5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 5)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

For those still with me, we have officially reached the finale of this series! Wahoo! I’m super excited to have taken this journey with you.

Okay, so there’s been (hopefully) some really good GodStuff for you to pray through and contemplate over this last month. If you haven’t read the first 4 blogs, I highly encourage you too check them out first. Here’s a link to the first one to get you going.

As this is only a 5 part series, I had a heckuva time whittling down the entire book. Not to brag, but there’s just so much good stuff in there- not because I’m a brilliant writer, but because God has tons of stuff to say about how to overcome fear and raise our children with Him at the helm. The Bible is just chalk-full of wisdom for this area! So as much as I’d love to write it all out (oh wait… I did… seriously check out the full book!) I’ll leave you with one more nugget of advice for helping to overcome this helicopter parenting thing.

Prayer!!!!

Prayer is a thing people… and not only a thing… but an extremely powerful thing- a thing that brings peace, calm, and comfort. It’s a thing that nurtures your relationship with Christ, will bring His supernatural aid, and produces results. Simply put, prayer is the lynch-pin to this fearless lifestyle we’re all trying to attain.

We should be circling anything and everything in our lives in prayer- not the least of which is our children!

The obsessive nature of our fearing needs to be turned to obsessive praying! The goal is to pray-walk

through every aspect of your life and the lives of your children.First thing in the morning, pray. Before

meals, pray, Walking to the park, pray. Have a fear pop up- pray. Worrying about your kids- pray. Sitting at

the computer at work- pray. Driving in the car- pray. Let it infuse the beginning of every single new moment

of your day. We do a walk- around every time those skids leave the ground, which for some calls, is

multiple times on one flight. Make it a habit. Make it a very necessary practice in your head.

We’ve learned about taking all your fears and thoughts captive, now let’s bind them up,

down, and around and around. Let’s start praying circle upon circle around those fears. Hedge

them in with prayer! Make so many prayer circles around them that they are literally strangled

out. Death by prayer-asphyxiation! Suck all the life out of them by enrcircling them with prayer.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, I Peter 5:7.Those fears that paralyze you,

that freak you out, that make day to day normalcy impossible- pray around them, pray and pray

and pray about them, pray through them, underneath them and over them.

I am absolutely all about envisioning things. Putting a minds-eye visual assignment to

stuff. Use this tool if it helps you to ‘see’ what prayers can do. Personally I have all kinds of

prayer visuals- I imagine chains of bondage going around my fears when I pray against them. I

shoot ‘arrows’ up towards heaven with improper thoughts I find myself having. I imagine my

guardian angels flying through the air to assist me when I know I’m going in to a spiritual

warfare situation and I’m praying for strength. Much of this came from my counseling

experiences and I’ve found the imagination to be a very helpful place to put spiritual eyes on

soul-problems.

Conversely, I pray rings of protection around my children all the time. Whenever fears or

concerns of any kind rear up (whether logical or not) I pray circles around them. I think of them

as layers of spiritual bubble wrap followed by feather pillows surrounded by thick jello and all

suspended by angelic parachutes. Seriously, my kids are protected! They are earlobe deep in

prayer protection all the time. And I take that to the bank, I stand firm on that hill, and I rest

peacefully in their protection- because I’ve been intentional and proactive in my prayers for

them. I willfully and faithfully choose to believe that God’s got them because I’ve give them

back to Him, prayerfully, all the time. It takes some practice but, for me, it helps.

