We’ve all seen the helicopter parent. Hovering a foot above their barely mobile child. Anxiously surrounding them with cushions on already carpeted floors. Supporting their heads when they slowly roll over as if they were speeding at 100mph through a fiery gauntlet. Then frantically washing the toys that other children have touched before their bundle of joy handles them.
Some helicopter parenting looks extreme. But, if we’re really honest, it may have some benefits, right? It seems logical that a person who receives unwavering attention and encouragement might achieve more than a person who doesn’t? For me, the thought of a supported birth versus an unsupported birth leaps to mind. The baby’s going to come out either way but you’d hope that it would come out with less trauma and damage with the constant aid and encouragement of a midwife? But I digress…
Helicopter parenting, whether virtuous or not, looks extremely time consuming and like very hard work to me! And as if it has the potential to interfere with the little one’s socialisation. After all, not many people behave the same way with their peers as they do with their parents.
In the case of allergy parents, there’s a greater risk of developing a more insidious type of helicopter parenting. Especially when the children are young and unable to identify allergens themselves, the parents are forced to keep diligent watch over their toddlers’ activities. In situations where the allergens can’t be removed, the helicopter action becomes an unavoidable protection mechanism.
The constant concern that naturally arises from allergies also contributes to the helicopter tendency. It seems to me that the more time we spend thinking about something, the more likely we are to find ourselves thinking about it again in the near future. Allergies are no exception. This may also be a protective mechanism? Sadly though, this predisposition to protective thinking can be quite isolating. Parents who don’t have to think about allergens have a tendency to dismiss the seriousness of allergies, or worse still, belittle and ridicule those who do.
And from these encounters with ignorant adults, sadly comes the most enduring type of helicopter parenting. The kind that feels responsible for protecting their child from the alienation, hurt and loneliness that allergies can cause. This type of helicoptering is the most consuming, futile and enduring. It might even last a life time.
In my case, I dread the time when I can no longer protect my children from their allergens. Currently, we live in an allergy free bubble (ok, suburban semi with an impenetrable allergy force field courtesy of Allergy Mama and her wrath). But soon enough, school will start and life will render me unable to continually banish and then temporarily forget the allergens.
Will I end up having to find the energy to helicopter too?
Xx Allergy Mama