Good Parenting or Overly Obssesive?

A letter to a daughter…

 Where’s the love?  On Valentine’s day, I stumbled upon a blog from a mother to her daughter.  I read it and thought that is was beautiful.  Then I read the comments and was irritated by many of them.  Yes, the letter may have been a little over the top to some, but it’s her letter to her daughter….who are we to judge?

It’s sad she would be called obsessive, disturbing, and completely neurotic for bonding with and loving her daughter.  I could relate to so many of the things she said.  This woman gave birth to her only child.  She was scared to death when she was told the child would die of Leukemia.  Yes, she found out it was a mis-diagnosis,  thank goodness, but she still has a serious disease.  I am sure the fears never fully went away.  These things makes your love stronger.  If you have never experienced grief, fear, loss, or childhood illnesses, be thankful!  We all travel our own journey which makes us who we are.   In my eyes, she is a loving mother on so many counts.  We need more of her in this world.  I wish I could reach her to talk to her about being a foster parent.  There are kids all over America who just want to be loved.  She would make a great foster mom.  She has a lot of love to share.

Having had an only child for 6 years, I can totally relate.  My daughter was and still is my miracle baby.  I still tell her that now, 10 years later!  I was terrified when I lost her twin early on.  I lived in fear I’d lose them both.  In the end having preeclampsia was dangerous for the both of us.  We survived.  She was  teeny tiny, a preemie.  A fighter.  My miracle.  I’m allowed.  Maybe all of this makes me have a deeper appreciation.  I DO.  I don’t take any of it for granted.  And, it doesn’t make me crazy!

mom's hellicopter

I am not afraid to admit I am sort of a hellicopter parent.  Do I really have a choice these days?!  Seriously.  However, I am happy to report that on the hellicopter quiz I scored a 13….”nice job”.  So, I guess that means I am doing ok!  Yes, I love her to death.  Would do anything for her.  Worry about her all the time.  She is my world.  This goes for all of my kids.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve given birth or not.  Why do people think that it does?!  It would still rip your heart out if something happened to them!  You love them all, to infinity and beyond as my boys like to say, unconditionally.

This does not make me insane, obsessive, disturbing, or neurotic.  It makes me caring, loving, and bonded!  We’re connected.  I want my kids to know they are loved.  Always.

To those who could see nothing but the negative……you may be missing out on the small things in life…which are the big things!

Look for me in the sky…..hovering ever so slightly. 

Have you been called a hellicopter parent?  Know any?  Would you change a thing?  How would you describe your parenting?  What did you score on the quiz?

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
This entry was posted in fostercare, hellicopter parents, rita's rants, staying connected and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Good Parenting or Overly Obssesive?

  1. hi, I came across your site from altavista and look over some of your other posts. They are brilliant. Pleasee keep it up! Take care,

  2. You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  3. I’m impressed,Nice blog you have here. Good job keeping it interesting. Regards,

  4. Billy Mott says:

    Hi Rita,

    BTW,,,,, love the say about the journey of 1000 miles ends with, but I often tell young people that the journey of 1000 miles always “begins” with the first step. Like saying “Hello” to someone you don’t know, it seems to be the most difficult word for people to say.
    Love the postings

  5. Billy Mott says:

    Hi Rita,
    I took the helicopter quiz, interesting, I scored 15 on the quiz. I raised two sons and felt I was a hands on parent. When it comes to a parent and a child, there is a certain “space” between them that only the parent and child can enter. Everyone I know loves in their own way, and usually most feel however they love their children it is “unconditional”.
    Personally, I could give a hoot how anyone else feels about how I love my children. The love between a parent and child is so sacred and so private that it is no one else’s business. There is, however, no such thing as loving your child too much.
    I never let a day go by that I didn’t hug my boys, kiss them and tell them that I loved them. They were involved in dancing, singing, basketball, football and wrestling. They were all boy from head to toe, but , they always wanted to know that they were loved and at 40 my son still hugs me , kisses me and tells me that “I love you Dad”, upon meeting and parting.
    Does this make me, obsessive, disturbing or whatever,,,,,,,,,GOOD,,, like I could give a hoot, yes that was cleaned up, just a bit.
    Great post, keep up the good work.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hello Billy,
      I like your “space” comment…the parent/child bond is such a hard thing to describe. And yes, I agree, we all love our kids in our own way…doing the best we can! It’s none of our business how others “raise” their kids, and like another commenter says, as long as they are loved and care for and not abused, butt out! Thanks for sharing your story about your boys. Not all kids have such an active loving dad. I didn’t. Yes, my dad loved me, and I knew it, but he wasn’t around much, and was not active in my life while I was young. Yes, I turned out ok, I had a very strong mother in my life, but having a present loving, active dad would have been nice too. I love that you are so open and affectionate with your son and that it is reciprocated. This is wonderful. I can only hope that my kids are still so affectionate at 40!

