“What Do Kids With Helicopter Parents Look Like As Adults?” (88 Answers)
You've probably heard of helicopter parenting, an approach to raising kids where parents pay extremely close attention to their kids' lives, before.
The chances are you may even know someone who had their mom and dad become overly involved in their lives. You may have experienced it yourself. And while helicopter parents walk the fine line between wanting what’s best for their kids and making their childhood miserable, the practice is still rather common.
Recently, someone on Ask Reddit drew attention to this topic and asked people “What do kids with helicopter parents look like as adults?” The stories started rolling in one by one, and it’s an eye-opening and thought-provoking read you may want to pull your seat closer for.
#1Anxious. Suffocated. Helicopter parents have this unrealistic expectations but refuses to accept that their children are now adults.
I'm 23. Last year I rented an apartment near work (I could finally breathe properly) but still I have to text her when I step out of the unit, when I reached the office, when my shift is done and when I finally got home.
If I forgot to text, or if my message didn't go through; she won't stop calling me until I answer. The signal in my apartment is poor so I really have to go outside to get a single bar. One time she kept calling me but I was asleep, and since there's almost no signal then I'm not receiving any of her calls. When I finally went out that's when my phone rang, she told me she's already on her way to my workplace just because I didn't answer her calls.
Now my hand shakes and my heart always drops when I hear a text or call. Even if it's not from her. That's how my mother is affecting me.
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#2My older brother and I both moved out as soon as we turned 18. He moved to the opposite side of the country, I moved three states away. He still keeps low contact and is still on the East Coast. I came back home when I became homeless at 25 and noticed that while we were gone, my mother (the helicopter) had done a lot of soul searching and realized that her controlling nature pushed her kids away.
She's been in Co-Dependents Anonymous for almost eight years now, and I'm happy to say for the first time in my life I enjoy spending time with my mom. Took a bit, but I was able to transition out of low contact.
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#3They go one of two ways usually. Either helicopter parents themselves, or completely wild childs that majorly screw up once they taste freedom.
I was #2, and it took a while to calm down.
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#4* Unwilling/unable to make decisions
* "I didn't do that because nobody directed me to"
* Doesn't take a single step without getting specific approval from someone
* No problem-solving ability whatsoever. Just waits around to be told exactly what to do
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#5Friend of mine has a big time helicopter mom. He has never paid taxes, he’s 23 his mom handles everything. Recently he moved from his hometown to Austin so he can attempt to be an adult. His mom moved to Austin less than a week later. But other than that he’s the most depressed guy I know.
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#6My ex has an overly doting mother. He couldn't crisis manage, troubleshoot or handle anything on his own. He also ONLY trusted her advice, I suggested something, he refused she suggested the same thing and he obliged. He lacked motivation to do better for himself, look for a better job, get our own place, etc because his mom always took care of him financially. He had no faith in his abilities or talent because he never had the chance to prove to himself he could handle anything.
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#7Honestly just an anxious mess. Every job I've had I've been constantly afraid I'll mess something up and be a disappointment. It's honestly paralyzing.
Eventually when I got married I just kind of gave up on having a career and became a housewife. Still constantly anxious I don't measure up but at least my husband is willing to reassure me.
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#8Kids with helicopter parents tend to become adults with helicopter parents. No boundaries are set so the parents never take a step back.
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#9I dated a guy like this. I was 49 years-old, he was 57. He resented his parents, always complained about them. He could not make decisions, so never made one. It was up to me to make all the dating plans.
He was helpless in that he had no life skills. He was laid off from his mechanical engineering job and could no longer afford rent, so I took pity on him, and let him move in with me. He could not cook or clean and expected me to do all that work for him. Even after all that, he started resenting me, probably because he was so dependent on me.
I kicked him out and he's now living with his parents. That was 4 years ago and he's still there, still resenting them.
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#10My best friend grew up with controlling, helicopter parents and there's a lot of things she never learned because they never taught her. My husband and I have been teaching her basic financial literacy because her parent's never helped her build credit, never let her have her own bank account, never let her apply for a credit card. They controlled everything so she ha to unlearn a mindset of spending any money you do have on hand ASAP.
She also struggled with honesty. In her household lying was second nature. The best way to get out of any problem was to lie. This caused a lot of problems for her because she would lie to fix things, cover things, and get out of things in her other relationship. That took a long time and a few destroyed relationships to really unlearn.
She also struggles with impulse control. She's much better now but she used to make a lot of bad choices simply because she could. She wouldn't stop to think through if it was a good idea or not.
We're in our late 20s and my husband and I have served as a lot of her safety net and support over the years. Her relationship with her parents and herself have gotten way healthier so now she's living on her own, supporting herself, and making smarter choices but oof, those early 20s were a rough time.
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#11My wife has helicopter parents and I constantly have to argue with them. We are in our mid thirties.
When we visit they plan our itinerary to the 15 minute block. Stopping for lunch as a family is not allowed unless previously approved.
They have tentacles that reach out though churches to check on us. When my daughter was born a stranger to us came up to us in a restaurant, picked up our new born and walked away with her. I had to chase her down. She told me my wife’s mother had told her to do so. She was over a thousand miles away.
We attended their church once. Again, we are in NC and they were in Maine. A strange family came up and questioned why my wife uses a breast pump and told her it makes her less of a mother. There is no way they could have known without someone telling them.
My wife’s siblings are all struggling. Can’t do anything for themselves. I own their cars and they make payments to me, I pay for their car insurance.
During one medical emergency while I was at work the parents called their friends at church to go get my daughter and no one called me. When I finally heard from my wife we didn’t know where my child was. Grandma had control.
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#12Adults who rely on their parents to make decisions.
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#13Child free and an absolute f**k up and failure. Still trying to make up for lost time of my adolescence and I'm almost 30. I'd rather be dead some days.
Thanks for asking.
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#14My parents track my location at all times now. I’m 27.
That way they don’t call the cops if I don’t pick up within 30 min... which has happened multiple times. [...] I once fell asleep on the couch and my parents couldn’t get a hold of me for an hour. They concluded I had hit my head in the shower and died.
My parents are immigrants and only have me, so I’m not sure if that has to do with their anxiety.
