Dear Helicopter Moms, You’re Ruining It for Everyone Else

She’s standing there under my 3-year-old, arms aloft like she’s at church waiting for God to drop a truth bomb on her. Baby Bear monkey-shimmies six foot metal ladder.

“Do you know whose he is?” she asks me, almost breathless with terror.

“He’s mine,” I say. “And he’s been climbing that ladder since he was two.”

She goggles at me. And then I know I’m doomed: she’s a hoverer. And unless I hover over my kids, she’ll do it for me, not-so-silently judging me all the time. Thanks for ruining my mama playdate, lady.

Because there are two kinds of parents at the park.

I take my kids to the park a lot. I do it for a few reasons — so they can play with other kids, so they can negotiate a world on their own. They learn to test their bodies: can I climb this ladder? If not, too bad — maybe next time. They learn to run and scream and make friends and do all those things kids do at parks while I sit and talk to mama friends. Because that’s what I do at parks. I talk to my mama friends and make sure, from a safe distance, that no one’s killing anyone else.

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I take my kids to the park for a lot of reasons, but I don’t take them there to play with them. This, apparently, makes me nigh worthy of social services intervention. At least, to the other type of parent at the park. Those are the hoverers.

No bench-warmers, these park hoverers. They come to the park for one reason: to play with their kids. And not at a distance, either. They come to the park to coax Junior up the stairs and down the slide, to bounce him gently on the seesaw, and to swing him endlessly on the swing. No climbing up the slide for him. No testing tall ladders, or tettering near edges, or generally doing whatever it is kids do at the park. I wouldn’t know. I’m not six.

The rounded plastic edges of every playground in America aren’t enough for these moms. Neither is the rubberized or mulched ground. They need to be right there, preferably with arms open to catch a stumbling tot. They adhere to age recommendations. And they ruin it for the rest of us.

It always happens like this: I’ll be sitting on a picnic table with a bunch of like-minded mama friends. One may even be — gasp! — knitting, while the most heartless harpy among us checks looks at her cell phone. A child — usually my youngest — tries to scramble up onto a platform just a little too large for him.

“Where’s your mommy?” I hear the high faux-nice voice say. “I’ll help you up.” And she looks around for someone to stinkeye.

This means that I have to haul my carcass up off the bench and spot my kid, because if he can’t get up on his own, he certainly can’t get down.

These are also the moms who hover theatrically under my children when they attempt to climb ladders, or scale rock walls, or swing from monkey bars. The helicopter moms stand there, arms held aloft, frantically looking for the mother to blame. “He’s making me nervous,” they might self-deprecatingly titter.

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The hoverers strictly enforce Park Rules, the unwritten ones everyone else ignores. Up the stairs and down the slide: they’ll say it loud and often. They’ll side-eye my kids until I get up and manage, “Let’s not climb up the slide, kids.” Even though climbing up the slide, as long as there’s no line, is half of what the slide is for. No sticks on the playground. No wrestling on the playground. No throwing pinecones, even when they aren’t aimed at anyone. No bare feet. No bare chests (hey, my kid got his shirt wet at the splash pad).

And NO playing in the mud, which just sets a bad example, because then her precious angel might want to get dirty as well.

I don’t come to the park to parent. I come to give my kids the freedom from parenting, within reasonable limits. I come to the park to let my kids explore. I come to the park to let my kids be kids.

And when moms stink-eye me for it, or worse, pick my kid up and put him where he can’t get to on his own, they ruin it.

Hoverer, maybe when your arms get tired from spotting Junior, you could try joining us on the bench. It’s nice over here in the shade, and we’re a friendly bunch. Maybe Junior will make some friends. Maybe he’ll run around and get dirty. Maybe it’ll be the most fun he has all day.

In the meantime, keep your helicoptering to yourself.

Related post: The 9 Worst Parents at the Playground

About the writer

Elizabeth blogs at Manic Pixie Dream Mama and writes a regular column for ADDItude magazine. Her work has appeared in Mamapedia, Mamalode, xoJane, and Time Magazine. She has three children, ages 5, 3, and 1, two dogs, sizes large and larger, and one husband, disposition saintly. See her on Facebook at Manic Pixie Dream Mama.

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P 2 days ago

My daughter is 20 months, I would be labeled a helicopter mom. I keep her safe, I let her test her limits and explore on her own and am VERY mindful of my own reasons when I don’t want her to do something, for example, climb down the stairs because she took a tumble this month and it scared the crap out of me. I realize it was my fear driving that decision but and allowed her to climb down the steps with my help to keep her safe but do it anyway. I am that mom at the moment and I am VERY proud of it.

K 2 days ago

I can tell this piece is going to go viral and there will be a lot of discussion. I hope through it moms can learn about each other and try to accept different styles of parenting. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. For example, I have helped a kid get into a swing and I looked for the parent but just to get approval before touching their child. I was just trying to be a team player and help. They thanked me. I felt good helping. The kid was happy swinging.

With my first I was very cautious. After years of infertility I spent a lot of the first year still afraid I might lose him. (I would think, “he’s napping so long, what if he died?”) It was hard to let the feeling go and I was scared watching him climb up the steps to the slide by himself. When I saw a more daring little one, I was impressed (I was not thinking that parent was doing it wrong. If anything, I was comparing and thinking I was doing it wrong but I had fears that ran deep that I had to work through myself.) With my second, I was less worried – I had learned to not worry as much.

But I am still a worrier by nature – I’m wired that way. I had to take medication for Postpartum Depression/Anxiety and the Dr. told me once there are different types of serotonin receptor mechanisms in the brain and I got the one that re-uptakes it quickly. I admire those who are “chill” with their extra serotonin floating around. But I think evolution needed my kind of brain too to look out for sabre tooth tigers, etc.

Bottom line, we are all different and we could all do a better job of loving each other as we are. I think this piece will help people understand your perspective (and others like you) better and I think it’s good you put it out there. My hope is this comment might help you understand me a little better (and others like me).
(although with all the comments rolling in, it might take you a while to get to it 😉 )

Jeremiah 3 days ago

I think this is really dumb. I play hard with my son at the park but i dont hover. So now its all black and white either you are over cautious or you let them do it. I let my son climb up the slide and over things most parents wouldn’t dream of letting a 20 month old dream of doing but im still close and so what if a help him by trying to get him to go down the slide or push him on the swing. I think you should get off your butt and play with them for at least part of being there its called connection on all levels. I understand being over protective and not letting them learn is bad but playing with them is what you should do. my son falls and gets hurt at the park like all boys should and because we let him be free and tell him to shake it off pretty big pains are shaken of with a kiss here kiss here and right back at it. Sorry just don’t like people acting as if everything is black and white when everythings grey. also my kid is the one always keeping up with kids twice his age that didn’t come from being overprotective but it also didn’t come from sitting there on my butt while the play the whole time.

Lynda from Baltimore 5 days ago

I read this essay and a number of the comments a few weeks ago. I was bothered then by the nasty comments and I still am. I am a mother of three college students who were given the freedom to explore and fail. My children are not easy. Both of my boys have ADHD. There were a few visits to the emergency room and tears over poor grades, lost elections and not making the team. My children are stronger because of it. When we were visiting London ten years ago I gave them Tube passes after we had been there a couple of days, told them to stay inside the Circle Line and to meet me at Madame Toussauds in three hours. I had a lovely lunch with a friend. My children met me early and were so excited and proud of their adventure.
There are a number of books recently published that discuss the importance of allowing children to fail so they can develop the confidence to solve their own problems. I recommend Madeline Levine’s “The Price of Privilege” and Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed.” A new book is “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed.” This author is not allowing her child to run feral. She is watching him from a distance to make sure he is safe and does not hurt others, but she is allowing him to explore at his own pace. It is also really important for her to have time with other moms. New motherhood can be very isolating. This is a woman I would want to have as a friend.

Frankie 5 days ago

Wow. What a judgmental piece of work. I’m amazed there aren’t more mothers on here telling you to go **** yourself.

MJ 5 days ago

To everyone that is saying that the auther is spewing hate and contempt, chill out. She’s simply stating her opinion. It’s not like this simple, little article is going to be text book worthy, making headlines and changing history. And, as she said, her kid would probably be safe had that other mom not picked him up and put him where he couldn’t get too. Too me that’s the point. If the kid can’t get there yet he figures that out. On his own!! I too also go to the park to “not parent”. Not saying that I am completely absent should my kids need me, but the playgrround offers a relatively safe place where kids can explore on their own. Everyone who’s freaking out over that, you my dear ladies are the helicopter moms! Where was my mom when I was a kid running the woods, climbing trees, playing in the creek and at the lake with none other than kids my own age? That’s right, she was back at home probably enjoying the hours I was out of the house and actually getting stuff done. The things I was doing were way more dangerous than what a playground offers, I got plenty of cuts, bruises and scrapes out there, but guess what, I survived.

Mom 5 days ago

Some young kids do geniuely need help with going up and down the steps cos they can’t do it properly yet. Besides, what if both parents go to work during the week and they’d like to play with their kids in the park on the weekends. It’s none of your problem.

Amanda Radovic 5 days ago

Perhaps the helicopter mum is just “nice mum that doesn’t like toddlers hurting themselves”. Perhaps the judgement you feel is not because your parenting isn’t perfect either.
Labels suck, as does judgment. This parenting gig is tough. Perhaps your time would be better spent supporting other parents instead of tearing them down.

Melissa 5 days ago

l hope l don’t go to the park you do.

Naomi 5 days ago

I don’t love this blog post simply because I feel like everyone needs to do what they think is best for their kids. I’ve been a hoverer and am less so now that my child is older. I sometimes worry I’ve done him damage by not allowing him to explore his limits more when he was a toddler, but I have a friend who’s children are practically feral because of her hands off approach to parenting. My son has boundaries, knows I’m going to be pretty close by should he need me and also knows I’m not going to let him be the monster of the playground.
I like chatting with my friends at the park, but damn right I’m going to be feeling a little judgmental if you let your 13 month old climb up steep playground equipment full of older kids, while you gossip about helicopter parenting from your bench. And, I bet you’d blame my seven-year-old if he accidentally hurt your unwatched baby while you engaged in petty high school bitchiness with your little clique.

Shannon Staudt 5 days ago

Who cares how people parent. You think helicopter parenting is a new thing? I don’t like it, but I’m not raising their child. There have always been some over cautious parents since the beginning of humanity. As long as they aren’t bubble wrapping my kid I don’t care. Playing with your child isn’t bad parenting – it is interactive parenting. Hovering is when your child is 11 and you are interrupting play to wipe their nose or put on their jacket or say that something was unfair- that is intrusive, and limits a persons ability to learn to navigate simple social situations such as unfairness or group imaginative play. Other than extreme examples I would say playing with your kids is healthy and a great way to bond and keep a strong connection through out life.

Ti 6 days ago

To the author: fuck right off.

Carmela 6 days ago

“When other moms pick my kid up and put him where he can’t get to on his own, they ruin it. ” I believe magda gerber would have agreed with the philosophy.

Paige 1 week ago

Yesterday my three year old was not once able to go down the slide at at the park because two boys were sitting in it for an hour and a half. Both of their moms never even glanced at them for an hour and a half even though my son was crying and I was asking them nicely if he could have a turn. Don’t hover, that’s fine, but if your kid is doing something completely obnoxious, then please intervene.

Kay 1 week ago

Being there is free will, do what u will with your children. Being a trauma nurse, hover as much as you want. I say hover extra; because when your kid breaks his neck, your going to be hovering for weeks over a hospital bed.

Jolene 3 months ago

Well said!

Jolene 3 months ago

I agree!

Jolene 3 months ago

This article sounds extremely judgmental and negative. You sound no better than the “hoverer” who was supposedly judging you. I understand that you feel judged, but putting out this negativity doesn’t solve your problem.

Who cares what anyone else thinks?! If you’re a good and loving mom, then others’ opinions don’t matter. This goes for both sides of parenting personalities.

No one should be judged for watching their children from a distance or for playing with them, or even for putting their arms out to make sure they’re safe.

Everyone has their own comfort level and shouldn’t have to compromise it because another parent doesn’t agree with them.

Amy 3 months ago

I’d like to think that most parents are doing their best; maybe you could consider having a little compassion instead of such scathing criticism. Based on this article I’m not sure you’re that friendly of a bunch.

Tyanna 3 months ago

I don’t come to the park to parent? You sound plain old lazy to me. I would rather watch my kids step then have to take care of them, make them comfortable, and watch them be miserable toddlers in a cast. There is nothing wrong with making sure your kids are safe, and there is everything wrong with not caring whether or not your child is safe or gets hurt. Yes a little scrap or bump is high but my kids don’t need to fall from a drop that would hurt me myself. Don’t be lazy. Watch your kids.

Beth 3 months ago

Sorry, I have to laugh at the people who are worried about their kid getting a Boo Boo. I’m not a helicopter Mom, nor am I the one that sits back. I give them their space and if they really need me I will help. Plain and simple. However, worrying about every tine bruise is just silly. I have three kids, I’ve dealt with split heads (Happened at home, and yes they were being watched), so I’ve adopted the philosophy of ‘If you’re not bleeding and nothing is broken, then you’re fine’. I also learned that if I don;t freak out, my kids won’t freak out

I remember I went to Burger with my kids. My youngest was 6 months old, so obviously he got more of my attention. My daughter- 3 at the time- slipped and fell on her butt. Three mothers jumped gasp gasping in horror. ‘Are you okay baby?’ I asked her. ‘Yeah,’ she yelled before running off to play. One of the moms came over to ‘confront me’. I laughed in her face and said, ‘Nothings wrong with her.’ If my kids are truly hurt I will be the first one to run to them, but I’m not going to make them think that they aren’t capable enough of playing independently.

Carolyn 3 months ago

I don’t normally comment on articles, but today it’s happening. This article comes off as a hateful and spiteful.
We need to stop labeling other mothers as something more than caring mothers who love their kids in their own ways. If you don’t like how one mom chooses to parent their child and sometimes willingly steps in to help other young children in her reach, get over it!
I’m thankful that other moms have my back if I am watching one of my 3 kids in another area of the playground or if I just need a break and sit down to drink my lukewarm coffee and just watch.
Teaching children about guidelines and the correct way to do things is not a symptom of Helicopteritis, it is a sign the mother cares about the health and safety of hers and other children and is preparing them to understand that in life there are some things you can do and some things you can’t. Responsibility. Respect. Reality.
It takes a village…

jen 3 months ago

Thank you!! I completely agree! This article is a thinly veiled bash fest of moms who actually play with and protect their children at the park. She makes it a point to talk about these helicopter moms giving dirty looks to parents & silently judging them, but what is she doing? Vocally judging us!

A Dad 3 months ago

I didn’t really catch the age bracket of kids these with the hovering parents. For me, I take my DD8 to the park and let her play without me because at that age, she needs to play with her friends. I also have a DD1 who I love playing with and I will continue to play with her until I feel she can run around the playground on her own. Even then, I will remain on out there playing with her till she’s at least 4 and maybe longer if I chose to do so. So I guess that makes me a hover parent but I don’t care what you guys think of me, I love my kids and I took them there to spend time with them, so that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t even notice other people when I’m with my kids, so I would never see a so called stink eye. I also don’t interact with other peoples kids I don’t know because I know everyone is hyper sensitive about anyone talking to their kid.If your kid falls down, I’ll help him/her up if it clearly appears that the kid needs assistance and if there is blood dripping down, I’d say your ok, shake it off and go have your mom look at it. If a little common curtsy and being neighborly is too much for you, I’m sorry but I’m not going to change my ways for someone I may see at best once or twice again in my life. Last thing, I think you ladies are taking this way too serious, live your life, raise your kids the best way you can and be happy that we live in areas we can even take our kids to a park.

Chase’s Mommy 3 months ago

If the child is not ready to really socialize then it can actually slow their development down. Also to much socializing with other children can make the child pull away from the parent and cling to children their own age and then they want listen to the parent. With that being said I will take my son when he is older to the park to play with him and let him play with the other children. If I need to help another child I will but I want be one of these parents that ask where their mom is right out of the gate. The only time I will ask is if the child gets hurt or they are being mean to others.

Natalie 3 months ago

I find this entire article to be quite “judge-y” considering it calls out mamas who are allegedly judging!!

I value allowing my children space. I value their (and other children’s) safety. I value my mama time. And I value playing with my kids at the park. It’s not so black and white.

I felt bad for the “helicopter” mama as I read through this post- holy cow, must be tough being written about and accused of ruining everyone’s life!! Thank god you invited her to join you on the (friendly??) mama bench!!!

Sadie 3 months ago

I was thinking something similar…

Sadie 3 months ago

Agreed.

Sadie 3 months ago

She’s built her blog on mom-shaming, unfortunately.

Sadie 3 months ago

I love playing with my kid – at the park and anywhere else – but that doesn’t mean I’m a hoverer. :)

Cara Turner 3 months ago

Perfectly said Gail! How about we all stop being so hard on each other and knock off the labels? I agree with much of the article but also agree that there is some grey area. What I don’t agree with is the decisive, better-than-you tone.

ruth 3 months ago

Amen

Anne 3 months ago

How many times are you going to say something about a kid injuring him or herself at the park?? You really see yourself as a one-woman guardian angel team, eh?

Carrie 3 months ago

If another adult told my child to stop doing something, my child would ignore them or, as my daughter was fond of doing when she was very little, shout ” not my mom” and ignore them. Of course, I had a mom complain to me that my kids (and half the playground) were playing with “guns” (or, their index fingers, held in a very pointy fashion), by saying we don’t play guns at our house and I simply shrugged and said “good thing this is the park and not your house then”, so my kids come by it honestly.

If it isn’t against my rules, I’m not enforcing someone else’s. If my kid is tossing pine cones at a tree, I’m going to let him do that. If your kid isn’t able to do the same without incident, you need to parent your own child and do something about it. Teach them the difference between a rock and a pine cone, a person and a tree. Take them away from other people and let them practice their throwing, where they won’t hit other people, distract them with the slide. Whatever. Anything but telling my kid they can’t do something, that isn’t harmful, because someone else can’t.