  6. This post is so good and really saddens me. How can any parent be criticized for loving their child intensely. The love I feel for my daughters is intense beyond belief though I try not to run their lives for them. I scored 14 but I was reluctant to take the quiz because I hate the term helicopter parent – my daughters elementary school likes to bandy the term around far too much and love to tell us how to bring our kids up – which angers me greatly. Thanks Rita, I got a lot out of this.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      You are welcome Louise. Btw, you are not alone! I was afraid to take the quiz too…lol! And, I can’t stand the words “hellicopter parent” either…but based on our quiz results we’re not doing so bad…which makes me very happy! Thanks for stopping by and sharing:)

  7. Fiona Stolze says:

    Rita, I find that each parent has to find their own way with regard to how they relate to their kids. And who is say when a mum is being a smothering mother? Where are the boundaries for us when we are loving our children. I have had so many situations where I have risen to the occasion and been ready to draw blood for the sake of my kids. That’s how deep it goes. I have 3 kids and had a very difficult second pregnancy where for weeks I was afraid I might lose my child. Boy, that goes deep. And I have had many situations where I was (and still am) totally the protector with my third son due to extreme social difficulties. You really feel the love as a mother. Everything else fades in comparison.

    Thanks for sharing in honesty.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Fiona, your comment brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the fear. At the time, nothing anybody would tell me could take away the fear. Unless you’ve been there I am not sure you can truly understand it! I am like you, once you become mommy/daddy, protector is part of the job description. We all want to feel protected! Thank you for sharing your personal story with me….I stand with you – ready to draw blood:)

  8. Jillian says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Rita. I went and took the quiz first, and scored a 15; I really thought I was going to score even lower! I try to live and parent with the intention that my girls will be resilient and flexible, all while knowing I love and support them in *their* hopes and dreams.

    Next, I went and read the letter, and I am struck by a few things: first, that as a teenager, and up to a few years ago, I would have given my I-teeth for a letter like this from my (still living) mother. For most of my life, I chased after her approval and love. This daughter is completely blessed to have a mother who loves her and is not afraid to tell her (and the world!). More power to them. Second, the people who are writing the snarky comments are obviously uncomfortable with affection and love; it’s too bad for them.


  9. Our deepest feelings about our children can be frightening because of the potential for unthinkable loss. Perhaps the writer of this sensitive and soul-baring piece broke through the barriers of some folks and put them in touch with their fears–to which they reacted with hurtful criticism. In a day when parenting can be taken so casually, it’s beautiful to see writing that speaks to the raw wonder and miracle of being a parent. As you noted, everyone is entitled to express their love in their own way.

  10. Yvonne Hall says:

    I’m a 13 too!!!!! Here in LA there are several mommy websites/message boards/yahoo lists. And let me tell you they can be BRUTAL!!! I don’t understand how they can be so judgmental — aren’t we all just doing what we can day to day and the best way we know how? I know I am and I have NO room (or time) to judge.
    Thanks for the post AND the fun quiz.
    Yvonne Hall

  11. I can’t imagine why people would make negative comments on the “a blog from mother to daughter” – the post was beautiful and shows a wonderful love and caring from a mother for her child. I took the helicopter quiz and although it said I was in the middle section, I was very involved with my two daughters and their lives and activities as they were growing up and even though they are married and living their own lives now we have a very special bond and are extremely close. I would as you and Laurie also indicated, take a bullet for them too – does that make me obsessive? NO! I just love them.

    Great post Rita – a lot of food for thought for mothers out there.

  12. June Sockol says:

    My oldest son was born 3 1/2 weeks early. His lungs were underdeveloped and he was on a ventalator for 5 days with a tube stuck down his throat. He was in the hospital for 2 weeks before we were able to take him home. This May he will be 19 years old.