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#15Failure to launch syndrome is something I mainly work with in my clients as a therapist. Lots of avoidance of conflict, not able to do basic life skills, executive functioning defects, and parents still overly involved in their lives well into adulthood.
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#16A V-22 Osprey. No identity of their own, gets tilted easily and high maintenance.
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#17My college roommate had a helicopter mom. It was so bad she brushed her hair herself for the first time in college. She couldn’t take care of herself. She had never spent a night away from home and she cried every night. She ended up dropping out after the first semester.
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#18Anxious, never believing they're good enough, always feeling as if they're being watched and judged. Sheltered life so no experience of the real world because the parents taught them everyone is out to get them and they won't survive "out there". Might have one personality for the parents that's inoffensive and childish and one for everyone else. Terrified of making decisions or doing adult things.
The best thing I ever did for myself was to go to university too far from them to be able to live at "home" and refuse to move back in with them when I graduated. I don't think I'd have made it to 25 if I had to live under their roof again.
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#19Really good liars because they had to master it at a young age.
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#20They are unable to fend for themselves, have crippling anxiety, poor social skills, and a fear of failure. They have a hard time coping, are risk adverse, and generally can't make decisions.
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#21My husband deals with this with his mother. We make decisions as a married couple, then later everything changes after they talk to each other. Even situations dealing with our daughter, like I have no say even when he and I were on the same page before decisions were put into action.
He is so desperate to please his mom, he turns his back on me. When I confront him, he blames me for causing drama or being petty.
His mom acts like she is his wife and he lets it happen. It grosses me out.
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#22I saw a post on relationship advice from a guy whose mum was a helicopter parent.
He was nearly 30 and still lived with her, she used to check his bank account and turn up to his work to make sure he was there. He'd never had a relationship and wanted advice on moving to new city and going no contact. Does this help?
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#23I had one working for me at an architecture firm as an intern. Gave her work that was slightly challenging for someone starting out (where she had to figure some things out on her own). Failed miserably. Resorted to giving her redlines to pick up— literally a print out of a drawing with red pen showing what needed to be changed— move this wall over 8”, fix this typo, etc. She finished about half of the changes and brought it back “done”. I went back and told her the way to track her work was to go over the red marks with a highlighter as she finished each change, to make sure she picked it all up. Still brought it back partly done, but with highlights indicating she had done all of it. Couldn’t understand why that was a problem. She wasn’t dumb, just couldn’t fathom that no one would be picking up after her, or that errors in the drawings could cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost time and materials down the line.
It all fell into place for me the second day, when she drove up in a new car her parents had bought for her (she had been driving it for a month). I had been thinking of getting a similar car, so I asked her what she thought of it. Was it designed well? We’re there any annoying features? All she could tell me was that the brakes were “sticky”. I kind of gave up on her after that. If she had been inexperienced but wanted to learn and asked questions and made an effort to get things right, I would have put in the effort to teach her.
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#24I can answer this!
I'm scared of my parents, specifically my dad. I'm the youngest in my family and grew up conditioned to always be a delicate little flower who had to be protected at all costs. As I grew older and by them being particularly strict about what I could or couldn't do, my adult brain registered the 'couldnt do's as threats to my safety.
It's caused me a lot of issues. Here's a list-
- I have 2 separate personas around people. When I'm with friends, I swear a lot, I joke around, I deliberately try to p**s them off for a laugh. I'm not afriad to admit I enjoy playing video games or watch cartoons. Near my parents? I'm as quiet as a mouse. Even when I do speak near them I don't swear or try anything to bother them.
- I can't bring myself to update my social media where my parents can see it because I'm frightened they'll come in and tell me I have s bad opinion or I should delete my posts. If something minor is even put up, it gets taken down.
- As a result of being scared of my dad, I developed a severe anxiety disorder revolving around riding in his car as a passenger. If I'm carsick, he'll be mad. And that happens frequently. I'm getting better at not having a panic attack in his car. Gradually.
- They are so deluded in seeing me as a delicate little flower that they fail to encourage or acknowledge my real interest in playing video games. Like it's embarrassing to them. I do my best not to bother them by playing my games very discreetly.
- It's impolite to be loud. I listen to the TV at the lowest volume, I've trained myself to burp by like. Breathing it out through my nose so it's silent. People around me can belch loudly if they wanted. I don't know how to anymore. If I accidentally make any sort of unsavoury sound I have to apologize profusely.
- I'm afraid of the outside world at dark. Even at twilight. I was forbidden from riding a train home at 5pm to protect me from scary people. But now? I'm always frightened. It makes it difficult to go out in public at night without constantly being on edge. It's made people who are just having fun drinking with friends look like monsters who intend to kill me instead.
- ^^^ I'm too anxious to drink because I don't want to disappoint my parents AND all drunk people are dangerous and intend to hurt you.
I'm seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist and both of them told me my mental health will improve drastically when I move out. They say right now, I am an independent adult...but I'm very much a robot conditioned at a young age to stay safe to the point of never really experiencing the world and learning to make mistakes so as a result I am always anxious and terrified of disappointing my parents.
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#25Read the book *The Coddling of the American Mind*, and/or the article in The Atlantic by the same name. Kids who were treated that way seem to have higher suicide rates and more depression, more anxiety, and an unusually poor ability to deal with conflict (hence the craze for "safe spaces" and cancel culture that is sweeping HR departments and universities the world over).
#26I’m completing a thesis on this! They are more likely to: use pain medication with a prescription, have a prescription for depression and anxiety, use unhealthy coping strategies, feel alienation from peers. That’s off the top of my head. But it’s a really fascinating topic!
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#27I know several graduates of a high end private preparatory high school who have said that, by age 30, they attended more funerals than weddings for their former classmates because the suicide rate was so high. They all had had helicopter parents and took any sort of setback in their lives as a failure because they lacked any sort of coping skills.
Edit: I will also add that they were all said to lack any intrinsic joy or motivation in their own lives. They completed degrees and took jobs that made their parents happy or that were socially acceptable in the elitist/rich circles they grew up in instead of pursuing their interests. They also apparently had no understanding that things like marriage and children weren’t just 100% happy if done right so they internalized any marital or familial strife as personal failings.