Carrie 3 months ago

My job is not to set rules for my kid, because it might influence someone else’s kid to go too far. When my daughter was two, her very favorite game was to leap off the top of the ladder and have me catch her. The platform was a few inches over the top of my head, so high enough she could have gotten hurt if I wasn’t there, but that was the rule, you can jump for awhile and I’ll catch you, but when I’m done, the game is over and you aren’t allowed to jump anymore. The horror on the faces of the first time moms always cracked me, they would turn toward her, arms out stretched, ,Ike they could “save” her from halfway across the playground. I had a mom tell me that she thought it was irresponsible dangerous and I told her not to let her kid play it then and turned back catch my “flying baby”, which is what she called the game.

When my son was 7, he was on a rock climbing team. He climbed everything, all the time, including trees and the outside of play equipment. He had several encounters with parents telling him to get down (which he ignored) and I had more than a few tell me that I shouldnt let him because littler kids might see it and think they could get up there and then get hurt. I suggested they set the rules they were comfortable with and parent their own children, but to leave mine alone.

I also never stopped my kids from climbing up the slide. If someone was coming down ass they were up, and then got wiped out, that was their problem. It took all of one time, getting the stuffing knocked out of them to figure out that you need to pay attention before you climb.

I have no patience for people who think they have any kind of control of a public space.

momofeveryone 4 months ago

I did that! I wonder when my kids will figure that one out lol

Tiffany 4 months ago

What does it make me if I love playing, but I also strongly encourage falling, jumping, rolling. & I’d be climbing the ladder WITH your kid and mine instead of trying to stop him…. Does that ruin it??

Christine 4 months ago

Wow, you have SO much more restraint than I do. I was ready to go nuts on her, but you put it so well. Kudos, Mama!

L 4 months ago

Do what youplease, just push your own kid on the swings….

Jhana 4 months ago

There’s definitely two sides to this. On the one hand it is great to let kids explore on their own and I love getting to chat with the other parents (PARENTS, not just moms, lol. It’s 2015…).On the other hand, time and again I have seen parents completely ignore their kids being absolute assholes (sorry, it’s the only word that works) and they are too busy chatting to take care of it. I have had to step in and the parents have actually had issues with it, but too bad. Your kid is intentionally breaking the toys donated to the park for the little guys and you don’t care? Well, I do so I am going to speak up. Also, sometime s kids DO need help, and it might be your kid. I am happy to help, just like I hope you would do the same for me if I didn’t notice. No judging. Agree that once you and the kid have established that everything is kosher, the worried parent can back off, but instead of being offended that someone wants to help your kid, maybe we should be grateful that we still live in a world where we look out for each other?

Sara 4 months ago

I would not want to join you and your judgmental friends on the bench, even though I’m not hovering over my kids. You ladies are the reason I hate going to play at the park. Good lord, can’t we stop judging each other and just keep to ourselves?

Susan 4 months ago

Wow that has to be, of all the comments I have read on this blog, the most judgemental, uneducated reply I have read. No child should be kept at home least of all one who suffers from sensory disorders. They are children just like your own only they have difficulty dealing with too much input. The fact that the mom you replied to stays with her child to ensure he/she does not hurt another child is responsible and a way to help teach that child a better way of coping. You obviously have no idea how hard it is to deal with a child who is not a “normal healthy” child and should probably take some time volunteering with said children to get educated. I bet you are one of those moms who judge others when their child is screaming and refusing to go the way the parent wants to go even when the parent is clearly trying to deal with said child. I will assume you would not recognise a child with autism and this is just one way it shows itself. Stop being so judgemental and try to learn about the difficulties other parents go through.
I have a niece and nephew who have aspergers and I have another niece and nephew who suffer from sensory processing disorder. I have gotten the looks when the little angels did not do exactly as society has dictated that they should and to be honest I am sick of the judgement and they are not even my children. Lord only knows how much crap their parents have to go through.

Fiona 4 months ago

It’s pretty easy to occasionally look up from my book to check on my kid. I also have a sense of hearing which I can use to keep track of my kids. I’m sorry you can’t multitask. By all means follow your kid around and never let them out of your sight ever. Just leave my kids alone, they aren’t yours to hover over.

Propella momma 4 months ago

Wow! How incredibly judge-mental!!!

Ginger 4 months ago

I too play with my kids. It’s fun. You are only judging “helicopter” moms because you are not confident in what is happening. If another mother gives you any sass, state your opinion rather then getting huffy? “I am letting them explore, learn etc, following the principles of etc etc and I would love if you let them play alone with the other kids. I’ve got my eye on them” just be polite and firm in your manner and everyone can just get on with life. Xx

Kayleigh 4 months ago

I hate these articles, another parent pigheadedly assuming they can read other peoples minds and know their life story then judge them as they see fit.

My mother looked after children with special needs and many of her autistic kids had to have extra care taken of them as they didn’t judge danger in the same way as other children. Some had sensory differences and struggled with coordination or were panicked by things (like other kids) approaching them too fast.
Or perhaps she’d usually stand back and watch but she feels uncomfortable as there are a gang of mothers on the bench throwing her dirty looks…

It just makes me feel awful for the ‘helicopter mother’ being stared at and talked about by a group of clicky ‘free-range’ mothers sitting huddled on a bench in their ‘better mothers than you gang’. Instead of them explaining why she shouldn’t have helped their kid up as they can’t get back down (because we all know a dirty look says it better) and maybe asking if she wants to come over to the bench with you all.

Carrie 4 months ago

I was telling my husband about this article, and the ridiculous things that were being posted, and I of course told him about your post!! He wants to know something….Dos that include YOU as far as being a “potential sex offender”? LMAO.

Beth 4 months ago

How dare someone go to the park to play with their own children! I don’t necessarily hover over my children but I do often play with them when I take them to the park. If that ruins your time at the park then I think that’s more about your guilt but it doesn’t make me or any other mother who plays with their children anything but a mom who wants to have fun with her children. What a sad, judgy article. Women like this are the moms who ruin it for the rest of us.

Heather 4 months ago

I’m sorry. You do not understand sensory disorders at all. I would suggest you educate yourself about them. I also suffer from migraines. I have since I was 2 and I am now 36. I know the pain they cause. I also have a son with Sensory Processing Disorder. They are not the same thing. He also suffers from migraines. I am thankful that his reaction to loud sounds as a small child was so put his hands over his ears and cry. That was a more socially acceptable reaction. However, for some children, they have a primal need to make the offensive noise stop. These children should not be kept at home. I would suggest you check out websites such as http://www.thesensorysmartchild.com and http://www.sinetwork.org

Heather J 4 months ago

I was agreeing with most of this article, until I got to the part about the, “up the stairs, down the slide”, “don’t throw pinecones”, etc.

Yes, I do that.

I do that because:

NO, slides were not PARTLY made for climbing, they are made for SLIDING, hence the name.

Children shouldn’t be throwing anything on the playground. Just because there isn’t a child in the direct line of fire at that particular moment, doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the next few seconds.

No sticks because, DUH, kids swing sticks around and play “swords” That’s how OTHER kids lose eyes.

No bare feet because, DUH, there could be really nasty things hidden underneath the, mulch, gravel or whatever other material the playground floor is covered in. Nasty things, such as hypodermic needles used by herion junkies. Yeah, no hep c for my kids today, thanks. (No matter how nice you think your neighborhood park is.)

No wrestling because, DUH, there are other children around that could get hurt in the crossfire.

I’m not a “helicopter” mom. I’m a “making sure my child knows and follows, SIMPLE, BASIC rules of being mindful of your surroundings in order to keep YOUR CHILD a little bit safer” mom.
See, I don’t want or need to front some other kids medical bills.

Christina 4 months ago

So I’ve noticed other mom’s that have the same problem I have at the park commenting here. While this is a great article for those with children old enough or able enough to do on their own, I run into a different side of this problem when I go to the park. My 18 month old is able to climb the slide ladder, but I’m certainly not going to let him do it alone at 18 months! So, that puts me at the slide, at the ladder for every other child to leach onto me! So yeah, when someone else’s child is pulling on my shirt asking for my help – what am I supposed to do? If I tell the child, no I’m not going to help you, or please go away and stop pulling on me then I’m just a hateful person right so I’m probably going to say – where’s your mommy – plus I wanna make sure I’m not getting eye balled by someone thinking I’m trying to hurt or kidnap their kid. But hey, I’m just there trying to enjoy my time with my son and don’t want to have someone else’s child pulling on me. Honestly what usually ends up happening is I have to leave, go home with my kid because I’m over ran with other people’s kids – I mean literally other people’s kids following me around from slide to slide or swing! Ughhh. And if you are sitting over there on your bench watching me, judging me, calling me names as mentioned above – then why aren’t you doing something about your pesky kid who by the way is talking to strangers. I guess I’m just saying, if you don’t want to feel like another mother is looking for you to take care of your child, insure that your child isn’t seeking attention and help from some poor unsuspecting mother who’s just trying to do the right thing for her own kid – and really is there a need to label each other? Helicopter mom – really – usually there’s another side to every story – and so now you know the other side – or at least mine.

Katy 4 months ago

You are upset that other moms don’t want your kid throwing things on a playground? I’m afraid that YOU are the one ruining it, my friend. I’d like to sit back and watch my kid play, grow, test, and learn. However, it’s not safe to do that if little brats are throwing pine cones or running around a crowded playground with sticks. My kids are allowed to do those things, and play in mud, etc. in our backyard, but one of the things they need to learn in life is that different situations have different social boundaries…and frankly, “UP THE LADDER, DOWN THE SLIDE!” is one of those boundaries, unless you are alone on the playground. Sorry, my friend. Hovering is one thing, but supervising is teaching and it’s your job as a mom to teach your kid not to make the playground a war zone. Once you’ve done that, you can go back to your knitting.

Kristi Bothur 4 months ago

No one needs to judge anyone’s style of parenting, including “hovering”, if you don’t know her backstory. Maybe her child has special needs that you know nothing about. Maybe she has buried a child. Maybe this child is her miracle baby and she is going to hover just a bit more than the average mama. Maybe she used to be a teacher and used to be paise to hover over other people’s kids. Or maybe, just maybe, her philosophy of parenting is s little different than yours, and she is not there to ruin your day any more than you are there, sipping your latte with your friends, to ruin hers. So just chill. There are worse things in life than getting off your bench to interact with your child and another mom, who may just be friend material if you would stop judging and start listening.

Jenna Parsons 4 months ago

I clicked this because I thought it would be funny. Instead it is ridiculously ignorant. This mother is too mom-ish for you? She actually cares about kids’ well-being, and this upsets you? I am one of those helicopter moms, yes I play in the park with my kids, no I don’t sit on the bench staring at my iPad. Why do helicopter moms get a bad wrap? You know what would ruin my day at the park? Moms who pay no attention to what their kid is doing. A kid runs near the road or towards a strangers dog, and us, the helicopter moms, are the first to notice. Not the bench-warmers surfing the web. Shame on you for mom-shaming.

Jenna Parsons 4 months ago

Right?! So terribly catty! And for what? Moms being judge for being too mom-ish? Don’t worry, not all moms are as judgmental as this author.

Tim Davis 4 months ago

Interesting read to be sure. I am a technical writer for playground safety issues with governing bodies. I see the worst of the worst playground related accidents. Regardless of your parenting style I recommend down loading the CPSC’s publication 325. Put it on your nite stands. It has the propensity to put you to sleep within 5 minutes, but it will also open your eyes and make you aware of some important issues. Most lawsuits on school related playground injuries are lack of adult supervision.

Five year old bails off a 10 foot high metal wave slide and sustains head trauma, internal injuries, lost his spleen due to a hot metal slide. Is it the five year old child’s fault for making a poor choice, the schools fault for improper supervision, or the parents fault for improper clothing? 50 shades of gray here.

Robbie 4 months ago

1 – a kangaroo pouch is not it’s vagina. Well done in BIOLOGY not anthropology. And 2. – Some kids really SHOULD have been eaten at birth.

Robbie 4 months ago

Die from a cold, huh? Stay inside then?

Robbie 4 months ago

If your kids hurts other kids because they are squealing or laughing loudly AT THE PARK, then your kid needs to stay home. He is a danger to others. What a freak you are to think this is OK because the sound hurts his head. I have migraines all the time & loud kids hurt my head & I would never in a million years put my hand on anyone else. DANGER TO OTHERS

Tiff 4 months ago

I must say I used to hover a lot with my daughter when she was younger. I ignored the other kids, they’d ask me to put them in the swing and push them I’d say , ” You’ll have to ask your mom.” I never thought a thing of it all. Then I went to the park one day and this woman was there with her 1.5-2yr old, this woman was the most obnoxious thing at the park. She was hovering (which I am fine when the kid is that little) but she also yelled at any kid that got her and her son. They went up the tire steps and if another kid got behind her she’d yell that they needed to go wait until her kid was completely off the tires. Needless to say, it made me change my hovering attitude, let the kids explore and don’t bother other people’s kids.

Ocean Zhang 4 months ago

“If my kid is doing something that it totally not okay and might hurt another kid I intervene”

How exactly will you do this if you’re reading a book? I’m not arguing one side vs the other here. I’m just trying to learn your multi tasking mastery so I too can let my kid loose on the playground while I read a book and without breaking my reading rhythm, stop my kid from swing-kicking another kid in the face on the monkey bars. That would be totally awesome!

Kirsten Oliphant 4 months ago

I like a lot of what this post says and appreciate the humor…but at the same time I feel like there was a tone that necessarily incited more mommy-warring. I think most of us sensible moms, “helicopter” or “chill,” all agree we want our kids to be social, be safe, and have fun without endangering other kids or being endangered by other kids. This drew less of a line in the sand and more of a razor wire fence between two parenting styles that might share a bench sometime otherwise.

Treva 4 months ago

It’s usually the moms chatting and not watching that don’t see when their kiddo climbs the slide, blocks mine coming down and the next kid kicks her as he/she comes down…and then MY park day is ruined by unnecessary injury. Or horsing around and shoves mine off the playground equipment or pushes them in front of kids swinging. Yes all of thsee have happened while someone would prefer to have their chat time while their kids “explore” I am all for less hovering as long as that doesn’t become irresponsible ignoring putting other children in harms way, and…yes. you’ll get the stink eye if I am the one who has to tell your kid to not shove mine or leave mine on a position of getting hurt!

Carrie 4 months ago

That’s a great idea, to only go to the park during the week, when kids are most likely at daycare, and parents at work. There is less kids there during that time. I stay home with my kids, so that won’t be an issue for us! I will do that this summer.

Carrie 4 months ago

soooo, if someone sees your child about to injure them self, and you’re not paying attention, or you simply just don’t notice, no one is supposed to keep her from possibly badly hurting herself, or worse yet, killing herself? Cause they may be a potential sex offender. I really hope you think over your rule before you announce it to the park mommies. Just so they know to not help your kid in any way so they don’t get sued for potentially helping keep your child safe. you know, cause again, they’re potential sex offenders. LOL.

Carrie 4 months ago

ok, I won’t. So if or when your kid ends up with a head injury, and I was right there, and could’ve caught him before he fell, don’t look at me like its my fault! You have already asked for no one to help your child. Therefore, you will get your wish. (this is definitely one of the ‘gray’ areas that clearly were not covered in this article.) I don’t ‘hover’ over my kids at all, but if I see that they need help in one area or another, I am not going to tell them ‘no’! And if I am close by a child that isn’t mine, and they look at me, and ask for help, I’m not going to tell them ‘no’ either! Would you rather get your carcass up, and help your own kid, or have a stranger help your kid? Or no one help your kid, and they get injured? Cause uh, that’s the only three options out there when you’ve got your kid at a park. Just cause a person gets up to help their own child, doesn’t mean they’re ‘hovering’. What about the parent that doesn’t see that their kid is about to fall, so a stranger HAS to help that kid, cause their mommy was too busy gossiping about neighbor Bob? Should that parent thank the stranger or get mad cause her child was just ‘helped’ by a stranger?

Bethany Taylor 4 months ago

I have a 3&2 year and a 6 month old sorry if I worry bout one of my kids falling off a piece of playground equipment and cracking their head open. Yes I hover. I’m not judging other parents. When my kids are 5or6 I’ll hover around my babies less til then I’m right there

The Good Mom 4 months ago

Different parenting style create different children. That horrible “helicopter mom” has created a child who is helpful and compassionate, and LISTENS to his mother. That wonderful mom sitting back on the bench drinking her latte while texting has created a fearless little asshole who pushes other kids down, crawls up the slide while a little one is trying to go down it, throws rocks, is mouthy, and mean, just like his mother. Sorry, buts true. My 3 year old fell of the slide once, because this 10 year genius was climbing up it as my kid was going down. He was bleeding, scraped up pretty good, and I was about 50 feet away with my other child. Another mom, that I do not know, picked him up, as he was crying and reaching for her. She cuddled him until I could gather up my other kid and get there. I THANKED HER! What a brave and amazing mother, to nurture another woman’s child when they needed it. I could see from the look on her face as I ran up, that she was afraid I was going to tear her a new one, but instead, I hugged her, and thanked her for CARING about my child. God forbid we do that, and give a shit about someone elses kid. Oh, and the kid who caused my to fall, his mother gave me shit for telling her kid to stop crawling up the slide when kids are on it, while not once taking her eyes off her cell phone. And her just as asshole-y kid, smiled.

You want to call those of us who cherish our children as the most precious gift they are, a Helicopter Parent, then maybe its time to come up with a name for those who hate us for it. Something like Lazy Latte Parent, as Lazy Latte Parent would rather be sipping her latte while gossiping with her friends or texting than spending quality time with her most precious gift. Not very nice, is it?

