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We’ve all heard about helicopter mothers, the moms you see in the soccer field cheering their kids on from the stands, and if said kids do not happen to be on the winning team, these moms get very upset.
Helicopter Moms — coined by Jim Fay and Foster Cline, have received a bad rap – and for good reason. These parents hover just above their kids’ heads (and hearts), watching their kids’ every move, and basically living their own life through that of their suffocating and frustrated children.
But what about Helicopter Grandparents? How do they fit into the picture? Do Helicopter Moms (and Dads) who are unchecked (and haven’t worked on themselves to undo their annoying helicopter behaviors) grow up to become Helicopter Grandparents?
My definition of a Helicopter Grandparent is “one who hovers over his or her grandchildren’s choices of schools, and other lifestyle choices; one who busies oneself with the myriad details of what is going on with the adult children and subsequently their kids.”
As a new grandmother, I have tried hard not to meddle in my adult kids’ lives, and especially in their little boys’ lives. But my grandsons are ages 5 1/2 and under, so it’s not that hard yet for me, is it? They are still cute and irresistible and don’t do anything wrong. So it’s all pretty easy for me to be a non-meddling grandma.
Just wait till they get a bit older; then the test of my maturity will begin.
And how do the Helicoptered Grandkids fare? Do these adult kids – who often are married and have their own families – tune out their grandparents and (pretend to) obey them for the sake of the peace? Or do they disown said grandparents? Do they get into fights with them? Do they simply lie to them and not tell their grandmothers and grandfathers what is really going on in their lives?
Do they care?
How does it work with Helicopter Grandparents and their Helicoptee’s?
I’ve been wondering about this phenomenon, as I’ve spoken to many grandchildren to find out their relationships, perceptions and opinions of their grandparents. I’ve done some informal research about grandparents’ attitudes and find that just as there are many flavors of helicopter parents, there are many types of helicopter grandparents.
And just as there are different ways to deal with one’s helicopter parent (basically you are stuck with him or her, kiddo! You’re a kid, remember?), there are several ways that grandchildren tend to deal with their grandparents who mix into their lives.
These ways depend upon the culture of the family, the persistence of the grandparent (some are very stubborn) and other factors. In future posts, I will discuss various examples of Helicopter Grandparents.
Tags: adult children's choices, coping and dealing with difficult people, generation gap, grandkids, grandmother emotional maturity, Grandparent relationships, grandparents, Helicopter Moms, helicopter parents, Opinionated Seniors, parenting, sandwich generation