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#28My parents weren't [helicopter parents]. But a friend moved to a different state and got engaged, and my friend's mom still managed to be a helicopter parent. Visiting at least three times a month and contacting either her or her SO constantly.
It ruined the engagement because the significant other finally had enough [...] Even though my friend was annoyed with her mom as well, she couldn't cut her mom off completely... I don't know all the details, but it must have been superr annoying if someone was like, "I love you, but f**k having in-laws like this."
She is now single and has moved back home. It's unfortunate...
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#29I dated a girl who was an only child and had a helicopter mom. She couldn’t make decisions, had to talk to her mom daily (before cell phones), and was pretty much a narcissist. She cheated on me, I guess her mom told her to always look for something better. We talked once about 20 years later on Facebook, she was still single and after about 3 back and forth updates she made some shi**y comment about my wife (whom she had never met) so I blocked her immediately. She got married around age 45 I guess because her last name was changed on LinkedIn. What is funny is that her married name is something horrible, like Focker. Poor guy.
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#30My cousin is a nervous ball of wax, despite an Ivy League undergrad and a law degree from Cardozo that my uncle and aunt paid for and pushed him on for the first 25 years of his life.
He makes less money than a Panera employee (yep, even as a lawyer- he can’t get a decent firm associate position because he’s a nervous mess), he is deeply closeted, and would feel a lot better if he just admitted he was gay. Instead he’s hiding under the guise of Orthodox Judaism and wondering why every religious friend of his is married with 3-5 kids a piece by the time they’re 32.
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#31College mug shots.
These kids go crazy once they taste freedom.
#3228 years old with highly abusive helicopter mom. Up until she died 4 years ago my life was an anxious mess. I never had to think for myself as a kid since she was the one always deciding who i got to hang out with or what my future should look like. I slowly started rebelling when i left for college 1000 km away but i didnt free myself from her grip until she died.
I have absolutely no ambitions, i finished college and studied what she wanted me to, but i have 0 interest in my career and could not care less about continuing my education (i'm a doctor so this should be important, but i just dont care)
I am super lazy, i procrastinate a lot, i was used from a young age to have her breathing down my neck making sure i got stuff done, so now that she's gone i see no reason to make the effort.
I have a really hard time making decisions, i'll get really anxious and i almost always need someone else to help or validate me. I also get very very anxious when i have to turn someone down, tell someone something thats bothering me or just stand up for myself in general. This has been an issue with my SO. This could be because of her abuse and not because of her helicoptering though.
I also have a really hard time being okay with disappointing people. My mom would lose her s**t if i failed her, she would get really hurtful and sometimes she would resort to physical violence. I will do stuff i dont want to just to avoid feeling i let someone down. This is a hard one because not only have i done projects or chores i didnt want to, i have also done sexual things with partners i did not feel comfortable with just to avoid them thinking i am not good enough. Working on this though.
Lastly, because my mom was so overbearing, when i finally left for college i realized the best way to get her off my back was to lie. I would lie to her all the time, about my grades, me friends, the people i dated, if i thought that something would bother her just a little bit, i lied. Now i still struggle with this, i lie to my dad, my friends and my SO. Not big bad lies like ripping them off or cheating or whatever, but i will find myself continually sugarcoating things, leaving important details out or just right out inventing things (for example i lost my wallet a few weeks ago because i was goofing around, but i told my SO and my dad that i had been robbed just so i didnt have to hear them tell me i should be more careful). I dont even plan on lying, it comes out on its own and then i would look bad if i corrected myself :c
All in all my life is pretty good now, i have a loving SO, we just bought an apartment and i have a steady job, but i always look at other people with their own dreams and ambitions and wonder how that must feel, i just float through life with no real goal except getting my paycheck so i can buy something/go out to eat/get a present for my SO.
#33A frightened inexperienced failure or a rebellious jacka**.
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#34I will tell you. At 32, he still lives with his mommy. Mommy wakes up everyday before he goes to work to make him a smoothie, and hands it to him. He leaves his clothes on floor of the bathroom, and mommy picks it all up and washes all his clothes. Mommy folds it and puts it in his room. This guy has been dating the same girl for 10 years and they are still dating and only see each other on the weekends. Mommy washes, cleans, and does EVERYTHING for him. It's pathetic.
#35I was a kid with a helicopter parent. I ended up developing two EDs, developing severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD, I was willing to marry someone who was super abusive so I could leave the house and just get away, if I wasn't working or at school my senior year I drugged myself with benadryl so I could sleep all day and developed a dependency and I've been to jail twice over said ex although one of the charges have been dropped because it was false accusations (I'd legit already been to court over this same thing just with different dates I dont know how a grown a*s man looked at that and didnt laugh her out of the room but what ever) and I'm currently in the process of getting my life together...... oh also the school kind of begged her to get me checked for ADHD as a kid and she wouldn't because she just didnt want to and she had a hero complex because she "saved" me from a "lifetime of taking pills" in reality all that happened is I only completed highschool thanks to the pandemic because regular highschool just didnt fit my needs I couldnt concentrate
Edit to add something I forgot: I would also be punished for self soothing and stemming in school which she for some reason was fine with so my life was honestly hell until I moved out
#36My mom was the original helicopter parent. My dad was a stereotypical "fun dad" who my mom didn't trust *at all* to look after myself and my siblings.
Adulthood was hard. I had zero real life skills. Moved out when I was 18 to go to school in another city. My parents found me an apartment, paid the deposit, connected the phone/internet for me, sent me enough money for rent each month. My bf moved with me, he had a very different upbringing. It was a rough first year and I honestly can't believe he didn't just dump me. Not only did I not know how to do many, many things, I honestly wasn't even really aware that some things needed to be done. I had never been taught things like that there was a specific day of the week on which garbage would be picked up, for example. I had to learn *everything* from how to cook a meal to how to make and follow a budget.
Now I'm 40 and have kids of my own. As a parent I am *much* more relaxed than my mom (or even my husband). I actually lean well into the "benign neglect" end of the parenting spectrum. I held a lot of resentment towards my mom for years for not teaching me things, and for "saving" me all the time. I love my kids like mad, so I let them fail and learn from their mistakes. My kids are way more competent as kids than I was as an adult. They know how to budget and save, how to cook and clean and are learning so many other aspects of "being a real person".