Sara 4 months ago

I appreciate this article! I’m definitely not a hover mama and tend to feel highly judged when another parent or neighbor gasp or hold their arms out when my littles are just being boys, learning their own limitations, learning how to balance and just being independent. They are active boys, and no, I don’t want them to get hurt, but I do want them to develop self confidence in their abilities. Sometimes, falling down is a great way to learn. Even for us mamas.

Ang 4 months ago

I’m cetainly more free range than helicopter but I base my involvement off of what my kids want. If they want me to play too then I will. I love playing with them! I’m also happy to sit on the bench in the shade if they’re doing their own thing. if moms want to sit & chill while their kids play then whatever but please know that when your child inevitably asks me to push them, catch them, help them climb, tie their shoe or wipe their snotty nose (I have been asked all of these things) I will give you one heck of a stink eye because I’m there to play with my own kids not be a free babysitter. We have 5 boys under the age of 10 so I already have plenty of kids to deal with & if I want more to deal with I’ll have another one or start babysitting lol. So if you want to let your child be free range at least tell them not to ask us moms who like to play with their kids at the park for help

Nicole 4 months ago

I feel like this is a nasty and hateful blog post. Moms should join together and not Mom Shame one another for being the type of mom they are. I can’t stand when people mom shame and/or are judgemental of other moms.

Brittney 4 months ago

I feel as if there is a huge lack of grace and understanding in this. The Reality is this:
1-age restrictions are there for a reason-someone’s kid probably died
2-helocopter mom is most likely a new mom
3-helocopter mom wears her heart on her sleeve. She can’t resis helping or interfering once the thought of potential doom enters her head. Because what if something terrible did happen and she didn’t do anything.
4-helocopter mom doesn’t know. Introduce yourself and tell her the important lesson your letting your kid learn, it will go farther than the snide remarks.
5-there are lazy and neglectful parents out there and helocopter moms don’t have special vision to determine which kid has a parent with and which kid nearly got hit by a car wondering away from the park because no one would interfere with someone’s “parenting style”.
6-whose judging who?

Tara 4 months ago

Nobody cares if you go to the park to play with your child. They care when you feel the need to interfere with their children. She’s complaining about those moms that hover over other peoples children. Mind your own business and nobody cares what you do.

Tara 4 months ago

This post wasn’t bashing the moms that go to the park to play with their kids. It’s bashing the moms that try to interfere with the way other people deal with their kids at the park. If you want to spend your time there right next to your own kid, that’s great for you. Just don’t try to “help” my kid while you’re doing it.

Kls 4 months ago

Wow. I am about to have my first child and you all are stressing me out with your parenting politics! So catty. We all do the best we can on any given day, and that looks different for everyone. Your children will learn from your behavior, whether that be playing with them while judging other parents, or sitting on the bench judging other parents. Seems to me at the end of the day, we are all in the same boat– being mothers.

Cassandra 4 months ago

My son is a 2 year old extreme runner in a 4 year old’s body. I don’t have any other option but to “hover” around him at the playground and “ruin it” for everyone else by staying with him to ensure he doesn’t get hit by a car, or run into a 45° lake on a warm April/May day, unless I choose to keep him away from playgrounds all together. Sorry to inconvenience the rest of you who were so lucky as to birth perfectly behaved little crotch fruits. I hope my non-judgemental, constant presence on the playground isn’t too much of a hindrance on your relaxing “mama time”. I wish I knew what it felt like to even have the option to sit the fuck down at a playground.

Christine 4 months ago

i disagreed with you but your last three sentences were Awesome. Thanks!

Christine 4 months ago

Yes!

Christine 4 months ago

I found this very hateful. There is a good balance. I go to the park all the time with my son and I’ve never seen a mom act like described in this post.

Mammabear 4 months ago

I have to say I don’t completely agree with this article. Yes when I take my almost 2 year old son to the park I do try hard to back off but right now I’m not ok with him trying to climb the slide while there are other kids who want to slide. If we go to the park and there are no other kids trying to slide then I will let him. I also don’t feel comfortable letting him climb up tall ladders and such on his own. Yes there is some sort of mulch or something to “cushion” his fall BUT if he falls and lands the wrong way he could be seriously injured. Also, I take my kid to the park so he can play and have fun but it’s also SPENDING TIME with him. I enjoy following him around and playing with him on the playground. I like being a Mom who has FUN spending time with my son. So call me a helicopter mom if you want, however, I don’t worry too much about the other kids unless they do something to my son or I see them in danger.

Milissa 4 months ago

I must be a dork. I would rather play then set on the park bench. No one in our neighborhood goes to the park, so I usually am the lone parent.

Cody Doll 4 months ago

My brother has special needs. I’ve been in public so many times about him throwing fits or whatever. If anyone gives me the bad looks, I throw them over my shoulder. I’m to busy taking a care of my brother and if they have a problem with that, then by all means come figure out what to do while I watch and snicker at you. haha. Yeah. Parenting special needs is hard. Just know that there are other who deal with it too. You aren’t alone. =]

Nikki 4 months ago

Ha! So…. You’re judging other moms for “judging” you?? This was a waste of my time. How rude can you be. I love the commen census here. No one agrees with you.

Carolyn 4 months ago

Thank you. I completely agree.

Dan 4 months ago

As a Dad I had to laugh at this article. I guess you can call me a helicopter because I keep a close eye on my 2 1/2 year old at the park. It only takes a couple close calls to keep you on your toes. All kids want to push their limits and it can get them in sticky situations.

If you want to have a chat with your friend while your kid plays, go ahead. Clearly you feel guilty you are doing that. Who cares if someone gives you a stink eye for playing Angry Birds while your child is being a complete ass on the playground. I’m not going to tell you how to do your job, but if your child is doing something stupid that will end up hurting mine, I will do something about it. And I could careless about your thoughts or reaction to it.

I would say the vast majority of parents are the same. We are keeping an eye on them from a distance, but will help another child if they get hurt. I’ve consoled crying kids, and stopped a kid from running in front of a swing; both times received thank you’s. If your reaction to that is “how dare you touch my child”, you are a mindless, soulless asshole.

Britt 4 months ago

Oftentimes the so-called “helicopter parents” hover for your kids’ sake just as much as their own. Granted, my only child is 13 months so I don’t have that much experience on that mom side of park playtime. But, I have a few vivid memories from my childhood of my own mom intervening for another kid’s safety. She was about as “free range” as any parent could hope to be. (Think playing in woods and wrestling with billy goats.) She still recognized that in public settings she was responsible for me and any damage that I did. When I was nine I nearly beat the snot out of a little boy who deliberately pushed my five year old brother down. By the time mom had gotten to us the boy was already on the ground with me on top. She separated us and took the boy to his negligent mother, who hadn’t done anything to stop her bully of a kid and then had the nerve to cop an attitude with my mom.

Your kid is your responsibility. If you want to knit or goof around on your phone then act like an adult and multitask. Keep an eye on your kid and make sure (s)he isn’t putting others in danger.

Jenemy Mine 4 months ago

My kids are old enough I can socialize and check my iphone while they are on the playground, and I will only interfere if they are getting too wild and endangering other smaller children with their horseplay.

When they were younger, however, I hovered, spotted, reached, panicked and absolutely gave stink eye to the parents who were blissfully unaware that their 18 month old was toddling aimlessly around the top platform of the high slides near the pole drops.

It’s my line of work– it’s because I know so many people who suffered brain bleeds and traumatic brain injuries and severed spinal cords who will need lifelong medical care after accidents that could have been avoided. I can envy the blissful anxiety-free parents who are sure their toddlers will manage and survive a fall with no more than a bruised ego or at worst, a simple fracture. Most of the time, nothing bad will happen.

Mo 4 months ago

Just like all kids are different, so are parents. I don’t appreciate labels and I don’t appreciate people judging me. I parent to the best of my abilities and if I hover every now and then, that’s just me.

Maybe while you’re parked on that bench you should be a little less judgmental and and a little more appreciative that you have the luxury of a healthy and active child.

Wendy 4 months ago

I agree with a lot of this, like, don’t help my kid up somewhere where I am going to have to help him down. If she can’t do it herself then she doesn’t need to be doing it. And I take them to the park to play with others, definitely not me. But kids also need to learn there are rules in society. And you are the one that needs to lay them out for you kids. I don’t want to interfere but I am constantly watching. Because 2&3 year olds need to be taught to wait in line and take their turn. If you are not teaching your kids, then I have to step in because I am not going to let your little darling push past my girls again and again. (I think this is the Elementary teacher in me.) Same goes with stealing toys, sharing swings, stepping in front of said moving swings.

Mary 4 months ago

WHY doesn’t everyone just ignore the “actions” of the Moms who annoy, frustrate, etc… and go about our businesses?!!?

Jade Bennett 4 months ago

i find this to be very judgemental of moms that just have a different opinion then you. Some moms have lots of anxiety and their brains go to worst case scenario. We are all just doing the best we can to find balance between protecting our kids and giving them room to grow. So glad you can chill and enjoy yourself I need people like you in my life, but not to judge me for being different or over protective. Hope you learn to appreciate the differences and that we can all be less judgemental of each other:)

Yocheved 4 months ago

All you had to say was “I come to give my kids the freedom from parenting, within reasonable limits. I come to the park to let my kids explore. I come to the park to let my kids be kids. ” and I would have loved you forever.

This is such an awesome post. #FreeRangeKids !

RUSerious 4 months ago

“Lay a hand on my child, for ANY reason, I will be there faster than a rocket booster to rip the face off of a potential sex offender.”

Really? So many reasons to be worried about this response. Firstly, because everyone is a potential sex offender, and most child sexual abuse comes from people the child knows, not the “stranger” in the park.

And you comment on boundaries? To be willing to judge and pass sentance on someone because they’re “potentially” anything violates boundaries quicker than the US invades countries with Oil.

I imagine you’re a pretty lonely person.

Kara 4 months ago

Can we be best friends?

Allyson 4 months ago

I agree completely!

Nora F. 4 months ago

Omg this is my SIL!! Drives me INSANE! She comes to MY HOUSE and hovers over MY children. Trying to enforce her made up rules here. “No walking up the side!” Wrong! Sorry. We walk up the slide here. “Go back in and get your shoes on!” Nope. Sorry. We’re hillbillies here. Out in public I can usually excuse it because some rules have to be maintained in order to prevent chaos. But at home? Please. Hover elsewhere.

Kim Kelly 4 months ago

Can I be honest? I think this sassy, straight-shooter blogger persona you have is getting a little old. If you’re not careful, you’ll lose your audience as we all grow up and realize that passive-aggressive blogs take a LOT more energy than just being a respectful, mature parent. People can only tolerate constant divisiveness for so long, eventually most of us settle down and just want peace.

I sure hope you don’t actually live with this kind of constant judgment and criticism and cynicism in your mind. I hope it’s just click-bait to raise your ad revenue. That I can understand, even if it does irritate me. But just a little advice- maybe try and move away from things like this- zero social benefit, you really are capitalizing on feeding the very worst parts of human nature. And you are far too funny and talented to stay stuck in that zone!

Mala 4 months ago

This whole post is a bit stink, just because you do one thing (chat & not play with your kids) doesn’t mean you’re not ruining it for the mums who actually go to the park to have fun with their kids – you’ve put a judgment on the mums that are there to play with THEIR kids but instead have to help your kid because they’ve asked for help but you’re chatting. Maybe instead of inviting those mums to sit on the bench and chat how about playing with your kids so the rest of us dont feel the need to – it works both ways.

Nicole Piraino 4 months ago

This is why I only go to park during the week when no ones around I have issues with the bratty kids who push my kids or won’t be nice parents raise little brats I just want to smack the parents so i avoid parks we live in the country back off the road with plenty of land for my kids to run around and explore I am not a people person too many stupid people.

Swampfoot 4 months ago

I’m a helicopter mom bc my son is a
nutjob. I couldn’t give a shit about what other kids or parents are doing in the park. You want to jump off the monkey bars and eat a bird turd ? Be my guest kid, mommy said it will strengthen your immune system.

Lucy Mauterer 4 months ago

Four boys are a lot to keep track of. I had a girl (oldest) and a boy two and a half years later. The girl went to the ER more times than I can recall. I should have invested in a suture company. I believe she kept them in business. She had zero fear. At 39, she is still that way. Wildly successful in her field. My younger one, the boy, was more cautious. Eventually he became more adventurous, traversing the Appalachian Trail for days, scuba diving, rappeling, etc. Some just take longer to develop. We need to stop being defensive and critical of others. We are basically here to help one another.

Lucy Mauterer 4 months ago

I had a flight hazard child too. Put a harness and leash on her and endured all kinds of evil looks, and occasionally some poor misguided person would be stupid enough to say something. I always said it was better than having her become roadkill. That usually shut them up. I totally understand some kids need more supervision than others.

Lucy Mauterer 4 months ago

I agree with walking up the slide. Should be fine if no one is waiting. We used to stand UNDER the slide and grab the sides and use our hands to go up the slide backwards underneath it. I never see kids do that anymore.

Lucy Mauterer 4 months ago

I never thought about it before but my mother never “played” with me either. The only time I remember her doing something fun with me was at a birthday party at the skating rink. She put on boot roller skates and skated with me. I was shocked and delighted to find out that my mother could roller skate. She was 41 years older than me so when I was 10, she was 51. Pretty cool to see what I considered an ” old lady” skating as good as a kid. But mostly, we played by ourselves. And we didn’t get hurt badly too often.

Jezzerat 4 months ago

Why don’t you just put precious Schuyler in a helmet and hamster ball, to ease your mind a bit?

Christine Stafford 4 months ago

Hmm, I take my kids to the park to let them play and have fun! I do however stick close by so that I can go to them quickly if they need me, I’ve helped other children, noticed the lack of parental guidance from other parents and have caught my own fair share of stink eye….. BUT, I am I preschool teacher so I enforce playground rules!!!! Up the stairs and down the slide!!! I really hate watching other children ruin it for the smaller children by scurrying up when they are trying to slide down, you know, what the slide is meant for!! If you want to climb, there are ladders and rock walls and jungle gyms available for you!!!!

Tricia 4 months ago

Spoken like a mom who’s child never suffered a serious injury at the playground. I used to be like you until my 4YO broke her arm in 2 places and had to have 2 surgeries from a fall at the playground. I could kick myself for not standing under her at the mini monkey bars. her feet were only a foot off the ground. I was too nonchalant and wish like hell I wasnt. Your child’s safety is more important than their independence. In my book.

manda 4 months ago

This was a snooty, snobby, no good, mean, judgey crap blog post. You must be miserable!

mp 4 months ago

Let them play for heaven’s sake. As a teacher I am so tired of parents “helping” their kids. No one ever “played” with me and I turned out to be an independent person who can solve problems for myself. Seeing a whole generation of kids who can’t because mommy and daddy are always there to catch them with wide open arms. Let kids play without you right there every second. And it’s not so you can visit with other moms. It’s so your kids can learn to manage life on their own.

amy 4 months ago

Best.

ala 4 months ago

Firstly I thought not to make any comment, as I always have been on the other side, but then I thought that even if I am on another side I totally agree with you, as children in this way become independent and sometimes I feel as I am too protective and have to leave him alone. Thank you for sharing this with us.

planetEarthJanet 4 months ago

“…omg you were standing right there why didn’t you help him?!” this speaks VOLUMES about the role you like to play in the proverbial sandbox, Ms. Stinkeye Helicopter. How about trying this boundary on for a few minutes: my children are not permitted to interact with strange adults, period. Lay a hand on my child, for ANY reason, I will be there faster than a rocket booster to rip the face off of a potential sex offender.

Kay 4 months ago

As a parent of a child who has GDD, I find this ridiculous & slightly judgemental. If my child wants to explore, than by all means I’ll let him.. However he just made 2 yrs old & of course I’m going to be helping him along, …. as long as your child doesn’t cause my child harm, than I’ll have no cause to address you or give any looks. But I’d also help a child if asked or if I thought the child could get hurt. If me being a “parent” is a problem… Oh well, judge away! My little boy is far more important!

Amanda 4 months ago

I agree with this comment. It also comes down to knowing your own child’s limits – which no one else but you knows! I have an 18 month old who is a monkey and thinks she can climb anything (and for the most part, can!) But I also know that she has absolutely no concept of heights, she will step off any edge thinking the ground will be right beneath her, and she often can’t safely get down from places she gets up. At home, I’m more willing to step back and let her figure it out but in a strange, public place that she doesn’t know the ins and outs of, one step is all it will take for her to injure herself, rather dramatically. I’d rather hover than have a trip to emergency, thanks!

I actually found the article rather rude and judgemental – and I don’t normally get bothered by this “mummy war” bullshit. Each to their own – why write stuff to stir trouble?

Sick Of This 4 months ago

Wow. I’m so utterly tired of the constant judgement. According to Scarymommy.com no one can ever do anything right. Well, let me set you straight-

Neurotypical or not, small for their age or not, shy and insecure or outgoing and confident-

NONE OF IT MATTERS.

If *you* want to hover….HOVER.

If *you* want to sit on a bench…. SIT ON A BENCH.

Not a single one of us parents because we want our children to do poorly. We love our kids. We want our kids to thrive and be successful. And whether we hover at the playground or absolutely ignore our kids at the park, it doesn’t matter one damn bit.

Research has shown that you only need to be an active parent for 30% of the time for kids to feel attached and well adjusted. Anything beyond that is icing. Choose to do with it as you please.

Amy L 4 months ago

This comment was really lovely to read, especially after being fired up enough to leave my own comment below, which has never happened before!

Amy L 4 months ago

Here we go again. Another parenting blog writer who thinks it’s okay to defend their parenting style by critizing another’s. What is ruining it for everyone is the ‘my method beats your method’ mentality. Enough. No one deserves the stink eye at the park – what about a smile instead to say “Woohoo! We got out of the house today!”