When it comes to fear, circle it, pray and pray and pray. Everytime you pray-walk around

that fear you strength the bonds that hold it, you create more safety from it, and you diminish it’s

ability to rear up and kick you in the shin. Instead of it chaining you to the ground, you are

imprisoning it. You are making it captive (very literally a prisoner) to Christ! Bind it spiritually with repetition

and persistence until it is strangled out by Christ bonds… and, poof! that fear is

no longer able to move, blink, paralyze, or handicap you anymore. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 13)

Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we all too often use it as a last resort. Someone gets ill, we Google it, we ask friends, we try oils, etc etc and THEN when all else fails… we pray. Friends, this should literally be the FIRST thing we do. Our fears, our worries, our anxious thoughts… why are we not taking those early and often to the Throne? Why?? Doesn’t ‘work’ the first time, still battling those demons? Take them to the Father again… and again. And AGAIN. BE that needy widow beseeching the king. BE that irritating ask-er to the Lord. Spend so much time on your knees that you don’t have the time to actually worry. I promise you… THAT is very much a ‘thing’.

Do THAT kind of thing… you got this! Be that parent that kids grow up seeing on your knees. Let their memories of you be ones of prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication to a very big, very kind, very worthy God.

Whew! You made it! That’s the end of the this part of the trail. If you’re interested more about this prayer stuff, check out a few other blogs (The Power of Generic Prayer, and When All Else Fails Pray First among many others.) I also posted an entire series about praying through God’s names which is spectacular and written by the very talented Karen Guthrie. You can also check out the entire section within this blog that is just poetry and prayers or (again!) grab a copy of Helicopter Mom, chapter 13 not only goes into more depth regarding prayer but has several practical specifics that will give you a jump-start into a new prayer-life.

For those who’ve made it this far and have read the entire series- I’ve got a surprise for you! I’m giving away a FREE, autographed copy of Helicopter Mom to those who had traveled this far with me. I want to keep up your momentum by giving you the entire ‘fearless mom user-manual’!

So here’s the deal- Go back through the series and (if you haven’t already) comment on each blog post. What stuck you? What are you working with God through? How did that post affect your parenting or fear? Anything that’s on your heart will do! Next, be sure that you’ve signed up (if you haven’t already) for my email list. Next, wait with bated-breath to see if the computer chooses you! I’ll do the drawing on July 13th, 2019 so that should give you plenty of time to get the blogs read.

I also have some super-exciting new! A version of this series will also be available on YouVersion this summer. It’s in the works so stay tuned!

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 1)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

Okay, so it occurred to me the other day that although I’ve published an entire book about helicopter parenting and how to avoid being one, I’ve never really written a blog about it. So, in order to wet your whistle I’ve decided to condense the book into a few super helpful (and more importantly, BIBLICAL) tips on how to ‘not be that parent.’ This will be an short blog series that I’m super excited to bring to you, hopefully you will gain insight into yourself as well as your fear behaviors. More importantly I pray that you will be inspired to LIFT instead of hover! .

We all know them, some of you ARE them… helicopter parents.

As some of you may know, I <sort of> know a thing or two about this particular phenomenon. Being a flight nurse for a number of years gave me an extremely unique perspective on the helicopter mom thing. And oh! dear ones… it is most definitely a thing… and a growing thing at that. Following the launch of Helicopter Mom I heard from all manner of helicopter grandparents, helicopter dads, helicopter wives, helicopters bosses, helicopter husbands… literally the list is almost endless. There are people hovering all over the place!

As it turns out, everyone on the planet has fears. Which is the crux of what Helicopter Mom is about- facing fears for your children (or fears of fill-in-the-blank…) and pushing past them so that we can LIFT! But for those who haven’t yet read the book, I’ve condensed it for you (I highly encourage you to get yourself an actual copy though, I’ll even autograph it for you!)

So, without any further ado, here’s 5 takeaways from the book that will help all you hoverers out there. (Stay tuned for all the follow-up sister-blogs to this one!)

Acknowledge the REASON for the hovering behavior.

Fear is a funny thing. It manifests as worry, anxiety, co-dependency, love at times, abuse at others. None of it’s manifestations is healthy or of God however.