I still struggle with some things, but I was also diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and that certainly plays a part for me.
Unlike some of the other responses here, I don't struggle with anxiety. I'm rather probably not anxious enough about things. My default reaction is to blindly trust that something will "save me" in the end. Not always a great way to be.
#37Anxiety, immaturity, inability to make decisions, identity crisis all the time, psychological self-abuse. And when they have kids of their own, they'll do the same.
#38They tried to ground me after I came back from serving in the Marine Corps. Tried to take the keys to the car I own and prevent me from getting an education.
Told my mom she can pound dirt and told my dad that if he didn't fix himself and stand up to my overbearing mom, I'd never talk to the two of them again. Then I got in my car and drove off. I was homeless for a minute until I saved enough for an apartment.
You'd think that me moving out and being homeless instead of living with them would be the thing that made things click.
About a year after my move-out, I'd reconnected with my family and agreed to take my mom to her aerobics class one day since her car was in the shop.
Well, I drive about 10 minutes before she lays into me about my life choices, etc. I pulled the car over, looked at her, and said, "Get out." She looked stunned. I just repeated myself and added, "Now."
She got out. I drove off to my apartment, played some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and she got her much-needed exercise.
#391.) I moved to a different country.
2.) I do not go back to visit.
3.) When they come visit, they stay in a hotel.
4.) My husband, who was not raised in an overbearing environment, is always present when they visit. He serves as a reality check and is effective in shutting down misbehavior.
5.) I'm going to have to explain one day that they wont be allowed unsupervised visits with any children I have.
#40As someone who is 21 and has helicopter parents i can tell you that we get very clever in hiding things and very paranoid about the smallest things. My parents still check my bank account to see what I purchase, read through my text messages, and is very strict on playing video games. But I can tell you that from years of this I have found ways around it. I have a venmo card to hide purchases, use dms on Twitter or discord to talk to people, and setup macros to mute and switch applications in one keystroke to avoid getting caught playing video games when i shouldn't be.
#41Honestly, me and my husband are trying to figure this out.
My MIL is a total helicopter parent; if one of us (me, my husband, or his brother) doesn't respond to her messages within an hour or two, she'll bombard the other two about where we are/if something happened to us. She freaked out on me when I didn't respond to her after three hours (we were doing a cross-country drive) and accused me of trying to shut her out and said we're never going to be a real family because of the "walls" I've built up around myself. I don't know what to do.
My husband won't stand up to her as much as I want him to, but I can't do this for the rest of my life. We have to establish some boundaries, but it's not my mom, so I can't be the one to initiate.
#42I’ve known a couple people whose parents were in ABSOLUTE control and here’s what I’ve seen so far.
- number 1, they either go wild child style and go crazy. Some of them do drugs, drink often, and are really bad at making decisions because their parents have made decisions for them. Usually, they were the baddest in the group because once they were out of reach of their parents they flipped their switch. A lot of them aren’t aware of “Consequences of their actions”, because when you have someone making decisions behind the scene, you won’t experience the consequences and learn from them. This results in a lot of them having to learn the consequences when their much older and messing them up for a long time.
-or number 2 they turn out to be extremely independent. Another half of these children turn out to be extremely independent, not relying on any outside help and some of them also fully cut off communication with said helicopter parent or parents. They also turn out to be successful and very capable people. A lot of them learn through experiences with friends and don’t end up having to learn about “consequences of their actions.” Because they’ve already learned.
#43Well I have gone fully noncontact and I look like s**t a lot because I have crippling depression and don’t take care of myself well. Though it was more overly controlling narcissistic tiger parent b******t than classic overly invested pta mom type s**t.
EDIT: Read through some other responses and saw that everyone was being brutally honest so
— extremely mentally ill & qualifying for disability accommodations
— eating disorder they never bothered to do anything about f****d up my heart and it has almost given out several time
— permanent scars covering one arm and a large parts of the rest of my body
— can’t put value into anything, nothing in the future appeals to me, I have no passions/goals/etc & I’m mostly dealing with it by popping any pill I can find
— have absolutely no regard for my safety because I’m pretty sure I’m a toxic presence on the world
— holding relationships is painful because I’m always convinced my friends are conspiring against me and I’m very heavily burned out by minimal social interaction. Being alone really f*****g hurts though so it’s a catch-22
But I’m in one of the top business schools in the country, am holding down 3 jobs, managed a 3 year relationship, and am 100% financially self sufficient since age 20. Also they tried to commit tax fraud after I cut them off and I dragged lawyers in and ends up with 100k so that’s cool I guess.
#44My mom was a pretty bad helicopter mom. I'm 27. I was fortunate to have aunts and uncles who modeled a different kind of parenting when I stayed with them, and good friends in college/just after college who taught me a crash course in life. When I went to college, I couldn't make more than box mac and cheese. I couldn't drive. I had never done my own laundry. Phone calls paralyzed me.
Somewhere around age 20-21, it dawned on me that my mom was misrepresenting how scary being an adult was. She made everything more difficult for herself: paying bills by phone instead of automatically, double checking her checkbook by doing the math by hand first and then with a calculator, washing dishes by hand and then putting them in the dishwasher, letting laundry pile up and then doing 5 loads a day for two days.... etc etc.
When I payed my own taxes, filed my own FAFSA, unclogged my own drain, and just tried recipes without caring if I messed up, something clicked. You can give many things a try with minimal permanent consequences. Dumber people than me can cook, drive, vote, pay taxes, etc. So why couldn't I?
I now have two graduate degrees and am about halfway through a doctorate. I am happily married and do the bulk of the cooking and running the household. I can drive, even though I'm still a fairly nervous driver. I make phone calls all the time. I can have my advisors point out something I did wrong without having a meltdown. I kept a cat alive for two years and she's doing great.
I gave my mom's anxiety back to her and let her handle it. I'm doing just fine.
#45I'm 25 and it took moving to a different continent to realize my mom is the root of my anxiety problems. Even as far back as high school I sort of had to separate parts of my life so she wouldn't take over. I never told her about assignments or named friends. I don't date because I'm too emotionally distant to maintain a relationship. She's let up on my younger brother a lot but she still treats me like an invalid who can't do basic household chores. She hovers over me when I cook so I basically lived off frozen food. She also constantly tells me that I'm unqualified for my job and it's made me seriously doubt myself in the past. When I try to have hobbies she'll either get involved and take over, or if she can't do that she'll try to disrupt me if she sees me doing something I enjoy.
