5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 4)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas
Oh dear friends you’re almost there! I do hope that these little excerpts from Helicopter Mom have driven you to find out more about how <not> to be a helicopter mom! This series is by no means a complete synopsis of the book, rather meant to give you some go-to tools to start you on your journey towards a fear-free parenting lifestyle.
If you missed the first three blogs, check them out here:
Now on to this week’s blog which will be a couple of chapters rolled into one. Another major issue, actually THE major issue that I’ve found helicopter parents deal with is the big C word.
CONTROL, CONTROL… WHO’S GOT CONTROL?
We like getting it, we like taking it, we like wielding it, we like having it.
Helicopter parents are total control freaks. #sorrynotsorry #truthbomb
We like to think that we can control the small universe of our children. We like to think we can alter their destiny. We like to think we have the ultimate say in their little lives.
So, let’s take a quick closer look at this control-thing… or as I like to call it what it is…. a complete facade of illusion (DElusion) of who’s in charge. We did some redecorating last week, now its time to step aside and let the actual pilot-in-command take the controls.
I tend to be a bit of a control freak <though I’m much better than I used to be!> but at the
same time, I know when to say when. I know that there are times and places and things that I
need to hand over control to someone else. Like actually flying a helicopter…
People who see me in my flight suit will almost always say, “Ah, so you fly the helicopter?”
No. Uh uh. Absolutely not. You wouldn’t want me trying to fly anything! Not my thing, not my
skill set. I like my life and would really like to stay alive for a while longer. Nope. The whole
piloting thing I tend to leave to the pilots.
Let me be frank- I’m smart, I’m talented, I’m educated, and people like me (Stewart
Smalley anyone?) I’m NOT a pilot and I cannot fly a helicopter. In one yes, actually controlling
one, no. And I have to be okay with that! In fact, I am VERY okay with that!
Not, however, a good friend of mine.
My person, who is an amazing lady (and shall remain nameless but you know who you are),
absolutely hates to fly. Any and all modes of aviation, she just cannot handle it. It gives her
anxiety attacks to even talk about flying. And if you were to ask her why, it’s all about control.
She will tell you that she doesn’t like not seeing the ground, not knowing what is happening in
the cockpit, not having control over the aircraft, not being able to be in a position to ‘handle’ any
emergencies that may arise. I really think she legitimately thinks she could help. Have I
mentioned that my friend is not actually a pilot? Yet, she feels the need to control the place, the
destination, the altitude, etc. Not. Even. Joking.
Perhaps in a different area of their lives?
Maybe with fearing loss of control over their children? Worst. Nightmare.
I’m hearing resounding amen’s…
I think it may be safe to say that every mother’s absolute worst nightmare is to lose
control of her kids. In whatever way that manifests itself- be it kidnapping, lost at the zoo, lost to
drugs, taken off to exile by terrorists, growing up and not needing us anymore. Really any
situation, big or small, that we can’t immediately and directly control makes us nervous… and
we fear those times greatly. We can’t handle the idea of letting go control, or worse, having it
taken from us. It’s terrifying!
But Bethany, it can’t be all bad right? We take control because we have to, right? No one
else will. No one else loves and cares about our children as much as we do right? No one
understands what they mean to us. No one will ever take as good of care and love them like it do.
I know best. I can. I will. Is it just me or is this starting to sound familiar? Control, control,
control. I, me, mommy- am the end all, be all, to my kid’s safety, security, health, protection, and
destiny. Anyone feel that way? Be honest.
So, what do we have here? What we have here is pride. We are the momma, we are the
caregiver, we are the protector, the preventor, and the provider. We have placed ourselves
squarely in the pilot’s seat of our helicopter- convincing ourselves that we know best how to fly
the aircraft. We fear losing control so what do we do? We take MORE control. Makes sense….
Or not at all.
I would be a fool and very dead to try to think I could really do much to help fly the
helicopter. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom, ch. 6)
I’m not a pilot. As the book discusses, just because I’ve flown thousands of hours IN a helo doesn’t mean I can FLY a helo. Big difference!
And, dear ones, just because you’re IN your kid’s lives, doesn’t mean you can CONTROL your kids lives. Only God can do that. Somewhere along the line, we’ve gone from being a caregiver for our children, while assisting God in His plan for their lives as best we can- to taking those reins from Him and leaving Him and His wishes in the dust.
We’ve taken God off the throne and put ourselves and our wills there instead.
This is the spiritual equivalent to me telling my pilot how to fly a helicopter. Me… who has zero training or experience in doing that. Me… who has no business dictating to a higher officer how things are going to go.
It just doesn’t happen.
So what to do now? It’s time to give controls back to the One who is actually IN control. Let us take ourselves out of the picture a good bit… exiting stage left to allow for more of Him and less of us. Dear ones, I know it is not an easy thing to ask; giving control of your children’s lives and well-being to another. But this is The Other… really the Only.
For this last bit, I need you with me. We have some more work to do- and this may be the
hardest part- not because we’re sacrificing ourselves to the cause, but we’re giving up control of
our kids. Our most precious children need to be given back to the One that really IS able to care
for them the best. It’s not us, ladies! It’s not their dad’s, their grandparent’s, pastors, teachers,
coaches, or family members. “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the
baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you – never. Look, I’ve written your
names on the backs of my hands…. As sure as I am the living God,” God’s Decree.
Isaiah 49:15-18 MSG
God- the Pilot in Command. He is the One in control. He is the One to best take over the
controls out of our white-knuckled, cold, over-my-dead-body hands. Will you let Him?
Meditate on these questions this week. How much of a control freak are you? How much are your expectations (fears!) dictating to God how things are <supposed> to go? This is a faith-game friends. There is no faith-building without faith-testing, and I can think of literally no harder or better thing to trust God with than our own kids.
Give them to Him…
And I’ll meet you back here next week for a few more thoughts!