child development

Hovering Helicopter Parents Are Addicted To Meddling, Evidenced By Ridiculous Reddit Thread

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This just in—helicopter parents are as bad as ever, if not worse. I’m fortunate that I haven’t come into contact with that many parents just yet because my young children are still in daycare. In just a few short years, I’ll be one of the playground moms picking them up from school and volunteering for extracurricular activities. I hope you can detect the sarcasm when I say, I can’t wait.

This Reddit parent shared a story that confirmed my worst suspicions about crazy helicopter parents lurking in the shadows:

My 5 year old and 3 year old were at the park. They took their favorite trucks to play it the sand with. Another kid, 6 (I know because I asked his mom) asked to play with my boys and share their dump trucks. They agreed. This kid took both, took over, threw them, and started stomping on them not letting my boys even touch them while his mom looked on and did nothing.

I stepped in, took the trucks, told him while looking at his mom that they were done sharing their trucks and gave them back to my children.

The lady talked to her son and told him that it wasn’t okay not to share and told him to apologize. So he went and said sorry to my boys. They said “okay” and looked at me. I shook my head and the boys kept playing. The 6 year old wanted the trucks back. I told my boys they didn’t’ have to share if they didn’t want to.

His mom looked at me and said “my son apologized”.

I said “that’s great, my boys accepted.”

She said “well they should share again.”

I looked at her and said “Lady, just saying your sorry doesn’t mean you get anything back. There is no reason why he won’t do what he did again. So, no, my boys aren’t going to share their trucks with your kid.”

She was pissed. I mean livid pissed. She took her kid and left and I could see her talking to a guy I can only assume is her husband.

I couldn’t identify the Reddit parent as mom or dad, so we’ll call her a mom for the sake of the story.

This very hilarious, detailed account goes on to say that the woman bitched at her husband and sent him over to do her dirty work. The helicopter husband apologized for his wife and his bratty kid. Helicopter Dad told the other mom that they could just pretend to talk about the sharing issue while Helicopter Mom was watching. Overbearing Helicopter Mom eventually gave up, and the family left the park.

There’s so much to say here that I don’t even know where to dive in. My toddler is just getting to the age where he refuses to share and fights with other kids. I think the non-helicopter mom’s reaction in the story is on point. She appeared to get minimally involved in the exchange between the kids. She also didn’t reward the helicopter mom’s mentality that “everything should be fair” for her special snowflake after he was forced to apologize.

I know it won’t be easy, but I’m committed to letting my kids work out their issues on the playground. I’m just waiting for helicopter moms to swoop in and tell me I’m doing it wrong.

(Image: Angela Waye/Shutterstock)


  1. brebay

    March 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Wow, I just can’t fathom spending the kind of time it would take for me to type something that long on something so mundane. I normally despise twitter; but this chick would benefit from the character limit. Seriously, I’ve gotten maybe a paragraph on here about something that gets me really hot; but much longer than that and I’m like “Oh, fuck, it, I don’t care that much anymore.” This screams “unfulfilled” to me.

  2. Kay_Sue

    March 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I think she handled it appropriately too. There’s something to be said for teaching your kid, age appropriately, that sorry doesn’t magically make things better. I do think I’d have turned into a conversation later on that day–that sometimes, apologizing doesn’t make it better, but that we can work together to figure out ways to get along. I’d probably use the example that if someone apologized for stomping on the trucks, and then wanted to share again, it would be appropriate to say that they could play but only so long as they respected the trucks. Does that make sense? I don’t know.

    Basically, I don’t want to solve it for them…but I want to give them a toolbox full of things they can use to resolve conflict on their own. And this would have been a “coachable moment” for me.

  3. Elisa Probert

    March 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I was always told you only have to share with people you trust not to break (or steal) your toys. You don’t have to share with someone you just met, but if you aren’t going to share with them you need to play something that they can play too.

    These rules came about after a neighbor kid stole the gorgeous handmade Barbie wedding gown my mom had made for my sister, and the kid’s mom replaced it with something from the dollar store. After that, my sister and I never played dolls with that kid, instead we’d swing or slide or play castle on the playground.

    I think I’ll take a similar approach with my own kids someday.

    • N.

      March 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      We follow this rule in our household. My nephew can be quite destructive, so when he visits I tell my children they can choose not to share something’s but they have to then put those toys away until he leaves. It works well for us.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      March 14, 2014 at 7:37 am

      great approach!
      i learned the hard way as a kid to treat other kids toys with respect.
      think i was about 3 or 4, and i had broken one of my cousin’s power rangers.
      not gonna lie, i was being a little brat.
      so my mother calmly took one of my barbies and broke her head and arms off in front of me.
      when i flipped out she asked me- so it’s ok for you to do it to someone else’s toys, but not ok for yours?

      i was pissed for about a week before the message sank in lol

  4. SA

    March 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    If my kid does something similar she would be apologizing and we would leave the park immediately as her punishment. There isn’t room for trying to damage other people’s property.

  5. LiteBrite

    March 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    “This very hilarious, detailed account goes on to say that the woman bitched at her husband and sent him over to do her dirty work.”

    Am I the only one who feels kind of sorry for the husband? If I asked my husband to go talk to some random woman about “sharing”, especially after his own kid acted like a little jerk, his response would be “Are you kidding me?”

    • Kay_Sue

      March 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Not at all. My husband would give me that look and go, “Dafuq I am”. Actually, it kind of makes me want to try it. Kind of a Punk’d set up, because I imagine his face would be priceless.

    • LiteBrite

      March 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Yeah, after the “Are you kidding me? DAFUQ?” response, he’d insist on taking the boy home. Then I’d probably have to listen to him bitch about why more parks don’t have beer gardens.