When I was living on my own for the first time I realized that I have no problem with chores and cooking. My mom was just so stressful to be around that it was making me shut down and not want to do anything. When I moved to a different country my anxiety completely went away (my acne literally cleared up lol). As it turns out the farther away I am from her the less crippling my social anxiety is.
#46I think there is three routes:
1. That person has never been able to get away from their parents. It is like an emotional dependence where there is an intense need of validation. There might be inability to make decisions for themselves. Those people tend to put a wall around themselves from the world and would feel extremely sharply to rejection.
2. The type that would become extremely wild. In a sense that they will do the opposite of anything that the parents would want them to do. They tasted freedom and got addicted to it. So, anything that cause them to feel like they are being controlled will be received in extreme hostility. However, they are crippled by insecurity.
3. This type was able to get off from the feeling of dependence and learn to make decisions for themselves. They also learned to control their feelings and establish their values well. This type of person started from the bottom, learning independence, coping skills, and their own emotions. They might experience a lot hardships due to the lack of certain life skills that they should have learned throughout childhood development such as right coping skills. However, humility and self awareness can save them from the insanity of this world without experience or knowledge of these life skills.
#47Went no-contact with my helicopter mom in May of 2018. I was 25.
She sent me bi-weekly emails trying to talk to me. Texted me random things, like a photo of her cat, from her phone and her husband's phone.
Her last email consisted of her telling me she was going to come over to my house, and if I wasn't there, she was going to come to my work to find me. A week after that email, I packed up everything and moved 1200 miles away without telling her. She messaged a "woe is me" sob story to my SO's mom about how "worried" she is because she "can't find me." Still talks to her to this day.
Then on this past Saturday, she calls my job and says, "Hi [name], this is mom." I hung up immediately and am now seriously searching for jobs. I don't care what it is, I need to change jobs NOW.
I'd get a restraining order, but she is just out of the legal requirement for stalking. A lawyer laughed at me when I asked them if I can have one.
#48They tend to struggle becoming self sufficient
#49My parents were/are really overbearing and our family is very enmeshed. My brother is in his 40s, calls my mom every day and will still go to her about decisions in his life, but he gets a break because he's a man, and married and has kids.
My sister and I are in our late 30s and 40s and both unmarried with children, so in my mom's eyes we're still children. I had a medical issue that required surgery a couple years ago, and my mom was still trying to make appointments for me and wanted to go to my doctor's appointments. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and she asks to see copies of my labwork so she "can get a second opinion" even though I told her I didn't need one. She assumes every job I get myself is a "bad" job and tries to get me to look for something better. OH and she is a nurse and was potentially exposed to COVID, did that stop her from giving me the guilt trip when I don't feel comfortable seeing her for her birthday? Nope.
#50Mental illness. Bad at articulating and defending themselves, indecisive, poor communicators.
#51When I was 18 I just left. They didn't have legal guardianship, they couldn't say s**t. Things were rocky for a couple of years but so worth the freedom. As I got married and had kids they tried to be controlling over them and my spouse and I set extremely firm boundaries and made it clear that they would never see any of us again if they played that game with me. I was about two seconds away from filing a restraining order when they finally got the message.
Unfortunately, I have to use their tactics against them and threaten extreme things in order to get them out of our personal lives. The one thing I took away from all of that is with people like that, you have to be willing to fight and accept that you may very well have to cut them completely out of your life.
#52Adults with helicopter parents. Know a few they moved away to college and parents followed and moved where they moved and had them move in with them. Mid 20s and parents run their lives same as when they were teenagers.
#53If I'm around my parents. I better not make my own decisions. Even if it's the best one, since it is mine - it is wrong.
#54i’m 21 years old and my dad still tracks my location when i go out. if i hang out with my friends past midnight (pre-quarantine) he’d get mad and try to call until i left.
they’re also on my case about applying for a job, which i’ve been actively doing. they’re not necessarily supportive, they just think “she’s gotta do it.”
i live with them still so i never make phone calls while i’m in the house because they’ll walk in and interrupt me, asking who i’m talking to and what i’m talking about. it’s super embarrassing if the person on the other end hears them.
i have an entire separate “brand” of social media that they don’t know about because they follow all of my personal socials and always comment if i post something they don’t like, so i feel like i don’t have free range to post about certain things (sexuality is a big one but i don’t even like using bad language or talking about alcohol) even though i’m an adult and can make decisions for myself. vanishingpals allows me to post what i want and just be myself online. i’m still terrified they’re gonna find out about it someday.
i still feel like every decision i make revolves around them and their reactions. i don’t go shopping often, i don’t make plans with friends easily, i don’t use facebook because my dad still has my password and i hated using it after that. he tried to get my email password too, but i refused to give it to him.
my mom apparently comes into my room to check out my stuff either when i’m asleep or when i’m not there. she used to come in to check my phone for messages so i started shutting my phone off at night. (and i just found out my dad checks to see if i’m awake by using the Find My Friends app to see if my phone is on.) one time, she noticed something in my room and asked what it was. i told her i didn’t want her to know (because it’s private and mine) and she said “you know i’ll just come in when your not here and look at it.” i’ve never wanted to punch someone more, if i’m being honest.
this affected my brother too. he just got married without telling any of us (separate story, he had a good reason) and now he feels super uncomfortable talking to our parents about it because of this horrible helicopter thing they’ve done.
helicopter parents are the absolute worst and at times, it’s straight up abusive. i have absolutely zero sense of privacy and it’s honestly driving me over the edge. the lack of boundaries makes me not want to pursue anything they won’t like and i feel like i don’t have total free range or control of my life, even though i’m an adult who could handle everything on my own. i think they’re trying to keep me safe and secure? but it’s just invasive and the fact that they don’t even think twice about it (especially my mom; sometimes i call my dad out and he listens) just makes it especially horrible.
tl; dr: please don’t track your kids like this, i really, really, really hated it growing up and still have a space for resentment for them.
