- The mother who drives three hours every week to her son's college to do his laundry.
- Moms who contact their children's prospective employers to put in a good word.
- The mom who shares bank accounts with her 24- and 22-year-old sons so she can monitor their spending.
- And my favorite: A young woman who landed a prestigious job right out of college had a birthday coming up. So her mom called her daughter's boss and asked if a cake could be delivered to her daughter while her co-workers sang "Happy Birthday" to her. The boss said, "This is Wall Street. We don't really do that here."
As ridiculous as these may sound, I believe most parents have the potential to hover. Of course we want our kids to succeed and make good decisions, so it's tempting to hold their hands well into their adult lives to make sure they get where we think they need to go.
But what is going to happen to these kids who have everything done for them? I think helicopter parents are unwittingly setting their kids up to ultimately fail.
The truth is that the moment our children are born, we as parents begin the gradual process of letting go. It only gets harder as they get older, but good parenting is preparing our kids for adulthood, and then sending them out into the real world to make their own decisions -- good and bad. I think one of the most essential things we can do as parents is let go.
We all have mental checklists of things we want to do and not do as parents. A new one on my list is "don't hover."
And another one: "Teach the kids how to do laundry before they graduate from high school."