    • Crusty Socks

      March 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Wait, so you’re saying there are parks with beer gardens?

    • LiteBrite

      March 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Yes there are! (Well, at least in Milwaukee, where God forbid you go anywhere without some kind of alcholic beverage in your hand.)

    • Andy

      March 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Damn it! Why didn’t I ever venture up to Milkwaukee when I lived within driving distance?

    • ted3553

      March 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      My husband would give me a double take because it would take him that long to digest that I just ran to him and asked him to go talk to that mean ol’ mom for me and then he would let fly with something like “as f*&*ing if” and laugh at me

    • Bethany Ramos

      March 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      This is why I was confused about whether the writer was a man or woman. If it was a dad, then the talk was “man to man.”

    • LiteBrite

      March 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Oh that’s right. I was under the assumption it was a woman/mom. But I did see where you said you weren’t sure.

      I edited my response a bit.

    • Bethany Ramos

      March 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      If it was a mom, that dad needs to grow some balls!

    • Erica

      March 7, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Looking through OPs history, they mention “my wife and I”, so it’s probably a pretty safe assumption that OP is a man.

    • Bethany Ramos

      March 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Solved, thank you! I got that vibe too but couldn’t seem to track it down.

    • Rachel Sea

      March 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      He is a big boy, if he thinks his wife is being irrational, he should tell her to her face, not go tell a stranger instead. I think they’re both jerks, for totally different reasons.

    • Lackadaisical

      March 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I think I feel sorry for him but perhaps pity him is more accurate. Yes, he is henpecked like a husband in a sitcom by a lazy writer but that doesn’t make him absolved from the actions of his family if he humours them. The 6 year old behaved badly, but in the way many 6 year olds will. That’s where a parent steps in and corrects them so they learn how to behave well, and not just in a lip service apology way so that you can demand what you want after pretending contrition. The kid has two parents, both of them are responsible for guiding him. If the father can see that his wife and son are behaving badly then he shouldn’t encourage them by going along with it for an easy life or he is just as responsible as they are.

  6. ted3553

    March 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    What rule says you have to share your stuff? I understand the principle behind sharing and teaching kids to do it but I also think that if someone chose not to share with my kids, I would be teaching mine that it was ok and that because that truck belonged to that boy, he didn’t have to share if he didn’t want to.

    • Lackadaisical

      March 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      I was confused by that too. Other kids do not bring toys to a park just so that your own darling can play with them when you haven’t brought toys, especially when you are all complete strangers. Sharing does not mean I am entitled to whatever you have will letting you have nothing in return.

    • Andy

      March 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      That was my thought too-my daughter is almost four and at the age where she likes to bring a few special toys with her anywhere she goes. Right now it’s her Elsa doll that, after “Frozen” went nuts at the box office, took me a whole freaking day to track down at a store. The hell I’m going to make her share with a demanding kid who may or may not treat it with the care she does.

  7. Jessifer

    March 7, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Oh boy. What did she expect her husband to do? Call the sharing police?

  8. Crusty Socks

    March 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I’m kinda embarrassed to ask this, but… which one is the helicopter mom?

    • Bethany Ramos

      March 7, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      The crazy one bossing her husband around! Or mom #2. 🙂

    • Crusty Socks

      March 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      less helicopter than unrighteous indignation bitch, no?

    • Nerdy Lucy

      March 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I didn’t really find the FATHER (OP is a man) to be all that bad.

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 2:47 am

      Lucy! Long time!

      Yea, I thought the husband did the best with the hands he was dealt too.

      That psycho mom seems like a bad person to be married to.

    • Peewee

      March 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

      LOLOL. It is hard to tell.

  9. Justme

    March 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I have to admit…I’m not sure which side I’m supposed to be on? I thought the mom with the two boys who own the trucks was pretty spot on. I’d be upset if some random kid at the park started being destructive with the toys I paid for, you know what I mean? And sorry, but not all toys are meant to be shared. If you have proven yourself to be an untrustworthy person with my stuff….there isn’t a big chance you’re going to get to play with anything of mine ever again.

  10. SusannahJoy

    March 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Ugh, this is why I need some mom friends. I don’t know anyone with a kid my kid’s age, and he needs some peer interaction. He’s never going to learn to share if he’s always by himself. I don’t like people though. And making friends is hard and scary.

  11. whiteroses

    March 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    My (former) pediatrician doesn’t provide toys for kids to play with. So whenever my son went to the doctor, I always carried a bag full of his favorite toys with me so he wouldn’t be bored to tears while waiting (and possibly disrupt other patients). A little girl wanted to play with him, which I was fine with. She ripped the ball he was holding out of his hands and said, “Look, mommy, I found a ball!” She looked up at me and tried to put the ball in her pocket.
    I could see where that was going, and I said, “Can he please have his ball back, sweetie?”
    “No, it’s mine! I found it!”
    Her mother managed to look up from her cell phone long enough to say, “Can’t you just give the ball to her?”
    My response? “No, I can’t. That ball belongs to my son.”
    “Well, it won’t hurt him to give my daughter his ball. He has plenty of other toys.”
    I stared at her and said, “If you think I’m giving away my son’s toys because your daughter can’t understand the concept of sharing, you’re delusional.”
    I feel sorry for that kid. She’s going to get a lot of rude awakenings.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      March 9, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      I love that you gave her a verbal smackdown, and give you mad props that it didn’t turn into a real smackdown….because it would have been tempting.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      March 14, 2014 at 7:41 am

      wow fair play!!!

  12. gothicgaelicgirl

    March 14, 2014 at 7:34 am

    think my fella would look at me and say- you’re big and ugly enough to argue with that mom yourself lol. =P

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