#55I had a friend in college who will be 25 in a few days, and to this day her mother requires her to call when she gets to work and everytime she gets home. If she doesn't call, she will be called within minutes of arriving at a location. Her crazy mother tries to decide which boys she should date regardless of compatibility with her daughter. So she's been single for over three years now, and doesnt understand why. She uses tinder but refuses to leave her home city, so she is very limited. Her personality has slowly become "I own a cat" because she won't leave her comfort zone at all. The mom hates video games so she stopped playing them because she will get yelled at over the phone for doing so.
Its really sad.. I miss the girl I knew I college and had so much fun with. She wasn't obsessed with finding a boyfriend, she was always down for adventures. Even though we don't talk I worry she's going to be forced to become a mom before she's ready because her mother just wants her to pop out kids and go to church. If she's happy I guess that's what's important.
#56at 22 years old:
- I was on a date and did not answer my phone. Within an hour or two, my mother tracked my location and showed up outside my date's apartment, crying. She had my dad calling me on repeat the whole time so I had a ton of missed calls, messages, etc. (Before I left I had told her where I was going, who I was seeing, and had texted her so she knew I had arrived safely.)
- One night around midnight I drove my girlfriend to Steak n Shake for milkshakes. I was called irresponsible, dangerous, disrespectful, etc. I told my parents in advance where I was going and let them know when I made it back home safely. But I did not text them while at the drive-through, which was reckless and unsafe apparently. They could track my location the entire time.
- I moved across the country and my mother followed me and now lives there as well.
- While living with her, she trained me to be anxious. When I tried to leave the house, she would tell me statistics or stories of people who died that week (murder, hit by car, fell on train tracks, kidnapped, etc). All the dangers of the world. Or, it was too hot/cold, or I seemed sick.
- When I told her of jobs I wanted to apply for, there was some reason it wouldn't work out, the hours would get me out of work after dark or I'd have to walk too far, she didn't want to drive me, the job wasn't safe, etc.
- She tried to get my dad to bully me out of going on a road trip with my friends (that I had been planning for 6+ months and already paid for some things). The day of the trip she cried until I cancelled.
It wasn't until these events that I realized anything was wrong. I adored my mother and had no boundaries with her. If she called, I answered. If she wanted me home, I would come home. If she said a certain degree wasn't a good choice, I changed my major. If she had an opinion, it was objective fact. I couldn't make a single decision without getting her opinion.
Now? I need extensive therapy, am incredibly anxious, struggle with decision-making, and I'm trying desperately to get on my own feet. Damn coronavirus has set that back a little bit though. Now that Im breaking down the illusions, I have to re-work how I've viewed the world, relationships, and family dynamics for over two decades. It's traumatic.
Editing to add why I put up with it/lived with my parents so late: I was taught my entire life that my parents were giving me a good healthy life and that everything happening to me was normal/good. I was homeschooled and my mom kept me somewhat socially isolated, and monitored/edited the media I consumed as a kid. It took me a LONG time to realize that I was somewhat brainwashed to her anxiety. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
#57One of my cousins had the worst helicopter parents. Her mother took her to school and for the entire year, waited outside the classroom door while class was in session.
The next year she volunteered as a teacher's assistant for baby's class. This went on until baby graduated high school and applied for college - out of town.
Mom and dad sold their house and bought a new one in the town where baby was going to college. Twice. They did this twice.
Baby is a well-adjusted young lady. She's lovely, has a college degree and is in training to become a helicopter pilot. I'm not even kidding. The helicopter baby is becoming a helicopter pilot.
#58I've interviewed them for work. I will not likely ever hire one. When they ask for their parents to join the interview (yes they do that), I know a couple things, first they will not have any idea what confidential means for our corporate info, mom and dad will get it all including client information, second, they will not be reliable to do anything at all on their own, they will have to be walked through everything. In short, they tend to be extremely unhirable for the roles I interview them for.
#59I honestly think it depends on the child. A very independent child will probably rebel. A dependent child might flourish to a point. I've noticed all types of kids react differently. Some do well and some don't. It's just like kiddos that grow up in an abusive household. Some kids will find away to flourish as they need and some kids will suffer.
Parents just continue to use them if the child didn't cut them off.Worst case scenario,they live with their parents and are unemployed.Their "looks"are predominated by indecisiveness,a slighter thinner or bigger build,and usually with a hobby that seems inexpensive at first,but gradually becomes unbearable.They also end relationships and friendships based on their parents' decisions.
If they had cut off their parents,then they are ALMOST a normal adult.Almost because their parents keep pestering their life every day till they die.But what is beautiful about them is that they will usually never do what their parents did.
#61The technical term is "disasters" I think. They're often utterly incompetent at life - both personally and professionally.
#62I ended up having to remove my parents from my life, and at first, it was really hard. But seriously, they've controlled every aspect of it:
* When I was a kid, my internet time was limited and supervised. I was allowed like an hour a day on electronics.
* I wasn't allowed to play any violent video games. I really only played Mario Kart.
* I wasn't allowed to play Pokémon because it had evolution in it.
* I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter because it was magic and magic is bad.
* They decided which college I went to when I was 18. They decided which degree I got. When I was struggling to find work, they pushed me to go into a field I didn't want, which I am now stuck in.
* When I was sick as well, it was really rare I went to the doctor. At one point, I was dying from a bad case of pneumonia, and they refused to hospitalize me, even though I was almost dead (quite literally). My lungs were full of fluid, and my oxygen level was running at 82%. Even on oxygen, that number didn't go up.
Once I moved out of my house, I started to talk to them less, until last year I finally just decided to cut them off. Talking to them gave me anxiety, and they always tried to steer my life a different direction, so I figured it was better to cut them off completely.
At first it was hard, but it's gotten easier over time.
#63Kids with helicopter parents can grow to become jaded because of so many missed opportunities. Granted, some things they may have missed out on may have very well saved their lives but there is still that regret. It's important to create some distance as you grow up if you find yourself under this type of roof not simply to get away from your parents but to grow as a person. You will get older and your parents won't always be there to make every decision for you. It is important to learn how to steer the rudder under normal circumstances because it does not take a lot of time before the tides change.
