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Helicopter Parenting

I’ve always been fascinated by the helicopter — its prowess in battle, its effectiveness in navigating traffic and its ability to effortlessly hover for hours. No wonder the small but mighty aircraft has given rise to a whole new parenting epithet, and sadly, one that often gets a bum rap when it spirals out of control.

The helicopter’s rotor provides lift to the aircraft without requiring forward motion. Of course, since moving forward is the primary goal for our kids, Helicopter Parents must understand there’s a limit to how long and how intensely one should hover.

I’ve been proud to call myself a Helicopter Parent since my daughter was born a little more than 10 years ago. I’m like movie actor Roy Scheider at the controls of Blue Thunder, the police helicopter in a film that had everything any dad with a little girl needs: heavy artillery, stealth capabilities and thermal scanning for listening to conversations through concrete walls.

I didn’t grow up this way. I remember leaving the house at 9am, jumping on my Huffy and going to play Army in the creek bed for hours. The difference in my independence and my children’s still blows me away. But when children get kidnapped on the way to school, can anybody blame a parent for hovering?

So, yes, I’m a Helicopter Parent. And I’d like to point out that there are many models of Helicopter Parenting, and most of them are productive members of society. Helicopter Parents wake up each day with a single focus on improving their kids’ lives. Sure, some models should be sent back to the assembly line. Especially those who attack the judge at the Comfort Inn banquet hall when their 6-year-old fails to get enough votes for Grand Supreme at a youth glamour pageant. But, by and large, Helicopter Parents are fully engaged and involved. Take a look at this quick overview and see where you fit in:  

The Chinook
These gigantic, twin-rotor choppers are perfect for carrying valuable equipment such as tanks, artillery and a team of U-9 soccer stars. Chinooks are the designated drivers for the entire community. Their vehicle of choice is the minivan with the super-cool remote door. They deftly drop off at the curb of elementary schools as if they’re inserting Delta Force behind enemy lines and then always sit at pole position for the afternoon pick-up followed by a half-dozen practices and games without missing a beat.

The Blackhawk
A sleek, stylish gunship and troop carrier, the Blackhawk is by far the coolest helicopter on the market right now. Blackhawk parents love being super cool, as well … maybe a bit too much. They drive Escalades, dress like they’re still dating and desperately try to stay hip. They listen to their kids’ iPod music, they Tweet, they text, they blog and they Facebook. Blackhawk parents aren’t bad parents. They’re simply trying too hard to be relevant without realizing that they’re very relevant already.  

The Apache
The Apache is made for quick assaults with overwhelming power. It controls the situation, often leveling a few buildings in the process. Apache parents are the type who could be caught on tape attacking a 15-year-old umpire at your son’s baseball game. Not a pleasant sight.

MI-25 Hind
The MI-25 Hind is best known for its appearances in Afghanistan during the former Soviet Union’s failed war in the rugged country. Hind parents are supportive and just out of sight until they’re really needed. But when they make an appearance, it’s impressive.

I think I fit into all of these categories, and I think other parents would agree. There’s nothing wrong with Helicopter Parents. We’re just wanting the very best for our children and we’re darned sure going to do everything in our power to make that happen. Parents, start your rotor blades.