I remember, before having my boys, my younger sister talking to me about the overwhelming

fear she had experienced as a new mom. I had not yet had my own children, so I had no personal

experience to base her reports, but I had been around enough new parents as a nurse that I could

at least empathize with her musings. Then I had my first son…. And suddenly a dark cloud of

fear came into my field of view almost immediately. Like storm clouds in the distance, the

horizon suddenly became dark… and as I held my newborn child, Jesse, I suddenly felt fear

unlike I’d known before. Fear for his life, for his health, for his walk with Jesus, his first scrape,

his first heartbreak; fear for potential car wrecks, drowning, kidnapping, tornadoes, dog bites,

tick bites, spider bites; fear of future addiction, future relationships, future grades in school,

future illness, future sports losses; fear for rug burns, wrestling bruises, choking on hot dogs,

falling out of trees, eating poisonous house plants… well, you get the idea. In one fell swoop, I

was terrified, stricken, paranoid, and basically rendered into a blob of new-mom goo. After all,

being an actual helicopter mom, I’ve seen the worst of the very worst happen to kids…. Believe

me, I guarantee you some of my peds calls can rival your worst nightmares! And now I had my

very own kid to raise, keep safe, keep fed, keep healthy… basically keep alive. All of a sudden, this mom

thing was looking a bit out of my league… actually I was thinking it was not even in

my universe.

Anybody relate?

As if these (technical) possibilities of maiming, dismemberment, horrific death, and slow

parasitic wasting away by some remote Pacific island virus carried by a previously unknown

species of albino snail was not enough- my mind was completely unprepared for the absolutely

sick and twisted visions I would have occasionally of me accidentally causing death to my son. It turned

my blood cold that such musings would pop into my head. I seriously though there was

something seriously, seriously wrong with me. Surely I was, in actuality, the worst mom/human

being/wife on the planet! Who thinks such things? It’s one thing to be paranoid, it’s quite another

to envision yourself causing the hurt. Lord Jesus, I thought! What is wrong with me??

Anybody relate?

And yet, even in the midst of these visions, feeling these feelings of inadequacy and

incompetence… I also, just as vehemently, decided that I, and I alone could protect my son from

all these things. I would protect him from the big, bad world out there. And, perhaps, in my

biggest shortcoming and display of pride, decided that I could protect him from the big, bad

world out there. He was mine, my very own, my son, my precious (cue Gollum voice...); and I

was going to ensure his forever safety- come hell or high water. Makes perfect sense right? I

should’ve won the award for most delusional and hypocritical mother for 2012.) <I’m pretty sure

I was at least nominated… I’ve yet to receive any official letters about it though.>

Reading about my mindset on paper clarifies the absolute absurdity of my feelings. Yet, in

the moment, at the time, and I suspect for many of you, these thoughts and attitudes, oxymoronic

as they are, seemed totally legit. And how much do those delusions still dictate and shape our

lives?

This is a scary book to write but I imagine for those of you who live in the fear of the Valley

of the Shadow of Death, this book is even more scary to read. Scary because, as I’ve already

said, it addresses our very deepest and darkest fears about those we love the very most.

But I do know a thing or two about fearing for our kids. Mine and yours. Too often their lives

are in my hands… and that, my sisters, is absolutely terrifying. I know you hear what I’m saying.

Kids are petrifying. Fear for their health, their well-being, their life, their bodies, their brains,

their emotional stability… every single, little, sticky, hair on those heads is precious to us. And

damn it! we’re going to keep them fed, healthy, alive, and unharmed in any possible way

including physically, mentally, emotionally, economically, spiritually, politically,

geographically, seasonally, religiously, homeopathically, etc. etc. etc. etc.