I know many parents who are all doing a great job and I like to think I’m doing okay at this gig too. We are all doing things our own way and we shouldn’t need to second guess what we’re doing by reading critical stuff like this or being on the receiving end of a filthy look from another parent at the playground. Bravo to the helicopter mums and dads, well done to the free range mums and dads and everyone in between.

We don’t know each others stories. There’s nothing wrong with caution, there’s nothing wrong with a little spill. We all know our kids better than the eyes across the park judging whatever it is we’re doing! We know their strengths and weaknesses and their capabilities. Let’s just show some compassion and use some common sense.

And finally, I don’t think I want to join you at your table, if you can’t tolerate anyone else’s parenting method bar your own. Your comments seem judgmental. And I have found the rest of the comments under to be much kinder and accepting. And that’s the way it should be, we’re all trying our best.

Lena Fontecchio 4 months ago

(Slow clap). Agree wholeheartedly.

cheryl 4 months ago

Wow. I don’t usually read “mama” essays, and after reading this one–and the comments that go with it–I won’t be reading any more!

I became a first-time mom through adoption at age 42. I played enthusiastically with my toddler at the playground because I was so thrilled to be a mom and amazed at how wonderful my daughter was. I was in my own “bubble” and blissfully unaware of any judging going on. Well, except for my worries about my own parenting skills. But I gradually found my way with the help of supportive friends. (Twelve years later my daughter is still amazing but now I’m just tired like most other moms I know.)

Seems to me there as many ways to parent as there are parents and kids. The essay here is clever and funny, but ultimately very mean-spirited and, as others have noted, divisive.

I can’t help but think the author’s obvious writing talent could have been put to some more positive use. And all the time spent by those who commented (including me), also put to better use. Take a nap! Write a letter! Go for a walk! Read a book! Anything but putting all this negative energy out into the world. If this is truly representative of moms today, then we’ve all got way too much time on our hands. Just sayin’.

Charity 4 months ago

My stance is the same as yours! So glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! Kudos to you for standing up for moms like us. Until today I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as “helicopter mom”… I’m just being a mom to my babies and offering help to the other little ones who’s moms are too busy doing other things. I’m not judging them or their parenting, I just genuinely love kids and like to have fun at the park!

Chris 4 months ago

So, essentially, you take your kids to the park so you can get away from parenting, not your kids. Right. Got it. Cause heaven forbid you have fun with your children in a public place. What you are essentially saying as well, is that you don’t have the desire to play with your children. (Just get to the park so I can escape). Such a sad example of the me, me, me society we live in. Your children need you. The iPhone will still be there when you get home.

Anya 4 months ago

Exactly. My kid isn’t neurotypical and I feel like the moms who snicker just. don’t. get it.

Anya 4 months ago

Thank you, exactly. My seven year old is autistic and I go to the park with his younger sisters and am some helicopter hybrid? Not on the bench but not standing behind him either, just vigilant. Like batman? Haha. Anyway, some of us have to be close to our kids for a reason. He was non verbal until he was almost six so sometimes being on that bench would have blocked him signing “help!”. That doesn’t mean I’m trying to parent someone else’s kid just because I’m within 10 feet of them.

Brittni 4 months ago

I think you can make this argument without shaming another mother’s choices. I am probably the mother you are describing, but I would never judge someone else for choosing to give their child more freedom. You see my two year old has had 3 brain surgeries due to hydrocephalus and has a shunt. I do worry that if he is too high or falls he could hit his head and damage the device causing a life threatening issue for him. I also want him to have the freedom to climb and do the things that the other children are doing. I would hope that if we met on the playground I would not get the stinkeye, because well we just don’t know what another parent has been through.

Margo Salvato 4 months ago

Hey I have an idea! How about one park for helicopter parents and one for those who are not, or how about special hours for each? You see they will never get along and the playground is survival of the fittest. When my kids were under the age of 5 you bet your bottom dollar I was right there hovering to make sure the older kids of “free-range” parents were not going to hurt them by accident or on purpose. When they got older, I sat on the bench with other moms because you see I know they would be ok and quite frankly dear Scarlett, I didnt give a damn about your kids, just as you should not worry about mine. Now they are 10 and 13 and I am thrilled to turn in my spot on the bench for the bleachers at the baseball and football fields and basketball courts. And, I inwardly laugh at the helicopter moms of older children who now have kids that don’t really play sports and complain about “those aggressive kids.” – why can’t they just all play a game of kick ball or wiffle ball and have fun and not worry about winning and losing.

Crystal 4 months ago

The one thing I really agree with is not helping a kid that can’t get up on something themselves get up into that thing. If they can’t get up themselves you are putting them *in* more danger by helping them do it. Truly if they can get up themselves they can usually get down themselves but once we interfere and help them up we usually end up with a kid that is stuck and scared or one that gets hurt because they try to do something they weren’t ready for thanks to an adults help. If my kids asks for a hand down by all means give them a hand, if my kid is about to fall grab them, but if I’m sitting there watching my kid go down the fire pole that probably means he can do it just fine.
Whether you play with your kids or not at the park is up to you and judging for that is ridiculous. Sometimes my kids want me to play with them and sometimes they want to be more independent. But I will follow my toddlers and even preschoolers at a distance to lend a hand as needed. The park is not relaxing mama play date for me but I enjoy taking my kids to the park and they sure love it. The way we do it works just fine for us. My friends are all over, some hover more some are more “free range” some are outright helicopters but hey, they all love their kids and when all is said and done the kids have a good time and we can respect each other.

Kelley 4 months ago

I get what you’re saying, but I agree with some of the other mamas posting here. I go to play with my toddler and spend time with him. This article was a bit judgemental. I don’t want him to get hurt since he’s so adventurous and scared of nothing, but he’s just now two. He needs some help still and I’m not going to tell another kid no when asked for help.

jon 4 months ago

Those of you who are in between and still like to playour playground cop. It seems you have the same thing in common your kids are under 5. You haven’t the experience yet to be the author. Give it 3 more years and you will be agreeing. I for one don’t want to see you parenting my kid if they ask for help go a head that’s ok. But do not try and tell them what they can or can’t do at the park you are not their parent. My kids are very well versed in proper etiquette when it comes to dealing with adults and public places they will be running around like chickens with out heads having a blast prob breaking ruless or being A little risky but they know that when an adult is near or small children that may not be safe to play that way they mind your space and behave special for you until you leave their space. It’s called teaching your. Children how to socialize and navigate different personalities and parenting methods. What I see fit for my kids may be different then you do. And my kids know that and will respect that. They will also respectful decline your orders if you give them anY they would kindly direct you to my self or wife to talk to us and then go on about their play. if you don’t want to let control go then build a play set in your back yard. The reason we come to the park is to let them be wild and enjoy other kids and to be kids

Sarah 4 months ago

At first, after reading this article, I was all on board with the author. However, after reading the above comment, I am reminded that there are grey areas. I certainly don’t spend my time at the park hovering over my girls (I actually enjoy relaxing and catching a little break!). I do, however, keep a mindful eye on them. Do I want my girls to be independent? Of course! Do I want to leave the playground with one of them needing a cast? Hell. No. So, if my very tiny four yr old decides she is big enough for the monkey bars, that I can barely reach, great! I will encourage her….I will also be there to catch her if she happens to fall six feet down to the hard ground.

Kat 4 months ago

I do a bit of both. 1 of my kids is 2.5 and the other 4. When the older kids are there in the holidays climbing the wrong way up the slides my eldest child sits and waits as he’s worried about knocking the kid back down the slide. My youngest child would just go and not care, although he is improving his empathy. Both my children and I would feel awful if they hurt someone – that is why children don’t go up the slide the wrong way. I also get frustrated when people are chatting and their kids are ok because they are climbing over the top of mine with zero intervention. Don’t get me wrong I sit and chat to mums, I do not hover, but I do think people should be aware of other people’s kids safety not just their own, which someone’s seems to be overlooked by some.

hover mom 4 months ago

I hover..so what?

seili 4 months ago

Ahh. I honestly think that this is pretty terrible. I didn’t know there was this much judging at the playground. I can see both sides of it. But I wasn’t watched that much as a kid and got hurt a lot (it wasn’t that great imo)

Esther Donner 4 months ago

The playground is a great place for kids to play, run around, make friends and to test their boundaries of what they are capable of doing by themselves. I have 3 boys who are 5,3, and 1 years old; So yes I will look like a helicopter mom standing nearby while my kids are playing on the playground. Judge me as you wish, but if you looked closely at my 3 year old son you would see why I am standing nearby while he is playing on the playground. He is a non verbal little boy who happened to also be a special needs child. I want all my boys to be independent and to play with peers without my presence being close to them at all times, but I have this inner urge inside of me to make sure my son is safe at all times. We have been through a ton of doctor appointments and he gets pt, ot and speech therapy several times a week. When my son is able to do things without falling or losing his balance, I will back off, until then I will be at least 5 feet away watching him play.
There are times that I will play with my kids at the park, especially when we happen to be the only ones there at the time. Plus I am more than willing to help the kids learn to climb or try something new, but it may mean talking them through the obstacle that they are trying to master on the playground. Society has influenced us to judge everyone rather than enjoying the moment right in front of us.

Christina 4 months ago

I enjoy playing with my 21 month old at the park. However i do not fit in this box you’ve put these “Helicopter Moms” in. My daughter is very independent and i also try and protect her where i can. I disagree that we fit in boxes such as this article describes.

Becks 4 months ago

Kids do pick it up by osmosis. That’s why socializing them advanced their development so much.

Amy 4 months ago

I’m really agreeing with some of the other moms. There is an in between. I like my kid to have fun & play with other kids, but there always seem to be the moms who really don’t care about what there kids are doing as long as it gives free time” and this can be a problem if there kids lack some basic respect for others- such as throwing sticks at them, climbing up the slide while others slide down, or maybe it can be the opposite& they are a first time mom who is just worried about her child’s safety (hoover or not) and could probably do without your judgement, which is what your whole article basically sounded like. I’m all for freedom, but why don’t you try talking to them or engage in friendly conversation before assuming there kids aren’t allowed to have fun&enjoy.

Sasha 4 months ago

I’m in agreement with so many women here. I hover a bit with my daughter. I leave other children alone unless they ask for help. But I need to be close to my daughter. She’s one of those children that will suddenly take off running and won’t listen well (really working on that) so if she takes off running towards a street and I’m not near there is a good chance she will be hurt. I do get a little annoyed when kids bring toys to the playground and leave them sitting there and both the kids and parents expect all other kids to not touch them. When you have young children still learning the concept that not everything is theres to play with it causes a problem. One time these boys brought toy guns onto a playground. My two year old daughter wanted to play with them but if she got near them the boys got very nasty. And they were set up right in front of the slides so no child could go down the slides. I feel that is a time when parents do need to intervene and make some kind of rules up for their children, but these parents just sat back and didn’t pay attention to the fact that there sons weren’t letting kids down slides and were yelling at very young children because they got near their toys. Yeah, let your kid have some freedom, but I feel like you just can’t ignore what’s going on for mommy or daddy time.

dude 4 months ago

Some might think that as a single dad I give my daughter a little too much space. She’s an independent sort and has been since about age 4. Hovering does her no good. Learning limits is crucial to her cognitive development, learning how to approach and deal with fear and uncertainty are vital to her becoming a functioning person. She’s six years old, in six or seven short years she will be going through difficult changes and growth. The small skills she learns and develops in the park, at the pool, in school, alone in her room, or playing music with me are all feeding into the collective of the person that will one day be an adult and have to live without me. Do I want to hover? So much so that it hurts. Do I want her to be safe? That’s not even really a question. What I want more is for when the time comes when I’m not watching that she be a highly trained ninja with laser vision and reasoning skills like mad. I want her to be able to tornado kick a dragon so hard that it sees the curviture of space and time.

Miri 4 months ago

Can we please all stop judging the crap out of each other? What kind of example are we setting for our kids????

Susan Gay 4 months ago

Not my monkeys not my circus!!! Proud mama of 30 year old twins, out of the house with jobs!!! Been there done that… The park I took mine to was seldom used by others … So it was usually just us. They went to daycare so this was our playtime!

Kate 4 months ago

I feel like this post a lone is negartively bashing the parents who do take there kids to the park to play with them .. I do . I study monday to friday ! Im a teen mom, without a car and the weekends are the only time we spend together, if you dont want to be judged, dont judge others either- which is directly what this article is doing .. judging the moms who WANT to play with their kids because you feel negativly about what your are personally doing yourself.- is wrong .. Did you guys ever think that maybe it ruins it for us when we have one day a week with our kids because we work our asses off for them , while you sit on a bench ..and your child is running around with pants on his head teaching mine that behaviour, fell six times so all my kid can do is stop and say mommy the babies hurt , and the mother on the bench is too busy talking about fucking wal mart that they cant get up and go sooth their childs boo boos better or help them out .. of course we will help .. we like children … If you need a break from your kids send them to their grandmothers, dont post a long huge rant on how people who love children are trying to judge you .. were not , we’re just trying to spend time with our kids and your shitty parenting style is getting in the way, so intsead of posting it on the internet for everyone to read, we gently and subtly help your kid out, and instead of saying thankyou, we get this… . If you arnt at the park to have fun with your kids, why are you there? for yourself. this doesnt make any sense , your judging them !!! your just assuming a look of worry is judgement but i never see any posts about the parents who wanna sit on the bench, cause unlike you we have those days, where all we wanna do issit on the bench , and we dont .. my kid is able to make friends with me around thanks.

omg1234 4 months ago

OMG why is this even a discussion? of course you watch your one-year-old or your two-year-old or three-year-old or your whatever-year-old. It’s YOUR kid. But mind your own business with your own kids and let other parents mind their own kids business. Everybody’s deciding what everyone else should do; everybody’s got an opinion and a correct method and a buzzword. We’re dumbing ourselves into oblivion. Use your common sense, worry about you own kids’ safety, behavior, whatever, and find something to do besides make snarky comments about what one mom writes. It’s on a site called Scary Mommy, for god’s sake!

Mfm 4 months ago

I’m with you on this! My kids are 3 and 16 months and I still need to hover a bit. The 3 year old actually loves to climb and try things herself so we give her tons of freedom to play and meet other kids. But the 16 month old still puts everything in his mouth so I have to keep close! I also let him climb the slides, etc which he loves to explore., but because of numerous falls, head, and eye injuries and his “no fear-get-back-on-and-do-the-same-thing” mentality, I as a parent have to step in and hover. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation for parents. I get judgement glares and comments from moms who see my son with major cuts and bruises and think I’m not doing my job watching him closely enough. But then I see articles like this or read like-minded comments and think hey…I was giving my son the freedom to play and explore and this is what happened!

I think playground parents need to ease up a bit and/or get off their high horse of perfect parenting. Let’s just let babies be babies, kids be kids and acknowledge that all mamas, papa, and parents are just trying their best.

Cindy 4 months ago

My son is still too young for the park so my opinion could change. I doubt it. But it could. While I would be very unhappy to have a stranger handling my child, I don’t agree with the gist of this article. I have seen enough kids getting hurt while running around free range. Even with all the added safety measures at parks broken bones still happen. I cringe when I see children running around (sometimes crazy) but I am the evil observer that would watch a strangers kid fall than be a hoverer. (Gasp!!! Yea I said I’m evil….) and while the ear splitting wails that accompany whatever bump or bruise that occurs it’s not my business. Will I silently judge the parent that let the kids sword fight with sticks until someone gets hurt or the mud playing kids that manage to dirty up the swing, slide etc??? Oh yes. because it will be my ears suffering the injuried cries and my kid getting covered in someone else’s mess. (Because mud isn’t the only thing that’s brown and let’s face it things happen). But the keyword is silent. I won’t give you the stink eye. I won’t say a word to you. I won’t keep your kid from whatever adventure however ill advised it may be. Chances are I will be full of sarcasm if you want to criticize my parenting style because I know I do the best for my own spawn. And stink eye given to me will be met with resting bitch face because when I do go to the park it’s for my kid’s enjoyment not to partake in some mindf*ck of parent shaming.

wanda lee 4 months ago

I’m Nana, I have to helicopter, I can’t risk sending them home damaged. I remember being a lot more relaxed at the park with my own kids though. Our group of moms didn’t hover, we sat nearby yakking and drinking wine… it really was a different time.

lana 4 months ago

Thank you. Some of us HAVE to be out there with our child…

Jill 4 months ago

I hover and for good reason… My son is 5 and non-verbal autistic. I hover him and encourage him to to climb on things and what not but he also needs me there be my kid will climb on the top of the plays cape and jump off. Will I hover over your kids? No. Will I help them if they ask me to? Yes. Not all helicopter parents are secretly judging you. We have our own shit to deal with

Angela 4 months ago

This is stupid. Just another thing saying who is the better parent. I think we all have hovered and just sat on a bench to take a break for a little bit. I never knew mothers were like this always judging I guess they can’t get over high school.

Fallon 4 months ago

I like to be up and playing with her and making her laugh. That’s what we go to the park for. To play together. And it’s always pretty annoying to have your children see me and ask “will you play with me too?” It’s tough because i feel bad for them, but then i get angry because it’s not my place to play with your kid because you simply don’t want to. This ALWAYS happens to me. Also, It’s usually the moms who are sitting on the bench who’s kids are the ones being little punks and cutting in front of the slide and playing with sticks and simply just having no regard for anyone but themselves. My daughter has a massive scar on her face because some kid didn’t wait until my daughter completely slid down the slide.. he came barrelling behind her and at the end of the slide, she went flying onto the pavement, face first. Because parents like you pay no attention to their punk kids.

I’m sorry, but my mother was a single mom of 5 kids and worked 3 jobs so we could live comfortably. We never saw her, and she didn’t have the luxury of simply playing with us at the park. So yeah, I’m not going to be sitting on my ass when i could be enjoying these moments. But that’s just me.

Also not to mention that there are complete weirdos in this world and yeah, you bet your ass I’m not going to take my eye off my child in a public, crowded place with strangers.