#64Oh me! I cut them out completely and flipped my life. Entering the world for the first time as an adult was terrifying, however, as I had little real life skills and crippling anxiety/doubt. I'm painted as the villain in my family, but f**k if I care... I couldn't live with their abuse any longer. All that being said, I'm positive their terrible parenting is the reason I have zero desire to start a family or exist in anything permanent. I carved my path on running, and, unfortunately, it worked so well for me a decade ago that I just can't give it up. In recent years I have tried, and I am pretty blessed to be around people that understand it and support me "running in small doses," if that makes sense. I am still a high strung soul, I am flighty when I get too cozy, and I ultimately feel like a burden in any long term relationship, but I'm an overall drastically different and an exponentially happier person.
#65I grew up with strict Evangelical parents. Fundamentally, I have a good set of principles and fortitude, and there were 9 of us (I’m one of 6 boys, 3 girls), so I didn’t expect any miracles. They definitely had control issues and I pretty much cut them out of my personal life after I got my BA and left home. It was mostly my mother and my father going along with it. It’s better now, but mostly because of distance.
In answering your question, the biggest damage is being severely under-developed emotionally and being vulnerable to abuse. As such, many children of helicopter parents have ambivalent relationships because they don’t know what they need or what to expect when confronted with relationships outside of authoritarian figures. Good principles helps you personally, but most people you come into contact with are petty, manipulative, abusive and violent and indifferent, and I was woefully unprepared knowing how to navigate that.
Emotionally, I’ve also had a lot of issues with attachment and seeking acceptance, even when My first long-term relationship was exhausting as I did all of the work, while being abused and disposed of eventually.
I’ve improved but learning how to advocate for yourself is difficult and I have problems with anger, which I think is a healthy normal emotion. But now when I know people are gaslighting me and trivializing my concerns, I lash out.........and since I’m not an angry person.......I don’t really always know how to manage that. I’m mostly avoidant or I cut people off now. I know those are extreme options, but abusers, controllers and disrespectful people need to be explicitly told about why their behaviour is unacceptable, they need to be accountable and they need to know that any future interaction is contingent on their behaviour changing. Some people don’t change.
#66They live in fear of all new experiences. Turns out never falling off the monkey bars, never learning to ride a bike, and never having a sleepover lead to never falling in love, never learning to manage your finances, and never having fun. Kids with helicopter parents turn into boring adults.
#67Bulldozer parents, the extreme version of helicopter parents that push away everything in their child’s way.
#68Detached from said helicopter parent. Not mine, but one of my best friends. I'm amazed she hasn't done drugs the moment she moved out of her mom's place but she's doing well for herself now and is all good.
#69I mean from what I’ve learned from books and witnessed from my friends...
- they can’t stand up for themselves or make decisions
- trauma typically runs deep and they develop some sort of trust issues
- their work ethic is god awful if they get the opportunity to get out of their parents control
- and, obviously to us, spectators, but not to the helicopter parents, theyre typically depressed & end up with low self esteem.
My evidence? I took a bunch of psychology/sociology classes (even though I’m younger I still value being able to learn about children and the impact their parents & their parenting styles have on them). A decent amount of my friends also have helicopter parents. My friend complains to me constantly about how her work ethic got significantly worse after she left for college. Her parents are better now sure, but their consistent pestering forced her to stay on top of her work. Same thing goes for my neighbor....his mom actually DOES his projects. He’s off to college this year and I often wonder how he’ll handle it.
#70College seniors who don’t know how to find resources on basic things like housing, mental health, how to find a job, and other basic functions that are necessary for someone to live an independent and productive life.
I know of one person who didn’t even know how to fill out a basic job application to work as a bagger at the local supermarket. This same person also drove four hours every week to have their mom wash and iron their clothes for the week because they couldn’t figure out how to operate the machines in the local laundromat and said figuring it out was too much work. I was floored.
#71They lose their s**t and have breakdowns. Seen it many times.
#72I mean I still live with my parents because I’m too scared to fail if I move. I’m 18 :/
#73Romani culture is inundated with domineering parents who make peremptory demands, expect deferential reverence, and their children to be subservient. You have the juxtaposition of an over-indulgent mother who's children are trammelled by her living vicariously through them and an authoritarian father who imposes his rigid, often antiquated, sensibilities up in them.
The repercussions are an entire generation of Roma who cannot assimilate in western societies, a manipulated dependency upon Elders who luxuriate in their authority, no self sufficient, no gumption, no adaptability, tempestuous tempers, social ineptitude, contemptuous disregard for education, and no prospects.
Too many are maladjusted and incapacitated by a lack of autonomy.
#74It's complicated actually. It depends on how the helicopters interacted with their kids, and the types of restrictions. Then you have a narcissistic element that can really roll the dice.
Usually they're fine, but over compensate as parents. It really depends on the degree of helicoptering, and rarely on the child. Be nice, push them off a pier. Don't let them drown.
#75A friend of mine just cheated on his wife, and moved out. They're on their way to a divorce. His wife has a helicopter mother.
When I asked him if he thought they could work it out he replied very seriously, "her mom knows I cheated so there's no going back even if I wanted to."
In other words, he didn't even mention his wife's feelings about being cheated on or their marriage, her mother was such a force between them that he regarded her as the ultimate response.
#76They look like my brother in law, a 32 year old gamer who just got his drivers license and who has only had one date, which my mother in law chaperoned. He’s never had a job, never pays rent, never had sex, just sleeps until 2 or 3 pm and goes to bed whenever the f@ck.
#77They have imposter syndrome, are depressed and anxious. I was raised by a helicopter mother.
#78it never stops. you can never truly feel "free" or independent. even when you are making close to 800 or 1000 a week, are successful, have your own things going on etc etc...it never stops. there's always this weird "thing". im not sure if it's overprotective? it's just odd
#79My sister is dating one. He’s helpless, hopeless, and coddled.
#80Basically learned how to be sneaky and hide things.
#81They either grow up to be non functioning adults that depend on their parents entirely, or they vastly limit their interactions with (if not cut them out completely) and become fully formed adults.
My parents were incredibly controlling, saying they were helicopter parents would be an understatement. They were also incredibly abusive, so despite their best efforts, I've done alright for myself. When they die, I will be over the moon. And judging by how ignorant and stubborn they are, that might be very soon.
