Helicopter vs. Free Range Parenting: What’s Your Style

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Have you ever heard the term Helicopter Parent?  You know, those parents who never leave their kid’s side?  I wonder why they don’t call them Velcro Parents?  How About Free Range Parents?  The folks who have the audacity to let their kids go outside without a secret service detachment?  Just in case you are new to these terms, here is a comparison between the two (with a little common sense thrown in).

You Know That Someone Is A Helicopter Parent When…
  • You see them at the park following their child around like a spotter at a cheer leading camp.
  • They stay home from a play date when their child has a runny nose.
  • They scream in horror when their child sets her cracker on that filthy old picnic table at the park.
  • They keep a full first aid kit including an epipen, a splint and an AED in their bag.
  • They show up for the picnic with hypoallergenic, organic, and enjoyment free food.
  • They won’t let their children climb on the monkey bars, much less a tree.
  • They always know where their kids are because they had them micro chipped.
  • They parent as if a sink hole could open up anywhere, anytime, and suck their child into oblivion.
Free Range Parents…
  • Can be heard telling their kids to go outside and not to come back until they are called for dinner.
  • Meet their friends at the park for group play and can’t find their kids when it’s time to leave.
  • Make sure their child with the runny nose wears a long sleeve shirt to the play date (extra wiping space).
  • Discover that their child fell and got a scrape while at the park, only when they see the blood streaked shin as they load up to leave.
  • Show up for a picnic at the park with five half eaten bags of chips, a six pack of Red Bull and last week’s leftovers from Popeyes.
  • Don’t notice when their kid finds and eats a four day old apple core, fire ants and all.
  • Are pretty sure which zip code their kids are in at any given time.  But not that sure.
  • Parent like most of our parents did.
Common Sense Parents…
  • Allow their children to play outside with the occasional fly-by to make sure they aren’t building that Evil Knievel ramp again.  They certainly don’t hover.  Only helicopters hover.
  • Allow their children to climb a tree.  Even the ones at the park.
  • Bring tissue to the park with them when one of their kids has a runny nose.
  • Know what zip code their kids can be found in, but maybe not the exact address.
  • When a child falls at the park and gets a scrape, the parent takes said child over to the water fountain to wash out the scrape before sending them back to play.
  • Show up to picnic at the park with PB and Js, fun size chips, and juice boxes.
  • Remind their child to wipe the sand off of the cracker they dropped on the ground, before they pop it in their mouth.
  • Are like our parents, but just a little bit paranoid of being spotted by the judgement police.
All Kidding Aside…

I realize that there there are parents all along the spectrum here.  The purpose of this blog is to poke a little fun at parenting styles.  I personally fall slightly on the Free Range Parenting side, while my wife  Carrie tends to fall just a little bit towards the Helicopter Parenting side of center.  I suppose most couples tend to align that way.  Sometimes she has to pull me aside to remind me that she has six kids, not seven.  Sometimes I have to convince her that she’s being a stick in the mud.

Where on the spectrum do you fall?  Are you comfortable with it or do you need to make some changes.  I will visit this topic from time to time in the future.  I hope you will come along for the ride.









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