Growing up without ‘helicopter parents’

I did not grow up with “helicopter parents” or “snowplow parents,” either.

The thought of my mom and dad falling in either category is as amusing as it is absurd.

Such parenting styles were topics of discussion I recently had in the wake of the college admissions scandal that’s been in the news lately.

If you’re not familiar with these terms, “helicopter parents” are moms and dads who “hover overhead.” They’re overprotective and take excessive interest in the lives of their children. They’ve got to know everything that’s going on.

Uhhh, no. That was not my experience.

I don’t think the question “How’d your day go?” constitutes excessive interest.

I believe it would be more along the lines of a polite-society inquiry.

Like shovels that clear driveways and sidewalks of that slippery white winter stuff, “snowplow parents” get the job done.

They get rid of any and all obstacles in their children’s way. Big and small obstacles and all those in between.

Uhhh, no. That was not my experience either.

But come to think of it, how handy that would have been, let’s say for example, when I was in the water fountain line in grade school and somebody dared cut in front of me.

Enter my “snowplow parents.”

Dad would grab one of the ears of this no-good line cutter, my mother the other ear. Together, they would lift this daring daughter offender off the ground and out of the fountain line, scolding him in the process.

“Hey!! This is our daughter, and she’s thirsty, buster!! Can’t you see she’s nearly dehydrated after playing on the merry-go-round and swinging on the maypole? How dare you!!! What’s wrong with you??!!”

Meanwhile, I would be gulping water, glub, glub, glub, and oh, so, appreciative of it.

“Gee, thanks, mom, thanks, dad. I’m all better now,” I would say, wiping any remaining water drops from my face. “What’s for dinner — my favorite dish again?”

Uhhh, no. That would never have happened.

And you’d never tell your parents that kind of stuff anyway. Deal with it. Get over it. Grow up. That would have been the message, verbalized or not.

It would have made about as much sense as telling them I got in trouble at school or, God forbid, the teacher spanked me.

You probably deserved it.

Not being either type of parent, of course, is not to say there is an absence of love, for pity sake.

My parents wouldn’t hover to make sure I responded to an alarm clock, did my homework, studied for a test, etc., etc.

Somehow that was understood and expected, including when I went off to college, where I didn’t get phone calls every hour on the hour from helicopter parents wondering what was going on.

Our back-and-forth phone calls were all but nonexistent because we weren’t a telephone-talking family to begin with.

If they did call, it was in the evening when rates were cheaper. And something was probably wrong.

I’m sure glad my parents weren’t partial to snowplows.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)


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