    It took another 10 years before I had my second son. We almost gave up trying because it was taking so long to get pregnant. Both my kids were a surprise, one came earlier then expected, and the other came later.

    Yes, I probably I’m a helicopter mom but I would rather be a bit over-protective then not worry at all. I may drive my kids crazy but they know in the end that I love them to death.

  13. Julie Labes says:

    I believe that the way a parent chooses to parent is the way a parent chooses to parent and as long as the children are not being mistreated, abused or neglected then it is no one else’s damn business.

  14. Hi Rita,

    What an eloquent post! Like some of your earlier commenters, I’m not a parent, so I can only guess at the intensity of your feeling. Probably stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced. Your words are beautiful, and congratulations for achieving a wonderful relationship with your daughter.

    My sense is that “helicopter” parenting works very well for some parents and kids, but not for all. Advocating one parenting style for everyone makes no sense at all.


  15. Rita – Great post and food for thought. As a restaruant owner, I can tell you this: some people just LOVE to be nasty, especially when they are cloaked with the invisabilty and protection of the internet. Having a bad day? Take it out on another person who is probably a better parent than you… wow. Seriously people!

    On another note, I can say that I too am a helicopter parent. There, I’ve said it.
    I had a successful career and then met and fell in love with my amazing husband. We plotted and planned our future. We put a lot of thought into parenting. I had my kids later in life and I know that I am better parent than most. I still have moments of rottenness, but I try, try, try. Thank you for sharing.


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  17. How blessed is the child have experiences this type of love. Last summer my friend’s daughter graduated a year early from high school and they moved her into college in Colorado. They told me that they were the “helicopter parents” that would not leave. They made sure she had everything she needed to start this new chapter in her life. They are now empty-nesters.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development Coach
    “Live without limits because nothing is impossible to you.”

  18. Lisa Vitale says:

    First of all, I clicked thru and read the mother/daughter blog, and although I didn’t read any of the comments, I am disgusted and angry that anyone would see that post as anything other than true, deep motherly love. It was beautiful, true and brought tears to my eyes. Of course, those who do not have children may not get it though.

    Secondly, a 12 on the quiz. :-) So I guess we’re similar in how we parent, which means, I agree with all you said in your post! :-)

    I also think it’s important to point out that being this bonded, this in love with our children, does not by any means mean that they or us are perfect. I feel this way about my children, but they still drive me nuts sometimes and make me want to run away from home other times. Again, the best and hardest job I’ve ever had!

    Lisa Vitale

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thanks Lisa…your comment made me laugh and smile…you read my mind….sometimes I want to run away from home too! Its good to see I am not alone:) Its a tough job….but, the best one yet!

  19. Kelly Fallis says:

    The cool part of this is that the 10 years ago this discussion wasn’t even been had online and reading the letter and all the comments provides an open discussion and avenue for moms to reach out!

  20. Wow…I can’t believe how there were lovely supportive comments and then they just slid off the deep end with people striking out at one another. Honestly, this is why I teach what I do…you don’t have to make other people wrong! I totally understood this mother’s love for her daughter and facing death in that way is going to leave some scars. Those that felt the mother’s love was obsessive because they didn’t behave or love in the same way just need to know that they are fine for doing it differently. There isn’t just one way or one super mom…
    Brandy Mychals
    Communications Coach
    Creator of Split Second Perceptions

  21. Rita – I like the way that you break down all the barriers around this issue. I am the mother of 2 boys and very protective. I am sure that some see this as neurotic, but what can I say? I think that the world today always wants to talk in psycho-babble…..but, we need to love and protect our kids in order to give them the skills to grow up. Nothing is scarier that what they can get involved in nowadays, and it is so important to be hyper aware of what is going on – helicopter or not.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I agree Rachel. To love, protect and prepare them to take the wheel is all we can do! We all want the best for our kids and to keep them safe. If some call us neurotic, so be it…lol! I am with you on this one:) Enjoy the journey with your boys….it goes by so fast!

