The other day I went to my daughter's back-to-school festivities. It was called an ice cream social.
That's where I got to mingle with my daughter, her friends and a lot of the parents.
I'm not really connected to a lot of the parents there.
Once you have kids, you tend to get into these forced relationships with your kid's friends' parents. Some of them I absolutely adore. They're fantastic people that I relate with, and we get along great.
Others, well, not so much.
I have absolutely nothing in common with a lot of the parents. It doesn't mean that they're not great people. They're just not my people and that's okay.
I sit there and I'm very cordial, very nice, and have civil conversations but I'm bored out of my mind.
But as I was walking around the school, I saw the parent that EVERYONE needs to avoid, especially when it comes down to dating.
The “Helicopter Parent”...
They're constantly hovering around their children, and they are extremely toxic people.
Because what these parents are doing by hovering and smothering their children is teaching them codependent relationship patterns so when they get older, these kids are codependent, just like they are.
The poor, innocent children become miniature versions of the parent.
They're going to show these children how they can't really think for themselves, that being away from mommy and/or daddy is a traumatic experience.
So... what are the top 3 signs that you're around a hovering helicopter parent?
It's really easy to see...
#1: Their kids can't really leave or go anywhere without them
Or, their kids are overly attached to the parent.
There's trauma involved when they need to leave the smother father or the smother mother.
When you try to date them, you’ll hear things like, “I usually put my daughter/son to bed, so you can't pick me up until I put them to sleep because they can't go to sleep for anybody else.”
Even though the kid is seven, eight or nine years old.
That's one of the biggest signs that the child is not independent. They’re codependent, and the only reason the child is codependent is because the helicopter parent taught them to be codependent.
#2: Vacations basically don’t exist without the kids
Ask them when they took their last separate vacation away from their children. If they’re a codependent helicopter parent, they will tell you they don't want to miss a single moment with their children.
They will tell you they never vacation without their kids.
And you'll look at them and realize that they have no balance in their life at all. Vacation away from the children is not only healthy because it allows a parent to get time to reconnect, but it also teaches the child how to be independent and not codependent.
I was very independent as a child. My mom would drop me off at Grandma Frankie's or Grandma Rose's for 10 days and I would stay there without crying for my mom or crying for my dad, but rather enjoying my grandmother.
Enjoying that time becoming an individual, because that's what life is all about. Our children are not there to smother or hover over so they can be junior codependent versions of ourselves.
#3: No sleepovers allowed
Another huge red flag that you're dating a helicopter parent is when their kid is never allowed to sleep at another friend's house, or they've never slept at their grandparents' house at all.
All sleepovers are done at Mr. or Mrs. Helicopter Parent’s house because they can't leave their children. They need their children because of their own screwed up, codependent issues, which they refuse to even acknowledge at all.
So, if you are dating a helicopter parent...
They're going to smother all over you.
They're going to want a codependent relationship with you.
They will make their children their priority, which is not a bad thing at all, but life is about balance and there is a healthy and an unhealthy way to be a parent.
They will do everything they can to prioritize their children over everything else, and then eventually the children will strike back. Because eventually, the kid will either grow up and not want to be smothered anymore, so they're going to rebel...
Or, they're just going to have this ridiculous codependent relationship with mom/dad until they leave the house at 22 or 18, and they're going to go and have codependent relationships as an adult.
So if you're dating a helicopter parent, just know what you're in for. And if you are a helicopter mother or father, just realize the damage that you're doing to your children on a daily basis.
In reality, you need to look in the mirror and look at the insecure codependent reflection that’s looking back at you, and not try to heal through your children.
You need to actually heal yourself so your kids are not screwed up as you are in the future.