We all know that we fear for our kids. This chapter could be an entire book by itself, talking

about talking about writing about fearing for our kids. We talk at nauseum about it. We feel

guilty about feeling guilty about fearing for them. But enough of talking about it and I’m

certainly not writing about it anymore, let’s look at it. (excerpt Helicopter Mom ch.2,)

In order to truly fix any problem we must first acknowledge that it exists right? I had a crazy hard time with publishers getting Helicopter Mom published because editors had an issue with my demographic. In the wise words of one of them, “The women who need this book most likely fall into 2 categories- either they are totally unaware that they are a helicopter mom, or they are very aware of it and proud to have the badge. You’re going to have a hard time getting people to read it.” They were not wrong. This is a systemic, western parenting issue. And yet, whether is be oblivion or a medal of honor, living in fear and the attempts to mitigate it is no way to live.

Like in all successful recovery programs, we have to admit we have a problem.

“Hello, my name is Sally Sue and I am a helicopter mom.”

Cue, “Hello Sallys” from around the room.

So, today, right here right now… let’s take a look at your fear level. This is written specifically for moms out there… but the Biblical principles we’ll apply are good for any kind of fear, worry, and anxiety.

Prayerfully consider your fear levels. Here are some questions to ponder-

Where are you on the helicopter mom scale? Do you make decisions (both for or against) out of fear?

How much time do you spend just flat-out worrying about your kids?

How much energy do you expend hovering over them (physically, emotionally, academically, etc etc etc.)?

How much of your head is partitioned off and labeled “things to worry about”?

Pray it out. Admit the problem, whether huge or small, and let’s start rooting it out! See ya next week for the next step!

If you’re like, “Yaaasss, it’s about time. I NEED this book!” I’d love to get a copy into your hands! It can be purchased on Amazon or this website (if you buy it from my website, I’d love to autograph it for you!)

Playing Hide and Seek

Lately my kids have been on a hide-and-seek kick. Generally from each other, though occasionally they just <love> to hide from me... especially when they're playing and I'm not even aware that I'm in the game.

They think it's hilarious to hide when I call them.

The other day after a particularly frustrating round of me calling and looking for my oldest (all the while not knowing she had decided it was hide-and-seek time) I came to my momma-whits-end. I had started by simply telling her it was time to get in the car. She disappeared. After 5 minutes I was generally yelling around the house telling her is was time to get in the car. After another 5 minutes I was actively searching for her and yelling even louder to come.get.in.the.car. We were late. I was frustrated. I had finally realized somewhere along the line that she was in fact, playing the game and not being <completely> disobedient.

And yet she was being completely disobedient.

And now several people would be late to a  function that would make many others have to change their plans as well.

That night my husband and I were talking over the general hide-and-seek situation. As I was bemoaning her general lack of behavior and how it vastly changed the outcomes of our afternoon, God gently reminded me that I had done the very same thing to Him... on more occasions to count.

How many times had He told me to do something and I didn't? I ran away. I hid. Like my daughter I literally went the other direction and disappeared. How much of His Word, meant for my good and instruction, have I disobeyed? Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes I was simply 'playing' a game and not listening, and other times I intentionally and purposefully didn't listen.

I was immediately convicted that my own games of hide-and-seek with my Father have (I'm sure) caused my fair share of frustration and Fatherly angst. Several situations in which I didn't do what I was supposed to ran across my memory-banks. Ugh. I wonder how many people were depending on me to obey? I wonder how much blessing I lost out on because I didn't listen to what I was told? I pondered who I made 'late' and who had to change their 'plans' because I was MIA. Innumerable I imagine.

But God is good, and even in those dark thoughts He reminded me of something else. That just like I had done for my daughter (probably a bit less angry...) He will also come looking for me. When I was lost, He came after me. Yelling my name, searching high and low.

Better yet, HE is never hard to find, because He never plays games with me. If I need Him, He is there- right there, always ready and willing to be together. There are no games, no hide-and-seek, no wondering where He could be.

In that moment and in the moments after, I have found that wonderfully reassuring. I have a God and a Father who looks for me and is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He will not tire of searching for His wayward daughter, nitwit that I may be at times.

Deut. 31:8 "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” ESV

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ESV

Isaiah 41:10 "...fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ESV

Amen and Amen!