Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Helicpoter.

Something you may not know about me; I was bullied in junior high. Or as they call it now-a-days, middle school. It was awful. Some of us breezed through this period with little scratches, others have a bit deeper scars. None more painful than if the bullying came from or was endorsed by someone whom was suppose to love us, i.e family. Could be a cousin, sibling or doesn't matter. What matters is the complete and utter helplessness that one feels when being bullied.
So when I became a mother, one of the biggest fears I had beyond, Am I going to screw this kid up? Was, I pray pray pray my child does not have to deal with bullying.

Because of the topic and how near and dear it is to my heart I am going to do a few posts about it.
Lets start here:

When Butter was in preschool we let her invite a few "friends" for a birthday party. Just a small cupcakes and crafts thing. 4 little girls came and it was fun. Until school the next week when a mother came at me came up to me and declared I ruined her child's life because she wasn't included in the birthday party and her best friend Brooke was. She went on to "inform" me that Brooke and her daughter have been best friends since birth (practically), they lived by each other and that in was completely unfair and thoughtless that Rose was not included and Brooke was.
I stood there in utter shock. Clearly this woman was hurt that her child was excluded, which leads me to believe she herself had experience the feeling of being excluded and now she was determined not to have her daughter go through that too.
Hmmmm, so many levels here.
I plucked myself out of my shock and said gently; "Nina was allowed to choose 4 friends. One of them was her cousin, which meant she could choose 3 from school. SHE chose the friends she wanted. If your child was not chosen it was not out of spite."
I was trying to picture just which kid was hers. Then once the door open and children began to file out, there she was, Rose the shy child, that rarely spoke let alone tried making friends.
My daughter loves to laugh, she is fun loving and kind and man can she talk! That is once she has established a connection with someone. She makes friends easily and is well liked.
It was no wonder this girl wasn't on the list, she didn't even make the radar screen for Butter. Brooke on the other hand is a feisty go getter, clever and friendly. (Rose is a first born, Brooke is the "baby" in a family of boys) You're starting to see it now right?
I told the mother, I'm sorry if her child was hurt, but we set a limit on how many could come. If she would like we could set up a play date where the girls could play together? Then I bent down and reiterated what I said to Rose. The kid could have cared less about the party part and perked up at the play date. The mother had to think about it. Days later she agreed and we were going to there house. When we arrived it was to something all together different than I expected. Brooke and her mother where there also and I was suppose to stay with my child, since after all she was in a strangers house.
(Thank goodness it wasn't at our house! I would have died if someone came in and sat down and spent the next several hours "observing" the child's play date.
She was very "involved" at her house, making sure toys were shared etc. It was awful really, the kids had no say in anything, this mother controlled the whole thing, while the other one, clearly used to this was on her phone constantly. I watched as little Rose waited for her Mother to suggest the next thing...and watch as Butter and Brooke were forced to change activities if Rose didn't look engaged enough.
I wanted to understand this mother better, why was she helicoptering so much? Didn't she trust that her child would engage with her peers? Was she worried her child would disappear and sit alone? Maybe Rose liked observing and then finding her place, but was never given enough time because hover mom jumped in to "rescue" her poor excluded child.
Who knows, I never got to know the mom. She spent most of her time and energy hovering that it left very little for building an adult relationship. Back then I saw only what I wanted to see, this woman was weird and I'm just too busy/normal/sane to deal with this bucket of crazy. I gots my own!
Looking back, as I write about it I have more grace for her. She was just a young mother with fears and insecurities just like the rest of us. She just handled them differently, or didn't handle them depending on how you look at it. I hope that with the addition of two more kiddos, she has learned to relax a bit more and that she can still be a GOOD parent even if she sets back and allows her children the room to blossom. And that mistakes and missed out invitations to birthday parties are OK, it doesn't mean you are not worth something or not liked, it means that the other parent tried to keep the numbers down so SHE wouldn't go crazy with a house full of little girls!(or boys.)

Butter decided she liked some other friends better, and stuck to them the rest of that year. Then she moved on to Kindergarten in our school district and the other 2 girls went on in their school district.

Have you ever Helicopter parented?
If so what have you done?
I fight this need a lot when it comes to the bullying issue...more on that later.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!
"Make it Known"