Teresa 4 months ago

You are being incredibly judgmental to defend yourself from judgement by the “helicopter moms,” who, by your examples, appear to be mothers who enjoy playing with their children, want to keep them from injury, and feel badly for other kids who obviously want an adult’s attention but are not getting it from their own mother. Articles like this do nothing to help mothers to understand and affirm each other. A more gentle tone, as well as a little bit of understanding for another point of view, would go much farther in bridging gaps. If your goal was to just rant and point an accusatory finger, then you have done your job well.

Elizabeth 4 months ago

I understand that you’re trying to speak from the other side of the coin, but you’re missing the point the author is trying to make here. I don’t always sit on the bench at the park, but if one of my children asked me for help, the answer would likely be one of the following: “Figure it out,” “You can do it,” or “You can try it again when you’re a little bigger.” My philosophy at the playground is that if they can’t do it on their own, they can’t do it yet. If they don’t try something on their own, that’s okay because there will be other days at the park. If my children have a favorite activity at the park and ONLY want to do that activity, that’s fine too. I don’t stop anyone from hovering over their children, and expect that others would respect that I don’t want people hovering over mine.

I certainly understand the need for a higher degree of supervision for children with special needs, but that doesn’t change how I would expect someone to answer my child if one of them asked for help. On the same token, my children don’t normally ask for help, and typically get very upset when someone tries. When one of my little ones was about 18 months, an adult was completely blocking her way up the steps on the playground equipment, and asked her if she needed help as she reached down to pick her up. I was standing less than 5 ft from her and politely said that she was just waiting her turn to go up the steps and didn’t need help because the woman completely ignored my soft-spoken daughter’s attempts to tell her no. We ended up leaving the park early that day because there were so many adults on the equipment that my kids were getting frustrated because they couldn’t get through the tight spaces designed for children that were being blocked by parents. No judgment here, and I expect the same from others. If your attention is truly needed by your special needs child, then you really don’t have time to stop and hover over my children, right?

Peeved Mom 4 months ago

This article peeves me… She doesn’t want to be judged for sitting back, yet is harshly judging others! There is a middle ground here; it’s not so black and white. I let my daughter do a lot of things on her own, and then there are some things I “hover” when she is doing. If your kid fell and got badly hurt, you’d be upset!! I’d never help a child up somewhere that they couldn’t get down, but if one asks me for help, I make sure it’s something they can do on their own, but may be a little nervous to try without help.

Also, letting your kid climb up the slide is not teaching him anything other than breaking rules is okay. And people wonder why children of society are so unruly. (-‸ლ)

lou 4 months ago

I believe we can each only reasonably judge the abilities of children we know well and I am a bit shocked at how vicious the ‘anti hoverers’ are here.

If you have the luxury of an entire playground with only your kid in it – then do what you will. Otherwise, accept that a parent who is in the vicinity of play equipment may interact with your child. Likely, it will not scar your child for life because someone reached out a hand when they stumbled right in front of a stranger whose instinct was to assist. Take a breath, smile and let it go.

Chances are good no parent came to the park intending to worry about your child.

But those `hoverers` you so disdain are only looking to make sure each child has an adult paying at least modest attention to them. If you see a `hoverer` looking around anxiously, try just saying – `he`s mine and he`s alright“. Chances are good all you`ll get back is a smile :) They`ll be relieved it isn`t some lost or unattended kid they need to deal with and they can go back to enjoying their own child`s play.

Remember, your child may be an expert climber wearing something other than flip flops to trip over and be fine. But, the next kid may have just snuck out of sight of mom and be way over their head.

And, I see a lot of hover-haters here have multiple children. Some of us have only 1 child who may not know anyone in the park to play with. Easy to say `let them play` when they have a sibling or friend along they know well enough to approach. It can be tough as a lone child to introduce one`s self to other kids, especially if those kids are playing with other kids already. A playground where a child is sitting watching other kids have fun is a lonely place. Maybe that `hoverer`is just trying to help their child open dialogue with a potential playmate. Chill baby . . . chill I say.

And, if you choose to be a bench warmer, try being glad a parent or two is willing to stay within reach of the equipment and maybe even take a turn being that parent :) Just saying.

Marita 4 months ago

Very well written and so true in Sweden too BUT what about the daddies? Here we have a lot of daddies at the playgrounds too :)

Anon 4 months ago

EXACTLY!

Anon 4 months ago

Hey, I love your humor! And i get the pain:( i am a Mummy to 2 children. One with Autism and the other looking that way too. I get eyed regularly at parks for hovering but I have to! for his safety and others. If i did let him do whatever he liked it would end in disaster. I cant just call him and wait for him to come back, he gets absorbed in a bubble. I have to teach him how to use the equipment properly and yes sometimes it breaks my heart! Many people will know what a lot of children with something like Autism NEED those boundaries to be black and white. I tried to just let him go off exploring when he was younger and i got eyed for that too. So now we have to do it together. I wish i didn’t have to be holding his hand the entire time (Flight hazard!) but it is necessary. There is way too much judgement out there. Things aren’t always as they seem. More often than not i am the one having to apologize for his normal behavior (Oh the irony!) when he does use equipment properly. i.e going down a slide and bumping into a kid at the other end who was trying to climb up, usually resulting in me being eyed or mouthed more often than not, for ‘letting’ my child hurt theirs. Even tho they were a few feet away. I am the one shouting for mine to stop and wait his turn while a smaller kid in front slowly climbs up only for a few seconds later to have a group of other children barge past the both of them. Accidents happen. Kids will be kids. I have no problem with people going up slides, climbing swings etc, heck, i did it. But the judgement has to stop on all sides.

Deanna 4 months ago

I think your article is very one sided and exaggerated. Not all hovering mothers look down on other parents. I take my children to the park to play and to socialize with other children. However, I also use this opportunity to play and explore with my children. It is my job as their parent to make sure they are safe at all times. That means I can’t sit down and gab with my friends if it means I can’t keep my eyes on my children. I was at a park recently when a child accidentally got pushed aside by another child and fell from a very high piece of equipment. The child hit the ground, the wind got knocked out of him and he was having a hard time breathing. His mother was busy talking at a table and didn’t even notice. When another parent came over to help me and started asking who’s kid is this, the mother showed up extremely embarrassed. She felt guilty because she knew she should’ve been watching more closely. I guess you would call me a helicopter mom since I make sure that my children obey the rules. Are you telling me you are raising your children to ignore rules and regulations. Those rules are there to protect the children.

Christine Lee 4 months ago

Sometimes I go to the park with other moms to socialize and let my kids free play. Other times, I go to the park to play with my children. You know what is annoying? When other kids Velcro themselves on me and keep asking to play with me because they see that I am playing with my kids. Some of us may work outside the home so much that maybe we want to play with our kids instead of chat with other moms. They get plenty of independent play with other children when I am at work. How do I know? I used to work 55+ hours a week, and you bet I was fully engaged in play when I was at the park or anywhere else with my kids. Now I work part time, and I do more chatting than actual play. So how about not jumping to conclusions about other moms and passing judgement?

Mae 4 months ago

Ok, have fun with that thousand dollar bill when your kid breaks something or hurts another kid. Seriously? For all intents and purposes you might as well just dump them at the park. “I don’t go to play with my kids.” Mom of the year right there. If you don’t want to watch, take care of, or play with your kids, send them to a sitter or daycare for your “momma chat” time. I’m not saying you have to hover. I’m saying be a parent. Rules will always apply everywhere.

Carrie 4 months ago

Well said!! This just felt like complaining and creating more division between moms. Enough already!

jessie 4 months ago

Im another in the middle! I’m a working momma and what little time I get at the park I WANT to play with my kids because that’s our special time together-who cares what we’re doing.
And I’ve gotta say lots of kids tend to join us because of all the fun we have and I kinda wish more momas would interact with their kiddos so that I don’t have to take time away from my kids to entertain theirs..

Kari 4 months ago

I’m much more layed back with my five year old than my two year old. I am a spotter: I let them test their bodies capabilities while being there for them as they practice and learn till I feel they are capable and experienced enough to be on their own. Even then I still like to take some time to play with them since they grow so fast but I am looking forward to the day that I can sit down for a while as they play. This mother who upset you and inspired you to write this article, maybe she is a first time mom who doesnt have a lot of child rearing experience yet so she is still in that overprotective stage that a lot of first time moms have, or maybe she lost a child to an accident that could have been prevented and now she can’t stop worrying or maybe she is a social worker whose daily job duty is to make sure children are in a safe environment. She may have judged you too I understand being annoyed with that and I agree she should not be lifting your child and placing him anywhere cause she doesn’t know his capabilities. But she gave you a dirty look so you felt offended, and posted an article, and I am going to say it for what it is, that being a mom shaming article, for the world to read stating that your parenting ways are better than hers. I don’t know, I think you could have got your opinion across better if your article wasn’t so one-sided, backhandedly written and judgmental.

Kisa Johnson 4 months ago

I ‘hover’ to an extent for my toddler. She’s not yet 18 months old. I do have a strict ‘no up the slide’ rule because I see it as rude to force your way up a slide, meaning a kid who just finally got up the ladder can’t go down without risk of hurting you. So they have to wait longer. Other than the ‘no up the slide’ rule, which I’ve had since my now 14 1/2 year old was a 1 year old. Well actually, I have one more rule. Don’t get close to people swinging on the swings! In front or in back, it’s dangerous.

My older kids (9, 10, 11 1/2, 14 1/2) know my rules and know to be polite and careful for the other kids around them. So they just get to run off and have a good time. :)

Helena 4 months ago

When my first was 2, I couldn’t imagine not spotting her. The wrong fall, and her neck will break on those metal bars and mulchy floors. Some 2 year olds may be very coordinated- but mine was not. I would look at the mom’s who didn’t hover and wonder how in the world their children were alive. I wasn’t judging them, just honestly wondering how they could sit so far away and not have to call an ambulance. It was working for them. How was it working for them? It would never work for me. My kid would 100% die.

And sometimes a terrified kid would ask for help, and of course I’d help. Duh.

And now my oldest is almost 3, and the park is a totally different experience. Somehow she came through the winter, and emerged a totally confident and steady kid. She scales ladders quickly and efficiently. She can stand by an opening without losing her balance and giving me a heart attack as she stumbles a little. And unless their are big kids around, she can run and play while I watch from 20 feet away.

A few weeks ago, a new friend was at the park with us, and she was horrified as j pushed my littlest on the swing. “But, your daughter is over on the playground without you. There is a ladder and a slide? Dont you want to GI over there? She could fall. She really could fall. This is making me nervous. I’m just going to go make sure she is ok.” It came from a nice place, but it was so incredibly irritating. SHE WAS FINE. Let it go. Let her play. But my friend’s first child was only barely 2, and she couldn’t even imagine that life.

Cassandra 4 months ago

Trying to sugar coat lazy parenting, yawn

em 4 months ago

This is totally a good reason to watch your child more closely! And absent parents aren’t good parent! I also think you need a new park!

em 4 months ago

I wouldn’t call that a helicopter parent at all! That’s called teaching politeness!

em 4 months ago

First of all, I find nothing wrong with an adult playing with their child at the park. I think it’s great for children to bond with their parents. I also think kids do need to be able to socialize and play with other kids and find nothing wrong with a parent being in the background too. I’ve done both as a teacher and a nanny. I also don’T think it’s my business to attend to other children when their adult is present, unless I’m their teacher. Parental supervision should be done within age appropriate choices. I wouldn’t be laced about a one year old playing on a very big playground, but kids slightly older, go for it.

I will say, I’ve noticed helicopter parents mean well, but don’t always give their children an opportunity to try things and fail on their own. The kids gotta learn to make friends at some point, or take care of his or her self at some point. In my experience, the children that have helicopter moms tend to be less independent, more entitled, and unable to solve problems on their own. In fact, my three challenging kiddos all,have parents that refuse to let their kids try something new when it was age appropriate for them to do so. I urge you if you’re one of those parents, give your kids an opportunity to try age appropriate things on their own and be proud you taught them how to function without you…a sign of a good parent!

em 4 months ago

First of all, I find nothing wrong with an adult playing with their child at the park. I think it’s great for children to bond with their parents. I also think kids do need to be able to socialize and play with other kids and find nothing wrong with a parent being in the background too. I’ve done both as a teacher and a nanny. I also don’T think it’s my business to attend to other children when their adult is present, unless I’m their teacher. Parental supervision should be done within age appropriate choices. I wouldn’t be laced about a one year old playing on a very big playground, but kids slightly older, go for it.

I will say, I’ve noticed helicopter parents mean well, but don’t always give their children an opportunity to try things and fail on their own. The kids gotta learn to make friends at some point, or take care of his or her self at some point. In my experience, the children that have helicopter moms tend to be less independent, more entitled, and unable to solve problems on their own. In fact, my three challenging kiddos all,have parents that refuse to let their kids try something new when it was age appropriate for them to do so. I urge you if you’re one of those parents, give your kids an opportunity to try age appropriate things on their own and be proud you taught them how to function without you…a sign of a good parent!

Mary 4 months ago

Bet you make your kids wear seat belts. Maybe they even *gasp* wear helmets or shin guards!

MommyLikesHerWine 4 months ago

Nowhere in the article did the writer say she wasn’t paying attention to her kid. If she were not paying attention she wouldn’t notice the mom picking up her kid, or glaring at the kid trying to climb up the slide. She also wasn’t as judgemental as many of the commenters are making her sound. Her last sentence as ‘keep your helicoptering to yourself,’ not ‘don’t watch your child when it plays.’
She also stated that she sees nothing wrong with her kid climbing up the slide provided that there is not a line…. She also was making fun of herself as well when she spoke of hauling her carcass out off the bench.

People need to quit trying to find things to hate about each other. Stop taking yourself and others so seriously. Live and let love, and don’t touch other people’s kids without the parents permission, it’s not a difficult concept.

Shantelle 4 months ago

I am a “live and let learn” type of parent. My 8 year old cooks dinner on a regular basis without any help, because as a mother i feel he needs these skills. i Also feel my kids need skills to figure out their own issues. i sit on the bench, or a blanket and read when we go to the park ( 8,5,4,2 ) But I pay attention, if they need help ( and they actually need it) I help, Otherwise i ask them to figure it out on their own. This works well for us. im always there if they really need me, but they learn how to do things on their own. The other day we went to the small park by my house. My two year old climbed up to the big slide and realized there was a place to jump, she LOVES to jump, as soon as she stepped to it I knew, i stood up and she said “mama jump” i told her Noo, another women was closer to her and heard the exchange, the second my 2 year old jumped she caught her. She was what you would call a “helicopter” parent. I am more “free-range” But working together, my daughter was protected . In the end we all love our children, we all want whats best for them. I want my children to learn, to grow and to have a lot of independence. i expect broken bones, and oweys and i know bad things can happen, but i do not let that ruin their chance to explore the world. this kind women feels differently, she feels she needs to show her daughter everything, that she needs to stand there and help, and you know what? thats fine. we talked afterwords ( after i thanked her) and she said she thought I was going to be mad…..why would i be mad? She told me her brother was almost killed on a playground accident, and so now it scares her. i told her she has every right to parent how she see’s fit. We then went and sat on a bench together and talked while my older daughter and her daughter played. She felt better knowing her daughter had a friend. They spent hours together. the point is instead of judging maybe we should work together, Its fine to sit back on the bench and realx, but dont judge those who are playing at the park, Its fine to be the one helping your child up th stairs but dont judge those who are sitting on the bench taking a much needed rest. Work together, after all we are all parents, we all want the same for our children…..and thats for them to know they are loved, wanted and for their happiness.

Jen 4 months ago

Really? All children are different and some require a great deal of close supervision to ensure that they are safe…for all kinds of reasons. Oh yeah, and yes….please get off your duff and come and handle your child who is often making like worse for all of the other kids on the playground because she is running around, knocking everyone else over, hurting themselves and others and generally causing a commotion….or as you would say…learning to navigate. This article desperately lacks insight into the lives of others and is funny only in it’s failed attempts at being witty.

lindsey caverly 4 months ago

The only problem I have with going up the slide is my 1.5 and 3 yr old are gonna hit in the face when they copy the kids they learned the behavior from. I agree with bits and pieces of this article. I don’t like dealing with a bunch mud its a pain in the ass, I like them to walk stairs in lstead of the ladder I don’t like bloody lips, I’m good with them making friends as long as they are nice half kids are mean but you live and learn. So call me a helicopter mom but generally I won’t help your kid unless they’re hurt which at some point I’ll be thinking in my head get up once in awhile just a little bit. Not that I don’t like to sit but right now its not in the cards :)

Carla 4 months ago

I have a just turned 2 year old who can totally climb the 6 ft ladder. But sometimes at the top, she slips. She’s only slipped twice. But, if I had not been there, she could have been seriously hurt. I choose to not forbid her from the slide and instead just spot her. I believe this practice will help her to get stronger and be able to do other things well. By the time she’s 3, I’m hoping to be a total bench sitter. But, for now, I’m more involved. You don’t like it… too bad. I too have had kids at the playground ask for help or ask me to watch them do something. If they need to get down and can’t or are stuck, I’ll help. Other than that, I’ll tell them that I need to watch my daughter so they’ll have to ask their parent to watch them. I’m there to parent my child and don’t care how you parent yours. As far as the slide. My daughter is only 2 and has gone down the slide only to get run over by some kid going up the slide. And the kid going up the slide doesn’t stop because she’s going down. They’ll actually climb over her. So, in that situation.. yeah, I’ll tell the kid slides are for going down. I try to take my kid earlier in the day when there are less big kids. But I also have a 10 year old and sometimes we all go together. My 10 year old would never climb over a toddler. He will run up slides and climb on the outside but he also knows how to play around smaller kids because we TAUGHT him way before his sister was born. Your kids want to and need to blow off steam. They may have been in school all day or cooped up in the house. And you want to let kids be kids while you have a moment for yourself. I totally get it. But, it’s still a public place. And part of development is how to be a responsible person who follows rules and doesn’t hurt others. There was some little girl that climbed to the top of the equipment and threw her shoes over the side and hit me with one of them the other day. It’s not like I was injured and she wasn’t trying to hit me. But, if it was my kid, it would be a learning moment to not blindly throw your shoes because you may hit someone. This girls parent could care less. Again.. nobody was injured but it was annoying. And at least part of my job as a parent is to teach my kids to not be little self absorbed a-holes.

