaker 3
I’m not the one trying to figure the grade out for her well, and you know we’re talking about fear as being a Reason behind some of the reasons why we helicopter parenting, but also lack of control is another one that I really want to throw out there, because I know that’s my struggle. Yeah, I am like a list control.
0:18:56 – Speaker 2
0:18:57 – Speaker 3
I know what we’re gonna do.
0:18:58 – Speaker 1
Oh, I know, I know.
0:19:01 – Speaker 3
Here’s how it’s gonna go. Did you feel that?
0:19:05 – Speaker 2
Right in the heart. You’ll call me and be like. This is not on the list.
0:19:08 – Speaker 3
Yes, this and when we’re like off the agenda at them I’m like, oh my goodness, we’re not going by me.
0:19:13 – Speaker 2
Do not get off the agenda. Yeah, like I get that look, I give the side-eye.
0:19:17 – Speaker 3
Yeah, like, get on On track. What are you doing? Yes, and so you can imagine as a parent. That really is always a struggle for me, because I want to control the situation and if I can’t like I feel things unraveling and that’s not necessarily the case I have to let go of control. So my kids can learn to control what’s important for them, and that means not helicopter parenting you know this.
0:19:43 – Speaker 2
This ties in the lack of control with, you know, trusting God. Yes, I mean god.
0:19:49 – Speaker 3
0:19:49 – Speaker 2
I have to remind myself that God loves my kids more than I love my kids, right like more than I can imagine all the time like he’s got them and, yes, bad things may happen to them, just like bad things may happen to me. I mean, that is a part of life. But the promise of God is he’s never gonna leave them right. He’s never gonna leave us, no matter how bad it gets, no matter what happens.
0:20:13 – Speaker 3
0:20:13 – Speaker 2
He’s gonna be by our side or their side. So if I’m not there, Mm-hmm and I think about the school shooting show that we did and you can check that show out. You know kids are getting ready to go back to school. You may be a little fearful of mass shootings and that sort of thing. Check out that show Because that is a lot of like realizing that and teaching your kid that if you’re ever in a bad situation and I’m not there, I want you to realize God is with you. You are never alone.
0:20:41 – Speaker 3
Like instilling that in them absolutely setting those foundational truths at a young age. Absolutely and you know, that kind of goes back to that control thing. Also, I have to tell myself all the time God knows better.
0:20:52 – Speaker 2
Yeah, God knows better.
0:20:54 – Speaker 3
Like I want to control the situation and I want to helicopter parents, so it goes a certain way, but that may sound like the right way.
0:21:01 – Speaker 2
0:21:01 – Speaker 3
God may want to be doing something else in this moment, so it’s okay to get off the agenda, it’s okay to step away and let them play on the game. Something is happening there and it’s okay. God knows better.
0:21:12 – Speaker 2
I remember when I had I had a friend and she was actually a teacher but she had given up teaching to be a stay-at-home mom and she was, she’s great. She moved away and we still stay in contact. But I’ll never forget one year I was gonna do a teacher request again when my kids were younger and I was all up in their business and I was, I was a helicopter parent, I was. I just was there’s no, I’m not gonna sugarcoat yes. And I remember she, she looked at me and she said Mandy majors, don’t you trust God with whoever is gonna be given the teacher? Yes, of your kid this year, yes. And yet I had to do a self-check because I was like, even if I don’t like the teacher, or even if my daughter Struggles with the teacher, god is trying to teach us something here. There’s a lesson in this. And that helped me so much when she told me that, yeah, it helped me so much, true.
0:22:04 – Speaker 3
Yeah, it’s so good and so helicopter parenting. If you’re seeing yourself, you know you’re not alone. Yeah, we’re here with you.
0:22:11 – Speaker 1
We’ve been through it.
0:22:12 – Speaker 3
We have our moments, obviously this morning. No, just kidding. Yeah, I mean, it’s just a thing. We all struggle, we’re all human, it’s okay. I think it’s just one of those things. Step back and do some self-reflection. Why do I do it? What do I need to work through? What? God show me why I am doing this. Talk to your kids about it. Mm-hmm, kids love to help you be accountable, which is super duper awesome when they’re like okay, mom, take it down a notch or you know whatever it is. So these are some of the things you can do. If you’re seeing yourself in this show today is just start with yourself. Yeah, it’s the best place.
0:22:46 – Speaker 2
Well, and you know, don’t feel like you have to spy on them. You know I? You mentioned the kite analogy earlier and, for those of you who haven’t heard us use that before, we get that from one of our pastors. His name is Robert Emmett. I use the analogy in my book as well, but he said you know, teach your kids to fly and when they’re old enough you let the kite string out and if you see they’re messing up and needing some more guidance, you reel it back in a little bit and you do that.
But it’s a beautiful analogy of not being a helicopter parent. You know you get involved when you need to, you step in and and I’m not saying don’t advocate for your child. You know if your kid is being cyber bullied and they’ve tried to go to the counselor and of course we’re not saying don’t get involved. That is not at all what we’re saying You’re going to know when there’s the time to step in and fight, fight, fight, fight for your kid.
0:23:39 – Speaker 3
And there are those instances Absolutely we. You have to be your child’s advocate when that time comes, and you’ll know by looking at your motivation. Yeah, that’s a helpful thing to think about, like, why am I doing this? Is it because my child really needs me in this moment? Or is it because I want to spy on them and I want to know everything about everything and I want to be in all of their well?
0:23:58 – Speaker 2
and you know, will this matter in five years? You know, in my story it wouldn’t matter in five years. Her setting by a group of boys every day. Right, even though she may be uncomfortable. Right, I mean because nothing inappropriate was happening happening to her. They weren’t being mean to her right.
0:24:13 – Speaker 3
But it was just new words.
0:24:14 – Speaker 2
You know, if your kid is being bullied and they’re depressed and they’re, you know, suicidal. Then you got to.
0:24:20 – Speaker 3
Get on it.
0:24:21 – Speaker 2
Yes, I mean this is you got to be in it. And so you know again, finding that balance, listening to the Holy Spirit.
0:24:28 – Speaker 3
Absolutely so. Our points for today Uh one helicopter parenting smothers your kid. It’s not a good thing. Uh, number two balances, key. Be involved, but don’t hover you can hover hover. You can vacuum girl hover. Go ahead and have clean floors, but don’t hover, I can’t believe. I sure that on this show that I should know what that word. Well, at least they know we’re real as if they didn’t know before.
0:24:54 – Speaker 2
If you should could see us today. We’re a real hot mess in the show. I just spilled water down my shirt. I mean it’s, it’s a mess. Yeah, are you nursing a baby?
0:25:04 – Speaker 3
I interrupted the talking you Get out of here. I’m on number three. Number three allow your child space to grow and learn new life skills. It is so important.
0:25:16 – Speaker 2
When we helicopter, we take away valuable life lessons for them. And we don’t want to do that. Our goal here is to raise a healthy, independent child that can fly, and so we’ve got to get out of the way sometimes.
0:25:32 – Speaker 1
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk radio with Mandy and kim on am 6 30 the word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on facebook, instagram and twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nextTalk. Or are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page