  22. Donna McCord says:

    I am always so happy to meet other moms who love their children and understand what a gift from God they are! I am the mom of an only child and I can totally relate to how the mom in the Valentine blog described her love for her daughter. My daughter is now 21 years old and in college, and I still think about her every day, become joyful when she calls, look forward like a giddy lover to her visits, and am here for her no matter what. She is in my prayers daily and when she rejoices, I rejoice; when she hurts, I hurt. The moms who took exception to the valentine blog are missing out on what is such a deep connection…I don’t think there is any other connection quite like mother and child. I am guessing that they themselves have never experienced that love from their own moms, and that is very sad. I can only imagine what you must have gone through with your little one and her health concerns; thank God she is well and healthy now! I scored a 17 on the helicopter test, a little on the high side, but still o.k.! Whew! I have been accused before of being an overly attentive mom, but when I look at my daughter and see the lovely woman she has become, I have nothing but joy in my heart!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I believe the mother child bond is like no other…and something you can’t really explain well either! Unfortunately, not everybody had it with their parent, or has it with their kids. So far, I am lucky. Glad to hear you and your daugther have a close relationship as well…and 17 isn’t too high!! I think you are doing a great job! I could feel your joy…your appreciation for your gift from god, and it made me smile (and say awww)! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story…..and good luck to your daughter in college! Hope she comes home for a visit soon:)

  23. Pat Zahn says:

    Wow, of course I had to go read the Love Letter, I can’t imagine what kind of person would put give such negative comments to such a beautiful sentiment. I might be a little more neurotic than most having an only girl-child, but I also give her strategic freedoms to encourage her independence. My definition of helicopter means you are intervening in every aspect of their lives, including doing homework, and later, college applications. When children are young, I think the definition would be interjecting yourself in everything they do, not allowing them to form relationships outside of you. Otherwise, care for and look out for your child they way you see fit.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I guess an only child may mean you have more time to be a bit more neurotic about that one BUT I have four now (so no excuse)….and I am sure some would call me neurotic based on “their terms of overparenting”. Its ok. To each his own. However, I do draw the line. I don’t do homework, projects, sports, or school applications. Thats yours kid. I will look it over and thats about it. My theory is – I am not going to college with you so you need to learn now! My mother never checked my homework or report card…ever! So, its true, I have been known to say to my daughter (and her teachers and principal)…on many occasions…I’ve been there…done that. I am not doing 3rd/4th/5th grade again…lol! They laugh sometimes….but they all know I am serious!

  24. I’m not a parent and for years didn’t think I would make a good one. Now that I’ve fermented I think I would be great. I can only image that if I have such great pleasure from seeing babies, hearing them laugh and cry (just love the sound of their voices) what it would be like to have my very own.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    I’m an exuberant force of light… Come light up your life

  25. I scored a 15 but perhaps it’s not realistic since my kids are 40 and 42! I was thinking about how I handle things with my grandchildren and it’s much easier being a grandparent than being a parent and when I was parenting my children, I didn’t have the skills I needed in the beginning. I was too young and had to learn as they grew. I think they suffered for that and I am very grateful that I was willing to look at my mistakes and correct them even if it was as they got older. I love what you said about the mother and daughter. People are so quick to judge and I think often it comes from their own fear and self-judgment. Keep sharing your story, Rita. So many people out there need to hear what you have to say!

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Susan, a 15 is great! You’re doing awesome…even with the grandkids! I think you are so right about being willing to learn from your mistakes….because if you aren’t willing things can be tough and remain the same. With learning and moving on, you have the abilty to change and make better decisions…in everything you do!

  26. Rita – your post brought tears to my eyes. I am the mom of two adopted girls. One very healthy and one not. I would take a bullet for both of them. I am their mom and my love for them knows no boundaries.
    I tried to take the quiz but the link doesn’t work.
    Beautiful timely post for me as we continue to search for answers for my youngest whose mental illness is treatable with a pill. Thank you.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thanks Laurie – I fixed the link if you are interested in taking it the quiz! Exactly, I’d take a bullet too. Congratulations on your adoptions….and good luck in your search for answers. I know it can be a very hard journey at times, but well worth the trip! Sending you and your family lots of positive thoughts:)

  27. Irene Turner says:

    I’m not a parent so I can’t comment from personal experience. I do have 2 nieces and 2 nephews plus a grandbaby through a stepson whom I love as my own. I can see the deep love one has for their child and all children. I do sometimes have a bit of a concern that they are not learning to handle life on their own and about personal responsibility, but I do bow to the parent and their individual view.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Hi Irene,
      I admire your honesty. Truthfully, its a fine line….we love them, protect them, and prepare them for the real world. Ultimately, we want them to be self sufficient and successful all on their own….ready to fly their own hellicopter one day!

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