Gloria Ofori-Atta 4 months ago

We all parent differently, what works for your first child might not even work for your second Child. So why do you find the need to write a such a long piece about other moms and their parenting style. Could it be that you might not be so sure about your parenting style?

danielle 4 months ago

I agree that kids should be allowed to just play. Normal kids.
I am a helicopter mom, and for good reason. I have a child with multiple neurological and physical disabilities. I have no choice but to hover and clean everything he might touch and clean his hands every time he touches anything i missed.
I feel judged when the other mothers snicker at me from the sidelines saying i must be a new mom.
That is why i hate this kind of judgmental crap. I can’t help that my kid can die from a cold and i hate that i feel likei am being made fun of by the mo s of normal kids.

Lizzy 4 months ago

I’m a hoverer. I totally admit it. And I’ll totally judge you if you tiny child is in potential danger and you’re not even looking, or if your bigger child is climbing up the slide or on the outside of a play structure making it unfair or unsafe for other children. But, I wouldn’t give you the stink-eye, I wouldn’t touch your child or even talk to them. You know why I hover? Because I teach my kids that following the rules is the same as being polite, and I’ve been to the ER enough times to not want to do it again. Plus, I’ve lost a child. When you’ve held your dead child in your arms, you become more protective of the living ones that still remain. So, how about you stop attacking other moms for their faults and just let them be. You have no idea what their story is.

Monica 4 months ago

Very good points, thank you for sharing.

Sarah 4 months ago

I agree about there being gray areas. I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent by any means. I have a shy child that refuses to do anything on his own no matter how much encouragement he receives. So while it may look like I’m hovering, I really just need to stand close to him before he will agree to do anything. I’d really love to be able to sit on the bench and crochet while he goes off and discovers things and plays with other kids. It’s just not happening for us yet.

Meghan 4 months ago

Thos makes me sad. What happened to the “it takes a village” mentality? And it’s definitely not right to judge the “hoverers”.

Susan 4 months ago

I have a problem with that as you see I am raising my fourth boy and do you know how many trips I have had to the ER? Quite a few! The fourth boy I hover over more than the older three. You see when parents look at us at the park they see a parent hovering over a child who should be old enough to go up and down slides and play on the climber on his own. However, said child could end up in a wheelchair permanently if he takes even the slightest fall off the playground equipment. I find this article very annoying and a lot of the comments very angering! You don’t know to look at my little man that anything is wrong with him but, your kids that are running around on the equipment playing tag put him at high risk of injury. Before anyone says anything about not taking him to the park don’t bother. He has as much right to be there as anyone else. If children played on the equipment properly he wouldn’t be at such a risk but, kids don’t so I hover.

Cat 4 months ago

I agree with most of the Moms above, I too am somewhere in the middle. I go to the park to play with my son and give him freedom to do his own thing! He loves to jump, run and climb on new playground equipment, etc, etc and I let him. I’ll chat with Mom friends, but also take breaks in conversation to take pictures of my sons new found park “accomplishments” or encourage him/praise him when tries something new and is excited. If I want a “play date” with my friends I’ll make one outside of time with my son. I feel your tone is snooty and judgemental and only adds to the already existing judgement we face as Moms. We need to appreciate, embrace and encourage how each Mom does their very best to parent the way they see fit, not make snide remarks and act as if we’re better than another Mom.

Torrie 4 months ago

This feels needlessly decisive. Lots of moms and no need to dish out the judgement. Mama time is good and glad you enjoy it. Next time maybe try a swing … You may like it and playing with your kids may make their eyes twinkle too.

S (again) 4 months ago

Felt like commenting again, but also felt like it should continue on my first comment.

After reading some of these comments, I’m kind of jealous of everyone else’s parks. Ours are NOT fenced in, they are not divided into ‘age appropriate’ areas… no wonder most of you can chill out. Our park playgrounds are kind of distant from the roads, maybe 20 seconds running distance (usually – one is literally right next to a parking lot) but none of them have barriers between the play area and traffic. One local playground is right next to a dense ‘mini-forest’ with a really deep creek running through it. Another playground is rusty and peeling. Another playground is the plateau of a gigantic hill even adults have trouble walking down safely. Even another is in sight of the Ohio River, again with no barriers.

The last time I tried to relax, kiddo was halfway to the road before I caught her. Aaaand now I don’t relax anymore.

Yeah, give me some of YOUR kinds of parks with these fences and “under two” areas I keep reading about, and I will VERY happily sit my ass on a bench.

Michelle Eastridge 4 months ago

I’m not a hover parent, but when you have a toddler/preschooler, it’s kind of your job to protect them and make sure what they are doing is safe. Park rules are there for a reason and so are age limits. Is talking to the woman next to you worth your child falling off a plaything too high for them and breaking an arm? I was the laid back mom, who sat on a bench chatting until I saw a 6 year old push my 3 year old off a slide. If it hadn’t been a tunnel slide, she would have fallen and broken her neck. There is a happy medium where both parents can meet…

Lisa 4 months ago

Humans are animals, of the mammal class, since you clearly missed biology. And children learn by doing, by testing their limits, but falling down and getting bumps sometimes, although hopefully not too often. If they don’t get chances to learn their limits and test their independence when they are young, their mental growth will be just as stunted as a chick’s physical growth if helped too much to get out of an egg.

Parents who don’t understand this, which seems to be far, far too many, are damaging their children in their unnatural attempts to protect them from ever even slightly risking physical injury.

Starla 4 months ago

I go to the park to let my daughter run around so I don’t have too. If she falls, “shake it off”, if she is not bleeding and screaming and jumps up playing, we are good. This her time, and I let her have it. We don’t seem to have those moms at our park and I am so glad. We watch and we talk, that is the main purpose.

Ronni 4 months ago

No judgment against those who are not helicopter parents, but, some of us helicopter moms have to keep our blades spinning for a reason. Your neurotypical, properly sized for age and development child may be just fine learning to scale a ladder not quite their size yet. Mine, who may look like a normal fully developed 10 or 11 year old is only 7 and has an amazing lack of coordination or muscle development due to a sensory disorder. Maybe my arms are outstretched because I know he can and has lost grip just because the metal is a touch to warm or cold for him, or, his sheer muscle mass is too much for him to hold himself up. Maybe I want to be close so when your 4 year old lets out a normal high pitched squeal instantly turns mine into an anxiety and pain driven out of control kid and he tries to smack or god forbid even grab your little one by the neck because his primal need to just make the pain stop NOW takes over. Maybe I don’t want to have to console him just seconds later when he is appalled at himself for hurting that little one or I have to try to explain to your frightened and stunned child that he is so sorry and didn’t mean to hurt you. Some of us just want a nice day at the park too and it just isn’t as simple as you might seem. Some of us wish we could be sitting chatting with the other Mommies but we can’t. We have to pilot this helicopter before it crashes in a manner you couldn’t imagine.

grimcore 4 months ago

I generally have this problem ALL THE TIME. I’m an active mom of a 3 1/2 year old autistic child who throws fits and tantrums at the store every now and then. I get the stink eye in public when he hums and makes weird noises. I also love to help him at the park, and every now and then I’ll see a child struggling who needs help while mommy is too busy with friends and/or cell and isn’t paying attention. So I do the “nice thing” (which is generally to help those in need), but upon looking up after said act of kindness, I’m receiving the stink eye from mommy who thinks I’m trying to kidnap/molest her child. I don’t believe in touching other peoples kids, but then again I don’t like seeing kids get hurt because mommy doesn’t have a clue (I could just whip out the cell and record the child falling to their imminent boo-boo, but that would also be wrong). There is nothing wrong with socializing with other women at the park, but I know just as much as anyone that being as social as I am with a child of special needs, I tend to get absorbed in conversations (which is not a bad thing at all). As much as I would love to talk to other mothers at the park who have neurotically developing children who listen when they are being called, I know that I can’t! It hurts not being one of the other mothers. I wouldn’t mind NOT being classified as a “helicopter” mom or “hoover,” and instead being thanked every now and then for helping a child in need. I just happen to have to focus on my wondering/non verbal child who doesn’t listen to his name being called because he gets so absorbed in his surroundings. I don’t see a “helicopter/ hoovering” mom as a bad thing, unless she has no children with her at the park (which would really make me wonder why she is at a park playing with strangers children to begin with.)

Nicole 4 months ago

This actually made me a little upset to think there’s anything wrong with being a helicopter mom. I’m a bit of both. There’s nothing wrong with your kids getting dirty as long as afterwords you’re not planning on taking them to anything important and you were just being nice and letting your kids go and play for a little bit before hand. And what’s wrong with making sure someone else’s kid doesn’t get hurt because maybe the parent doesn’t see something that they would try and stop. Something as stupid as falling off a playground can actually kill a child no you don’t have to be right there all the time and I’m not for my kids now that they’re getting older and my little guy climes and does things for his age that freak me out but I let him but I stay right there. Sometimes you need to understand you don’t know what that mom is going through. Ya she might give you the stinkeye but maybe she’s gone through something and doesn’t need to be worried about your kid too not that it’s your problem but we all go through things that are silent to someone else and as a parent we generally don’t want to see anyone get hurt.

Terria 4 months ago

I go to let my kids play and also to play with them. I’m standing there because they say “Look Mommy!” Or because my two year old can scale the tallest ladder, but isn’t wise enough not to fall off the top. Also, I am there hovering because I love to watch the joy on their faces more than my smart phone.

S 4 months ago

I’ll probably be thinking of this article the next time I get the “stink eye” from all those free-range moms while I’m “hovering”.

My kid is two. She’s the size of a five year old but definitely doesn’t have that coordination. I started out “free range”, until we visited the ER so often the nurses were starting to get suspicious. So yeah, I hover. She still puts things in her mouth, she has NO fear, she could be bleeding from her face and won’t even cry, and will happily dive head-first from the tallest slide. She also likes to bolt as soon as she thinks I’m not watching, and she’s faster than me. I have no interest in talking to other parents at the playground, and the only time I pay attention to other kids is the rare occasion I see a 1 year-old toddling away into the tree line by himself.

Maybe I’m an idiot for taking a hyperbolic title personally, I don’t know. I guess we’ll just stay home from now on, so as to not ruin anyone’s day or whatnot.

PartyMama 4 months ago

With my first child, I was textbook helicopter mom. I’m unapologetic because I have 3rd degree burn scars from my childhood (17mos old) that I’ve had to live with all my life. My scars led to a lot of bullying, stares, stripped away my confidence and I basically hid from the world until my 30s. I don’t even remember getting burned but it definitely influenced the way I parent. I lived in constant fear that something similar would happen to my kids. As my littles have gotten older, I’ve loosened my grip more and more and it has truly been a healing process for me. Now I give them their space and wait until they ask me for help but it was a process…and it took a few years. So I guess my point is this… you don’t know someone else’s story and I think that most of us are just trying to do our best. xo

Karl Bielefeldt 4 months ago

It’s interesting how many of these comments show how self-fulfilling hovering is. Kids who have never had to be responsible for their own safety don’t know how to do it. Their mom looks away for a second and anything could happen. Nothing is more unsafe.

On the other hand, consider a child who has always had freedom to experiment. A toddler isn’t going to suddenly fall out of a tall tree. She might fall off the first rung of a ladder, then she’ll be more careful until she is sure of herself. She takes incremental steps, testing herself. By the time she climbs a tall tree, she has a good idea how to do it safely. The hovered kid who sneaks to climb a tree when his mom isn’t looking is going to get hurt. The kid who gets “help” into a situation he hasn’t built up to is going to get hurt. Kids who have never gotten hurt before are not scared of it, and act accordingly. The point is to occasionally let them get mildly hurt on the little things, so they will be careful on the big things.

Of course, there are dangers that are not okay to learn by experimentation. You don’t let your kids learn from experience why they shouldn’t run into the road, or play with matches on their bed. You could make an argument that sticks are in that category, depending on how safely the kids are playing with them. However, playgrounds aren’t generally full of those sorts of dangers. That’s the whole point.

jen 4 months ago

Agrred. Same situation here, with 5 under 5 yrs old, I have to help my tiny ones, too. Wish I wasn’t labeled for it. Thanks!

courtney 4 months ago

Im on the fence about this…there is a huge park in my neighborhood, and I have to say that we rarely go there due to the fact that no one watches their kids. Not to be rude, I don’t really care if moms are at the park for a break. While they gossip and check their Facebook feeds (which I am definitely guilty of doing too when I have the chance, dont get me wrong) Their kids are usually the ones misbehaving and being jerks to the other kids. And it’s not my responsibility to watch them, or discipline them, so I don’t. If your kid gets kicked in the face because he went up the slide while my kid was sliding down the right way, don’t expect any apology from me. I felt myself identifying with the helicopter mom being poked fun at in this “article” . But maybe I’m just jealous. You see, my 8 year old son has a brainstem astrocytoma. It’s a brainstem tumor. He was diagnosed and had surgery in 2012. After the surgery, he had many complications due to poor after care. He woke up from a coma after a week and was an infant again. He relearned to talk, walk, eat, everything. He spent 4 months in the hospital rehabbing and almost 3 years later he’s still in therapy. He is shunt dependent, meaning that if the valve and tubing imbedded in his skull, neck and chest gets damaged, he can die. Not that he would, but he would have to have a surgery, maybe even a brain surgery, to repair it. He has poor balance and coordination. He’s slower moving than the other kids, and just can’t do all the things that he should be able to because of this effing tumor . And he knows it. So I’m SO sorry to all the moms who don’t know me, apparently judging my hovering, but I keep a close watch on Jackson. We spend so much time between doctors and hospitals that I minimize the risk whenever I can. But trust me that I wish, MORE THAN ANYTHING, that I could just for once, taken him to the park and relax. He’s growing up and wants to be more independent. He’s doing better each day physically. Maybe one day I’ll get to sit on the sidelines. Just remember before you pick out your helicopter moms, maybe there’s a reason.

Xyzdreamz 4 months ago

I love this!!

Kristine 4 months ago

Actually, humans are animals.

Stephanie 4 months ago

I enjoy visiting with friends as much as anyone but not at my kids expense. If I want some time to visit then the child can play on things that are appropriate for that age but if my child wants to go down something bigger and I am willing to help him that doesn’t make me a helicopter parent. If your child can’t maneuver whatever it is without assistance and you don’t want to do that right then I have no judgement…just don’t allow your child to do it but don’t let your child do something unsafe and then talk about other mothers that are trying to help your child.

Rita 4 months ago

This seems a little harsh. I help my kids at the park, I play with my kids at the park, and I’m not going to let mine or anyone else’s fearless tot break an arm because my help makes others feel obligated to help. I don’t think ugly thoughts about the other parents I just know my son in particular thinks he is invinsable and he will try and do things he might not really be able to do at not quite 3. I’d prefer be there under him and not need to be than the alternative.

jody 4 months ago

My kids were allowed to climb big trees and the ladders and go too fast on the merry go round. And yes! One of them had a broken arm. It didn’t kill him, and he had a cool cast that all his friends could sign. They have a few scars from cuts and scrapes and one has a scar in his eyebrow from a scary trip down the slide. But you know what? As a kid, I played on gravel playgrounds and metal slides that were about 400 degrees in the sun and burned my legs, and I climbed on monkey bars that were way too high and swings that had rusted chains. I survived! I broke an ankle and have a few scars myself, but my childhood was fun. …and so was my boys’, because they were free to play and make mistakes and get bumped around. And yes, other kids were rough with them at times, and so what? They learned how to handle it on their own. What are we teaching kids by protecting them from everything? They grow up and don’t know how to take a bump or a scrape or how to deal with someone who steals their sand shovel. You aren’t doing them any favors. Yay for you, scary mommy!

M 4 months ago

I’m a BTDT mom of six, ages 18-18mo, so I’ve been to my share of parks. I am saddened by all of this judging, and I’ve had my share of annoyances from parents on both ends of the spectrum. (I’m sure I’ve irrirated someone unintentionally, too.) I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. My older kids are respectful to others and can handle parks on their own. I interact intermittently as part of our bonding & family time. From my experiences, really little ones do need help, not only to keep them safe, but also to teach kindness & respect to others. That’s a process. The playground is intended for community-wide fun, not survival of the fittest.

Many playgrounds around here are right off of a trail, so sometimes we’ll stop with our well-behaved dog along (and off to the side). I’ve had kids jabbing & waving sticks at him while the moms just stood there talking away, either oblivious or uncaring. That’s not okay. I also believe that young toddlers can be overzealous and prone to getting stuck or hurt, plus many bigger children aren’t gentle around little ones. They will shove them aside playing tag on equipment, etc. So, yes, during that stage, a parent should be there. I don’t, however, parent others’ (sometimes obnoxious) children at the park. The playground is not intended as a daycare, though. Supervision, at least from a distance, is the sole responsibility of the parent(s). Out-of-control kids with inattentive parents ruin it for others. I shouldn’t have to deal with their kids running over my toddler because they want “me” time. Get a babysitter & schedule it. I do. Those with older children who are conscientious of littles, play away.

It’s really all about being considerate of others around you (which kids will model) & not completely tuning out when on parenting duty. Kids earn more freedom as they develop the maturity to handle themselves & consider their surroundings.