#82I had mild helicopter parents, partly because they had trouble conceiving and because I’m an only child (extra protection, extra attention on myself with no siblings). Most recently, I realized how bad it was when I became engaged a year and a half ago. We wanted to get married where we currently live, whereas my parents insisted we get married by them because I’m the bride (about 475 miles away). They refused to contribute a cent to the wedding because of the dispute (not even for invitations or a cake topper? No). My mother kept asking why I was pushing my family away, which got worse last Christmas when I spent the holiday with my fiancé’s family for the first time. My mom called me crying on *Christmas Eve* because she insisted that I’d rather be in his family than my own and that she doesn’t know me anymore because of how distant I’ve become. Which is such utter bs because it’s healthy to need space once in a while, and it’s perfectly normal for a couple to split their holidays between families (we spent Thanksgiving with mine that year). We’re better now, but postponed the wedding because of how much drama was happening with my family, and how distraught I was that I couldn’t please everyone. We still don’t have a date partly because the whole planning experience was so traumatic the first go-around.
#83I was not raised by helicopter parents however I notice most my girlfriends with helicopter parents either never left moms house or only moved out of moms house when literally married and planning to be a housewife....they are adult women with no control in their lives.
#84When I was coming up, this term hadn’t been invented...my father was a ‘control freak’... Sadly, children who have no say in their own lives are quite likely to run a bit haywire - or have a breakdown - when they go away to school...
#85I’m in the midst of dealing with this exact thing. My helicopter mother still tries to call the shots in my life, my wife’s life, and my sons’ lives. I’m 37 years old. I’m trying to set boundaries. My new boundaries are being received by my mom as withholding my family from her presence. My mom is telling my kids that I’m brainwashing [them] and teaching them lies about her. The victim roots run deep with my mom.
Here are some more details: (Fair warning, it’s a lot.)
January 2020: My dad became ill with a misdiagnosed illness. His condition deteriorated. He was transferred to a leading University Hospital ICU. My dad was diagnosed with “a Coronavirus, we just can’t seem to figure out which one.” Tests for COVID-19 hadn’t been invented yet.
February: (Money was the only way my dad knew how to show his love/support to his kids. Rather than bleed my dad dry, I asked for his financial support on an “as needed” basis, and I rarely needed his support.) My dad was a safety net for me, monetarily. Since my dad was in the ICU and deteriorating, I saw what may need to happen, so I explained to my baby-mom that [...] I may need to file for child support if my dad died. (I’ve had my boys for seven years without filing for child support.) My dad died of “a Coronavirus,” which caused my mom to lose her mind.
March: Lockdown began. Wife is out of work, I’m “essential.” I tried to mend the bridge with my mom, twice. Each time, my mom tried convincing me that my wife is wrong for her part in the falling out. My mom tried convincing me that I was wrong for my part in the falling out. My mom tried convincing me that she was without fault in the falling out. Okay, noted.
April: No change. The Department of Child Support determined a certain dollar amount that my kids’ mom is required to pay. The payment amount is based on my household income/expenses, baby-mom’s income/expenses, and the amount of time we each spend with our kids. I have my kids 90% of the time, per court orders; Also, baby-mom dipped out of the state and lives 680+ miles away. A hearing is scheduled. My mom openly interpreted my boundaries as abusive and neglectful behavior to my kids.
May: Work reopened. I went on furlough for mental health reasons. My dad died from COVID, and my work wanted me to screen guests on their way into my place of work, a casino. I had problems with that.
June: My boys’ mom started her court-ordered visitation. At the beginning of her visitation, she improperly served me with Emergency Custody/Visitation Revaluation paperwork. In her paperwork, baby mom quoted my mom, citing my abusive and neglectful behavior. I confronted my mom and asked her if she’s colluding with my kids’ mom, and she said yes. I said, “This means my kids could get taken away from me, mom. What happens if my kids get taken away from me, mom?” She replied, “What if your kids get taken away from you?” Since then, I’ve been investigated by my county’s Sheriff’s department as well as Child Protective Services for allegations of abuse/neglect.
Baby-mom’s request was denied. She filed the same thing again. It was denied again. Baby-mom said she’s not going to return my kids.
The Court isn’t helping because “this is a civil matter, not criminal.” Law enforcement isn’t helping because, “We don’t have orders to remove the children from her (baby-mom’s) custody and return them to your custody."
Silver lining: My attorney said that my baby-mom’s behavior is common and the court system knows it. A parent who is suddenly required to pay any amount of child support typically panics; they then try to smear the other parent in an attempt to get out of paying child support.
My attorney also said that my mom’s behavior is common, and the court system knows it. A grandparent who is suddenly denied access to their grandchildren will side with whichever parent grants them access to the grandchildren, even if it means alienating their own child.
#86When they have kids theirselves, they will likely not develop the proper experience to raise their own children and their helicopter parents will become helicopter grandparents, dictating every action of the parent for good or for worse.
#87In contrast to some of these comments:
My mom and aunt had four kids each. My aunt was a helicopter mom, and my mom definitely was not.
My aunt’s kids are all pretty well adjusted and successful.
Us four are arguably in worse shape. I dont think a blanket statement can be made about helicopter parents and their kids. I feel it’s a pretty diverse result from that kinda parenting.
#88Not me but a close friend. She's in her early thirties and struggling. She moved across the country to take a dream job and her parents will still visit her for months at a time and call her everyday. I once watched them flip out and call her 15+ times because they didn't listen when she told them where she was going and she didn't check in as she was at a movie. This was just a few months ago. It's always shocking to see her interract with them because she is constantly seeking their approval like a young kid.
She's actually the most social person I know and makes friends really easily as her parents were very social, just extremely strict. She's really struggling finding a partner because she didn't start truly dating until she was 29. She had a few flings but everything had to be kept secret so she never had the option to truly date people. She is really behind in terms of dating intelligence and has a lot of drama and ghosting as a result. Think about the cringey things you did when you started now put that in a 33 year old. To make matters worse her parents are now wanting grandkids and wondering why no one wants to date their daughter. They've even tried arranging marriages and we aren't in a culture that does it. It's really effected her self esteem but I guess she always thought when she was ready to settle down and start a family her perfect partner would just show up? I've tried gently guiding her to not get obsessive and be patient but she has been single for so long it's not easy.