Lucy Mauterer 4 months ago

I have a different perspective from most of you. I’m 63 years old and raising my granddaughter after raising my two. I was usually aware of where they were on the playground but most of the time I sat quietly and watched to make sure they didn’t do anything too stupid (dangerous). I watched other’s kids as well, but mostly those who were with a nanny. Nannies are notorious for not paying attention to their charges. I’ve seen kids fall from the top of the highest jungle gym and the nanny did not even notice. Too busy on their cell phones. I don’t hover but if I see a child hurt and no adult responding, I WILL step in to make sure the child is not seriously injured. I think common sense should be the rule. We want our kids to grow up with self confidence but we don’t want any unnecessary trips to the hospital either.

Emily 4 months ago

These are the children who climb up the slide after mine has already started going down causing him to smack into their skulls and get a bloody lip. These are the children who repeatedly push my son with their hands and feet off of the play structure. They don’t listen to me when I explain that it isn’t their personal playground and it’s unacceptable to put their hands on others bodies… but of course their parents are nowhere to be found to intervene. These are the one year olds who I instinctively (and luckily) catch as they flip off the bouncy bridge. These are the kids I find at the top crying for mommy but mommy can’t hear them, so I help them down (not up, in what universe do strangers do that?) and to find their inattentive parent. And how exactly does my pushing my child on the swing affect you? At all? So much wrong with this article and this way of thinking.

Inattentive parents, YOU are ruining it for everyone else. I have left the parks before because of you, all of the aforementioned are actual occurrences.

bergman 4 months ago

I tend to think about this like rules of the road. You can’t say “you do your thing and I’ll do mine” when you have a bicycle, a car, and a Mack truck sharing lanes. The truck does his thing, but the cyclist is the one who bears the consequences.

Same goes when you have kids 18 months, 3 years, and 6 years sharing a playground. The injuries are going to land disproportionately on the littler ones. So when I watch my daughter, it isn’t because I’m worried about her hurting herself, it’s because I’m worried about some unsupervised kid stepping on her hand while she’s going up a climber or throwing wood chips in her face. Both of which happened this very afternoon.

And sure, you can say “this is how kids learn” — but that assumes a parent is present because, absent some discipline or feedback, there’s no inherent lesson built into throwing wood chips in somebody’s face.

Sure, kids should have their freedom, but they should grow into that freedom and it shouldn’t come at the expense of other kids on the playground.

I see this article as very self-centered and little more than validation for lazy parenting.

Elizabeth 4 months ago

One thing I will say is that I have a special needs son… He wears glasses but other than that, you couldn’t tell that he has a genetic syndrome which causes global developmental delays among other things. I sometimes feel like I am a helicopter mom, but I have to in order to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. He has no sense of danger at all, which I know a lot of kids lack, but for my son, could be really dangerous. Anyway, I agree with what you’re saying, but sometimes these helicopter moms do have a right to do what they’re doing and it may not be obvious why they’re being so obnoxious. I guess I’m just playing devils advocate not necessarily supporting them! :) I do try to give my son opportunities to learn to do things on his own.

Jessica 4 months ago

NEWSFLASH: the world is full of people who have different ways of doing things. Why on earth would this “ruin” your day? Since you are so keen on doling out advice to everyone, here is some advice for you: LIGHTEN UP! And the next time you encounter someone who parents differently than you (the horror!!) give them the benefit of the doubt, and move on with your life!

Hb 4 months ago

I enforce the no stick rule. Only because as a birthday party was going on, all the adults were getting drunk at the picnic tables and these kids had huge sticks and were sword fighting, and one of them walked up to our 4 yr old and hit her over the head with it. On purpose. So not so much helicopter parent, but more like went psycho put your beer down and come get your kid parent.

LiaM 4 months ago

Been there, gotten the look for that. *laugh* My eldest is a monkey.
What’s worse? I work in schools, I handle playground duty. So some of that helping kids down or checking on them or pushing them on swings business is just slipping into work mode, not at ALL a commentary on parents. When I am supposed to be watching them, parents aren’t there. 😛

Also, I generally only tell a kid, “Let’s not climb the slide” if I just saw another kid about to barrel down in their FACEMEAT. 😛

Beth 4 months ago

But why is there such a problem with walking up the slide – if there’s not a line of people waiting to come down?

And no, I wouldnt be asking you why you werent looking out for my child. It’s not your job to look out for my child, it’s mine. And I’d probably be too busy making sure he was ok, looking for bleeding, and comforting him to even address you.

chelsea 4 months ago

I guess im a hoverer with my niece. I do not get to see her alot and play with her at the park. I also live in the city and the playground is HUGE (it’s not called “the super playground” for nothing) i keep an eye on her and when i lose site of her i freak out. I guess thats just me… but you won’t see her face on a missing childs report on my watch.

Michelle Burr 4 months ago

My little one has downs and has no fear but I still hover because I worry. Not about injury as much as helping her navigate and communicate with those around us. She is beautiful and loves everyone but her sentiment is not always returned. BUT I mind my own business and would never interfere with someone else’s child unless they are in actual danger. I think that the world would be a better place if people could just mind their own business. And stop judging others. 5+4=9. 3+3+3=9 4.5+4.5=9 2+2+2+2+1=9. Who cares how you get the answer? Everyone has a different way of doing things. Does not mean any are wrong…

Daddy McReals 4 months ago

It’s both easier and harder being a dad. Since approximately 90% of modern-day moms think men take care of kids “wrong” (which in mom parlance is a synonymous with “not my way”), moms at the park just assume I’m incompetent and hold me to a really low standard. This is an insidious form of inverse sexism that shouldn’t be tolerated, but I’m not there to impress anybody. They can save their henpecking for their poor beleaguered husbands. Anyway, God forbid my kid actually scrapes a knee while I’m looking at my phone or watching the geese or just lost in my own thoughts. It’s like no kid ever scraped a knee before. Kids are supposed to get hurt. There’s hurt, and there’s injured. Is she injured? Then I’ll come tend to her. If not, throw some dirt on it, get up, and stop crying. Save that shit for your mother. I know it hurts, that’s how you learn to be more careful. The world’s a huge dickhead, there’ll be plenty of real shit to cry over later.

cori 4 months ago

I only agree up to a point. All the rubber and mulch in the world isn’t going to stop a child from getting hurt. My nephew’s arm, broken in two places from falling off of a safely mulched play structure (where the fireman pole is), when he was 7, tells me a two year-old shouldn’t be climbing anything unsupervised, especially when the playground equipment clearly states it is meant for 5-12 year olds. Of course, an adept 4 year-old wouldn’t even register on my radar. A three year-old who doesn’t have full physical and mental capacity developmentally speaking to maneuver more than half the equipment properly, yeah, you’re getting the stink eye from me and I’m keeping an eye on your kid. And yes, I’m most certainly going to watch your 18 month-old still in diapers to keep him from getting brained by kids coming down the slide or swinging on the swing set or breaking his neck from a fall that could’ve been prevented if you paid a little attention to a baby who can’t possibly understand. My five year-old that can safely manuever the equipment? Yeah, she can play on her own while I watch from afar and have my mommy time. Helicopter moms are quite different, you see, than moms who have both studied and taught child development and know when it’s ok to leave her child alone on a playground so she can have her me time. And when your child is able to safely maneuver equipment, both physically and mentally, then I’ll stop watching your kid and doing your job of keeping him safe. Sorry, uninvolved moms, but you ruin the playground for the rest of us who make sure the equipment and child’s age and actual ability mesh.

Jaime 4 months ago

You even said that it is due to your having four boys that you LEARNED to let go a little. This implies you were not always this way. Other people are still learning too despite your feeling like you already have things figured out. Sometimes what is best for you and your children is not best for another mother and her child.

Emilie 4 months ago

Also my son has managed to break two arms. Riding a scooter at a walking pace and running in the grass. Both times took 6+months to heal, required closed reductions in the emergency room and needed more than 10 followup doctor visits with x rays. He is not any more careful in his riding or running after the experience and it was darned expensive. So if we can avoid any more trips to the ER I will enforce some some common sense rules.

Christine 4 months ago

My kids are 14 and 16 so our park days are over. But when we used to go, I would go down the slide with them bc it was fun. If their friends were there, I’d stay close by to watch so I’m considered a helicopter mom. If someone else’s child next to me fell, of course I would help them up and wipe the sand off their backs. It’s called common courtesy. I didn’t know I was ruining it for the moms that weren’t close by. If someone helped my kids up, I would thank them. I see my kids doing the same thing now and it makes me proud. I was moving furniture yesterday and it must of sounded like I fell and from downstairs my 16 yr old son yelled out, “mom u ok?” I said yes I’m moving a chair and that was it. He didn’t run up the stairs petrified that I might of hurt myself. I thought to myself “how sweet of him to ask”. I didn’t view it as a bad thing but after reading this article it made me think that others might not share my view and it saddens me. My kids are not in any way spoiled or intitled. To this day after every meal I cook, they still say thank you for dinner and we are a very close family. They were brought up by a HM and it’s not always a bad thing.

Emilie 4 months ago

One of my biggest pet peeves is kids who climb slides. They tend to do it even if there is a line up at the top. I usually stick pretty close to a toddler. I may help her with stairs because we don’t have them in our house, but after a few tries she gets how to do it. I don’t think that I am doing her out of any real learning experiences. I will also sit near my child and play in the sand with them, because I have noticed that until about 3 1/2 some kids have difficulty with sand social skills. I usually follow my 1 year old, keep my 4 year old in sight, and check in on my 7 and 9 year olds intermittently. If the older ones are behaving and are where they said they would be I let them run. If I come up and see them doing something against MY rule, then they have to come back into the mommy zone of influence. Usually it takes just once or twice a summer for them to get the picture. Don’t know if this makes me a hoverer, don’t really care. I expect my kids to treat others with respect even when I am not in view.

monsterina 4 months ago

I agree.

I remember hovering by a little toddler going up a rockwall that my son (who was older than the toddler) could barely make it up. I’d hate for the kid to fall right in front of me, when maybe the Mom is grabbing the baby from the stroller or something. I would hope that someone would catch my kid if they fell when I was out of sight.

monsterina 4 months ago

My youngest of three just turned 4 and we went to the park. I was looking forward to just sitting on the bench and watching my kids play. Except the moment I sit down, my 4 year old starts climbing the slide on the little kid equipment. Which I’m fine with, especially since he’s my 3rd kid. But then all the little toddler boys start climbing the slide too and their Moms are all “We don’t climb the slide! Up the steps and down the slide!” So I have to run over and tell my kid to quit it, since he’s being a bad example to all the smaller boys. 😛

Shae 4 months ago

The ironic part is if I was standing there “hovering” over my child and your kid fell off the monkey bars and cracked their skull open, then “chill” mom would be like omg you were standing right there why didn’t you help him?! I’m sorry but how else are kids supposed to LEARN about social norms and boundaries if someone doesn’t TEACH them?? They don’t pick it up by osmosis! Kids don’t know that a slide is for sliding until someone shows them how. Ladders are for climbing. You’re teaching them how to interact with and in society. That is not hovering, that is basic fundamental parenting! “Free Range” parenting is only ok if you have taught your children how to act and operate in society. If your child is being a holy terror and you are sitting there doing nothing that’s not free range parenting, that’s lazy parenting.

Ashliegh 4 months ago

I don’t know what made me laugh more… Your ‘name’ or your rant! Haha

maria 4 months ago

This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read!

Jellyfish 4 months ago

And if you don’t want people to react, please don’t be a dick yourself. There are reasons people hover and if you have kids who are healthy and fine and can manage the world, count your blessings.

Jessea 4 months ago

I’m not really a follower of this blogger, the article just popped up in my news feed and I gave it a read. I sort of wish I hadn’t now though because it seems kind of mean and judgemental. I’ve been the mom helping another parents child at the playground, not because I think that the unknown parent is a bad parent but because I can’t stand by and see a child get hurt and do nothing. Yes I know bumps and bruises are an important part of learning limitations and independence is pivotal to development. But how would you feel if I was standing right there and did nothing while something bad happened to your child? Something I could have prevented because I was right there? This is my logic and the reason I hover, not because I think you should be doing it but because I am the person closest to the child who might get hurt and if I don’t help I’m wronging both the child and YOU. We’re all people, we all love our children and we SHOULD all love each other, so when I hover I do it because I care and if I’m ever too far to help my child when they’re in danger of getting hurt I hope you aren’t too afraid of being judged to step in and lend a hand because good intentions and acting like a community toward common goals should be an applauded practice. I don’t think badly of you for how you choose to parent even if it is different from how I choose to parent, please don’t think badly of me. I’m just doing my best to be a good person and it hurts to be called stupid or annoying because I want to do the right thing.

Jellyfish 4 months ago

Well don’t you worry, when my kiddo with ASD and SPD climbs the same 6ft ladder and knocks your kid off because he doesn’t understand the concept of body proximity, just because I wasn’t close enough to stop him.

Kayla 4 months ago

I am a soon-to-be parent and reading this made me pretty bummed. I have taken a number of other people’s younger kids to the playground and I play with them pretty actively. I am sorry people can seem judge-y. Everyone has their reasons for wanting to do what they want to do and the world would be a better place if we did not leave it to ourselves to judge why. This is the one thing I dread about becoming a mom. Mom judgement.

ASJ 4 months ago

Try not being so judgemental yourself. Just because you choose to parent that way doesn’t mean you are right either. If you are feeling guilt, maybe that’s on you because you are assuming that someone is judging you.
I let my kid play and I play with him. I hovered when he was smaller and then let him be. Everyone parents in the way that works best for them.

Erin K. 4 months ago

I’m with others that have commented, I’m in the middle here. I wouldn’t consider myself a hoverer, but if my child gets himself in a situation where I don’t know if he can get out of it, of course I’m going to sit with my arms under him and spot him! At least I’m still letting him try and not making him get down. And I hate that parents don’t teach their kids that slides are for going down and not up. It’s almost like teaching someone that you drive on the right side of the road but if you don’t see anyone, you can drive on the left. It’s an accident waiting to happen. If it only affects your child, fine, but it doesn’t. Your child doesn’t see my child actually using the slide the right way and when they collide your child lands on mine while trying to catch themselves. Kids are smart. It may take hovering for a little bit, but then they learn the etiquette and the playground is safer for everyone. Some parents probably feel like they have to hover because there are parents like you that completely ignore your children. Ignore them on your own playground or when your by yourself but if others are there, it is just plain rude to allow your children to put others in danger.

Heather Anne 4 months ago

As a SAH mom on 2 boys 18 month apart and both under 4, I am their parent, they are my child, I am their safe place, they are my running wild, some moments I hover close, others I don’t. My kids are capable, and athletic, but they are also clumsy and clueless, the busier the park, the more we need to respect the rules. Some moments I hear my kids whine, mom come play with me and others they could care less. I adopt the you need to be able to see and hear me and I need to be able to hear and see you. It’s a constant adaptation of currents needs, wants and capabilities.

I am tired of every mom saying their not judging, because they are, and you know what I hope they are, I sure am. You know what else I am doing, learning. I see their happy independent capable kid and I want to figure out how to get there. I see their kid come to mom and say thanks for playing and give their mom a hug and say may we get ice cream now, and I want that. I see someone new at the play ground and I want to make eye contact and get an introduction and maybe hear some funny story about how their day or week, or a triumph or disappointment, even if we met 30 seconds ago, mean while our eyes are where they belong, on our kids.

What I don’t want is to see 10 moms all staring at their phones for 30 non stop mins mean while their attention starved kid is looking for a helping hand, or being a bully. It’s all a balance and we all approach it a tad differently and I want it to be that way. What I want is positive communication from fellow park moms. I want a hey, your kids stuck can I help, or hey I’m cool with my kid climbing up the slide are you? Or a please stop helping my kid, I need for him to figure it out on his own, and be ok with that. This crazy silence and abstract big picture parenting is ruining for everyone else not the helicopter or free range parent.

Em 4 months ago

I am not a “helicopter” mom. I don’t hover and I allow them to discover and to do things themselves. What I do though is I actually play with my children at the park. I play a game they call mommy monster. I give them rides on the swing. I help them do obstacle courses. And you know what? I do judge mom’s who are too busy playing on their phone to help their child on the swings. Then when those children ask me to help them or if they can play mommy monster I let them. Why wouldn’t I? This article is harsh and not accurate at all.

Chris 4 months ago

I get it. Let the kids be kids and play. I have a typical child. This works. But I also have a child who has a developmental delay- and doesn’t understand boundaries. I have to keep a closer watch. And it is disheartening to know I have to contend with other mothers who would judge me for doing so. I put this out there not to be cantankerous, but to bring awareness to the fact all children are different and require different parenting styles.

boswell0617 4 months ago

I think that judging someone for being too involved is about the same as judging someone for not being involved enough. What is the point of letting someone else’s opinion bother you either way. I love to let my child be as independent as possible, but I often have to hover over her at the playground because she has Autism , and no fear. She will walk right off of things and not think twice about how high up she is. She looks absolutely normal to the world, but I know she has special needs. So if you see us at the park, and I am hovering, then go ahead and feel free to judge me as a helicopter parent. We will be having fun together regardless, and I wish you all the best with your day too. Let’s just support each other and stop the judgment all together.

Kristy 4 months ago

I think you missed that part about the rock? Like it or not some kids don’t (yet) distinguish the consequence and difference of throwing a pine cone vs. throwing a rock. If kids are throwing things they will want to throw things too! They may be less coordinated and not even intending to hit another person, but it happens with some kids.
PLEASE note: If a mother asks your child to stop throwing things (pine cones or otherwise), please don’t take it personally…she is not telling you that you should have told them and she is not telling you that you are a bad parent for letting them throw things…she is simply telling them that her child is here at the park too and he will want to throw things too, but she knows he is uncoordinated and will likely hurt someone unintentionally. It’s not judgey. It’s one parent knowing her child and asking that the environment be one where everyone can safely play. It’s not your child’s fault or your fault that the other kid doesn’t understand the difference between pine cones and rocks…but it’s not their fault either! Some kids are born this way and need way more guidance than others! It’s a struggle for them and they are trying their best to work on it. It’s not all about you.

Lanae 4 months ago

I’m with you. I don’t see myself as a “helicopter parent” by any means but when I take my kid to the park I do like to play with him, because I’ve worked all day and he wants my attention and I want to interact with him. My son is quite a bit younger than the age group I think the author is talking about but even then…if my son turns 6 and wants me to be the teeter to his totter or to push him on the swing even though he is perfectly capable of doing it himself, well so be it.

Someone pointed out the problem with the labels. I used to cringe when helicopter parent came about and now roll my eyes when someone mentions “free range” parenting. Can’t we just say “parenting”? We are all parents…parenting the way we see fit. If you feel that someone is interfering with your kids playground play can’t you just get up and come over and tell them that the child is question is yours and he doesn’t need help and if he does he knows where momma is to get it?

Joy52 4 months ago

The author here is creating a polarizing point of view. I get the feeling it’s to make herself feel better. However, like most in this post, I agree that the issue is not so cut and dry. Some moms like being around because their presence wards off any potential threats (i.e: perverts at the park). Moms who are too lax miss their children misbehaving in anyway or are in danger (playing in the wrong area).

I for one appreciate moms who actually pay attention to their kids. It’s just do much more considerate.

Kristy 4 months ago

Your SIL has one and you have four. You might not remember how it feels to have one child and even if you do, her feelings might not be the same. You don’t know her child like she does and how it feels for her. She might have tried the sit back and watch and he wasn’t ready for that. He might not currently have confidence because he has misjudge his own abilities in the past and is currently a little unsure and needs encouragement just to try again! Not all kids readily pick themselves up and try again after a scare. Hoovering parent or not, some kids would just not bother with the monkey bars again without some encouragement if they have a bad experience. You mentione he got hurt, even with her right there, but maybe not because she hoovers, but perhaps simply because her son is not as coordinated as yours are…maybe they haven’t had as much time and experience as you and your boys have had at the park? Maybe he is just a unique child that is prone to accidents. Maybe she was ok with him playing on his own…until he got hurt and someone commented that she should have been right there. Some will shame for not hoovering and some will shame for hoovering…we need to stop shaming either one and try to understand different people have different needs. And please understand that a women who is nervous about your child’s safety may just CARE about you and them! They might not be automatically judging you. They may have seen a child fall. I know I have and it was very scary and I wish I could have done something to prevent it. There was blood and I don’t know the outcome…If a mom sits back, says nothing and does nothing, because it’s not her business and then something happens (even if it’s to someone else’s child) she will feel awful… Be understanding Ladies. Be supportive. Be kind. We are all in this together (or at least we should be).

Bri 4 months ago

I read these articles to prepare me for when I decide to become a parent. Often times they are very insightful about what to expect from people and parents around you. Most of the time the advice i generally see is don’t judge and don’t shame others for their parenting style. But I’m really disappointed with this one. This one is literally inciting a war between the parenting styles. I’m sorry you feel that way about helicopter mom’s but when I’m at the park with my niece I hover. The reason I do this is because I want to have good memories with her and know that we both had fun interacting with each other. I don’t help her at every twist and turn but I make sure she knows I’m right there watching her. She loves it. All the confidence she has and the constant “watch this Birtney!” We celebrate all her little triumphs as she graduates to bigger equipment. You can judge me for being there and enjoying my time with my niece. But I won’t judge you for hanging back. You actually have kids you get to spend time with at home and often times kids don’t want their parents interfering when they are with new friends, that’s how I was as a kid. My niece I only get to see so often. I love when I’m asked to babysit. This kid is super fun! And you know what I wouldn’t trade these moments for the world. Except for when she falls asleep on the car ride home. The maneuvering it takes to get her out of the car and into her bed without waking her is ridiculous. But hey parents love it when she is worn out by the time she comes home. Then again, that is part of the agreement, I can give her some candy but only if I don’t send her home hyped up.

Chantelle 4 months ago

I think this is so rude. Parents have a right to parent however they see fit. I’m tired of these stupid stereotypical articles complaining about parenting types. Be happy that people actually ARE parenting and actively engaging with their children. Until you experience everything a person goes through you have no right to judge them and write stupid articles about what you think you know about them. Just garbage.

Wendy Way 4 months ago

I have to disagree with your advocacy of non-parenting “I am not there to parent” attitude. My daughter in her younger years suffered 3 concussions and whiplash during school trips to the park when the teachers felt more like gossiping with each other than actually ensuring the kids followed playground rules. Yep you guessed it, 3 trips to the ER and I am very familiar with CAT scan procedures. I have also taken my still elementary son to the park where parents easily watch their young attempt to beat on stranger’s children with toys, sticks, or throw rocks while the sit on the picnic tables and don’t say a word. Ummm…their kids are budding if not full blown bullies who are apparently on the fast track to future charges involving some violent act (assault, domestic violence) with the apparent full approval of parents who don’t want to correct their kids at the park. With all due respect, and I do understand allowing kids to explore, if you are taking a break from parenting and don’t want to enforce playground rules which apply to your kids too, please keep them home. I have no problem getting those parents off the picnic table bench to go take control of the product of their parenting style before they put someone else’s kid in the hospital. It is wrong to mommy shame parents who actually want to play with their kids at the park when you freely admit that you are there to visit your friends and not parent.

Jennifer Morasch 4 months ago

Parenting toddlers or children under 5 from a picnic table – which is typically situated a couple of hundred feet away from the actual playground structure – is straight up lazy parenting. I’ve ‘saved’ several little children from potential concussions, broken limbs and possibly death while women like you sit in judgment of me – chatting – while I take care of your child. Here’s a tip … you can still teach your child independence, autonomy, self management and all the other silly terms moms like you are padding your laziness with while hanging out about 10 feet from them. I have three grown kids who are very independent and successful adults who I did just that with. Get up off your butt and parent your babies… invite your friends to hang out closer to all your children …I bet you won’t feel so guilty and inspired to write an article like the one I just read.

KJD 4 months ago

I agree and it is all about balance. However, after the playground death of a 6-year old who I knew and loved, my view is clearer. And, in working with local police and conducting “Playground Safety” seminars, a few pieces of research stand out (think of it as a triangle). #1–Kids will be kids. They will do things that are beyond their ability and developmental level. In certain aspects, this may help develop independence, however, there is a sizable percentage that results in serious injury. #2–Use of playground equipment in incorrect ways is a major cause of serious (ie. hospitalization/ER trip) injury. #3–Lack of parental/adult supervision is a major contributing cause to playground-related injury. When that triangle combines and all three pieces are at play, the consequences are devastating. Absolutely devastating. And, I refuse to be the person that stands back and allows another child to die. Label it however you choose. I would rather carry the label and not be walking alongside the casket of a 6-year old who happened to have those 3 pieces combine and result in horrific consequence.

There is a balance between hovering a not paying attention. I can let my children explore while watching…I can hold my cup of coffee and talk with a friend–who knows that I am not being rude by not making eye contact as we chat because my eyes are watching my children. That is my balance. There is enough decisiveness out there without judging how parents choose to parent at playgrounds.

Karen 4 months ago

I haven’t read any of the other comments here but maybe that ‘helicopter’ mom is just looking out for the child? Unfortunately today there are a lot of parents who really don’t pay ENOUGH attention to their children – no they won’t die if they fall off or take a tumble and there is an excessive-ness to both parents, but wouldn’t you rather be happy that that mom is actually caring enough to help? The judging part sucks and would bother me too – but I really think we can’t hate people who CARE? When my parents were younger everyone seemed to help each other out – discipline another child when they are doing something wrong, helping them along when mom’s maybe not paying attention — what is wrong with that? I think it’s fair for others’ to help each other out sometimes as long as they aren’t judging you – maybe your perspective might change if you knew they were just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts?

Sheryl 4 months ago

I am a “helicopter mom” because I have to be. My son has life threatening allergies and asthma. I am close by with the epipen and the inhaler. Another child with fingers sticky with peanut butter could mean my child’s death… Also, the term “helicopter mom” is a stupid label with the result of creating more mommy wars. Why can’t we stop being so judgemental and be part of the mutally supportive village that it takes to raise a child?

Rodrigo 4 months ago

I can’t stand this mentality, if you have kids then it is you duty to take care of them as they are made of glass. After all it is a human life here we are talking about not a hampster or a goldfish. When you don’t and something serious happenes then what? I praise parents who do that, it’s only out of love! All helicopter moms, God loves you for that. Park time is for you kids not for you to talk your life away while they play far away with God knows what and who and danger could be seconds away. Be responsible so when your kids are older you don’t have to ask yourself, why don’t they love me or give me any attention? Oh North America! I remember a few years ago when moms thought it was good to let they babies cry there heads off. So sad!

Jennifer 4 months ago

Not a fan of all the parental judging going on here.

Kelly 4 months ago

While I agree that the park should be a place for kids to find freedom in testing their physical boundaries, I feel as though this post is just another post that pits one “type of mom” against another. So sad really, that this kind of adult to adult bullying is promoted on a social media platform. I only have one child and sometimes he and I are the only ones in the park, so yes, I play WITH him, ON the jungle gym, up the stairs and down the slide, and yes I do discourage throwing mulch or gravel because even if we are alone, I don’t want him to think it’s okay to do when someone is standing next to him & could accidentally get hurt while he’s feeling that freedom! He loves it when I play with him at the park, chasing him around and pushing him on the swing. I can’t imagine how lame I would feel sitting like a bump on a log saying, “No, do it yourself, because I don’t want the other mom’s sitting around to judge me for being an actively involved mom.” This is stupid. You want to sit and knit? You go for it. I want my kids to remember me as the mom who wasn’t afraid to get grass stains on her pants playing lions in the grass or helping him and his friends up to the very tippy top of the tower.

A.J. 4 months ago

Yep, I agree!

A.J. 4 months ago

Nicely said!

Dawn 4 months ago

I absolutely love, LOVE, LOVE this article! I have seen these parents in action and all the while yelling,” You are not allowed to climb up the slide!” Even though there is no one on the slide….
I love my son, but helicopter mom I am not!

A.J. 4 months ago

Wow, I thought this article was so off base. I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one. I’m not advocating helicopter parenting, but since when is it a crime to play with your kids at the park or otherwise? In fact I’m reading an interesting book that proclaims adults playing with their kids to be the cure to all sorts of family ills! He even discusses actually getting on play structures when his daughter was little. Anyways, I’m glad that author is getting in some precious “me” time, but let others do what’s best for their kids and not JUDGE them. I feel like she wrote this article because she was feeling judged for her parenting method, but in turn judges other parents for what they do. She’s complaining of these mothers giving her the “stinkeye”, but I can only imagine (from the tone of this article) what kind of looks her and her friends are giving those mothers! Also, what’s wrong with following rules, especially in public? Surely, the author’s children have rules that they are asked to follow at home? Yes, if my son is trying to go down the slide and your son wants to climb up it, your son is in the wrong. You should help him understand that the park is a public place and he needs to share the play equipment with others. I don’t understand the mentality that teaching your children to be respectful of others is a bad thing? When I say others, that means strangers too. I find the world becoming such a hateful, judgmental place and it gets tiring. Yes, I agree kids need freedom to learn and test limits, but using that as an excuse to let your kids be rude and bratty or because you’re having a bad day and just don’t want to be bothered – is not acceptable. Honestly, without actually knowing her, the author sounds like a snob in this particular article and THOSE are the parents that ruin my day at the park. Just saying.

stephanie 4 months ago

I agree with some things in this article, but not all. I don’t hover, I sit on a bench and crochet or talk to other mom’s, but I do step in when I feel there is a need. For example, I do not let my kids throw rocks, play with sticks or climb up the slide at the park. At home when it is just them that is fine, but not at the park. When at the park or public places I want my children to learn concideration for others. This is why I also tell them to be careful of the younger babies when running around at the park. My reason for going to the park is to give my kids a chance to interact with and learn concideration for people they don’t know.

Arin 4 months ago

I totally agree with you. Didn’t like this article at all. It was just giving people excuses to be bad parents.

Alicia 4 months ago

Because you respect your fellow moms and their kids. You sound exactly like me at the park and I’ve done all those things you’ve mentioned above. A little common sense and compassion goes a long way and clearly lady, you’ve got it!

Arin 4 months ago

Amen!

Arin 4 months ago

I love talking to my friends at the park but I hate it when mom’s zone out. This author is nuts to think you can take your kids somewhere and get a break from parenting. You don’t have to hover but you should definitely tune in. I think it’s super rude when parents pay no attention while their kids are climbing up the slide preventing anyone else from going down and throwing wood chips at my kids. If mom’s want a break at the park then bring a babysitter. And shame on this author for mocking those that would (gasp) play with their children at the park. I’ve definitely been the mom in the shade on my phone, but I also look up to made sure my kids are safe and courteous. And if they want a push on the swing, I may moan about it but I get off my lazy butt and push them.

Tamara C 4 months ago

Do you, Boo. You write your own rule book on parenting. If you love your kid, you’re already off to a great start. All the labels and bitchy blog posts are irrelevant in the real world of parenting. Do. You.

Alicia 4 months ago

You’re joking right?! Not to burst your bubble wrap, but sticks and pine cones are everywhere. It’s called nature. That includes a playground.

Tamara C 4 months ago

Rule #1 of Mommy Wars:

I think you’re judging me. So, I’ma go ahead and judge the SHIT outta you. But, it’s totally different when *I* do it because you started it. I think. I mean, probably. You totally sorta looked at me in a way I didn’t like. So, yeah.

Naomi 4 months ago

I guess I’m kind of a helicopter mom, but it’s something I’m working on! Also I would never stink eye someone for letting their kid play just because I’m not comfortable enough yet to let mine just go at it! Not saying it doesn’t happen, just glad that’s not one of my personal challenges to overcome! I only have one kid right now and he’s 2. I’ve started taking him to the park now that the weather is getting nice and I try to just let him play, but he has no fear at all, so he scares the crap outta me trying to do what he sees the bigger kids doing! He also will come running at me and demand that I play with him which is fun and exhausting, so i’m trying to train us both to have him play on his own or with other kids. I sometimes manage to sit for a minute or so before getting up. My goal is to make it a whole park visit only getting up if he’s in real danger or starts crying lol. It might happen before he’s 20 right?!

Tamara C 4 months ago

Those women sound like Grade A Bitches. Those come in all forms: Helicopter, Granola, Bottle Feeder, Breast Feeder, SAHM, Career Mamas. You got a taste of the Helicopter brand. Which sucks, but not all Helicopter Moms are created equal. Some might have worked years, decades for a baby, had countless miscarriages, terrible complications carrying and delivering just this one now on the playground, and so they guard that precious thing for all it’s worth.

You were a Mama out there doing your best. Some if them were doing the same. You just got lucky and happened upon a gaggle of Roving Bitch Mamas. They’re the worst, regardless of what belief system they subscribe to.

Tamara C 4 months ago

Boom. Yes. We (my husband and I) don’t hover, but if our 7 year old is breaking playground code, we speak up. Not really so she wont get hurt. So, she understands there are rules. When we’re home or at a friend’s house, she gets full fledged freedom to attempt a million different ways to cause herself bodily harm (within reason…no running with scissors nor playing with fire). But, out there, she’s gotta learn to reel it in. Because everyone else is there to have fun and explore too. Not just her.

Rose 4 months ago

In my experience, the parents that are ignoring their toddlers or preschoolers to play on their phone or hang with their buds, often have kids who have not figured out not to hit, how to take turns or to share. Or, they do things like run in front of a swing you are pushing. Or they ask you for help because they get stuck on something… Meanwhile, there you are, trying to keep track of your own three young children, and you are forced to engage with theirs. I remember one time a little boy, he was like three, kept hitting my son, who was four. I kept telling my son not to hit him back, and asking the child to keep his hands to himself. No idea where his mom was at that point, and the kid would not listen to me at all. Finally, my son had had enough…he bonked the kid on the head… The kid ran crying to his mom…who then came to find me. I let my kids, who are now tweens, have a lot of freedom, in terms of playing outside, etc, but ignoring very young children so that you can have “Mommy time” is not free range parenting…it is being lazy.

Tamara C 4 months ago

Oh, look. Another Mommy vs Mommy blog post. It’s like breastfeeding vs bottle feeding all over again.

Way to keep the Mommy Wars going.

“I’m better than you because I’m a super relaxed Mom.”, you insinuate because you’re convinced the Helicopter Moms are thinking similar thoughts: “I’m better than you because I protect my kids.”

This is so First World Problems I’m actually a bit embarrassed.

Love,

Not A Helicopter Mom (just a mom really over Mommy War blog posts)

Katie 4 months ago

I’m a helicopter mom, but I’m getting better as my kids get older. I come to the playground to let my girls play with other kids/play with them. This is precious time with them that I’m not going to get back so I’m going to milk it for all its worth. If my girls want to play with other kids, then I’ll sit down. But I’m always watching as it is my duty as a mom to make sure that my kids stay relatively safe. I’m not going to allow my kids to fall and break bones because it will teach them a lesson, that’s just cruel. If it happens it happens, but I’m going to do my job as a parent until my kids are old enough not to need me there helping them make decisions about what is safe and what’s not. For the most part, I go to the park with my kids to spend time with them. I’m not judging anyone else, but this is the way that I parent and I think I’m doing a pretty good job if I do say so myself!

Amber 4 months ago

I think your post is totally unfair. Please don’t forget the parents that are out there because their child has special needs. You don’t know their story and hey, maybe they’d rather be sitting on the sidelines too. But, with wanting to allow my child the freedom to be independent comes the fear of her death.

Katie J 4 months ago

There is so much judgement in this post.

Why is it a bad thing all of a sudden to play with your kid(s)?

Why is it wrong to sit back and keep them in sight while chatting with someone?

Why is it bad to help a child who asks for it? Or offer to help a child stuck up in a high place or in an uncomfortable position, even if you only offer to help by asking them to point out their parent / the adult responsible for them so you can let them know their child needs help?

Flat out ignoring your child in any setting is bad. Children are just that… children. If you’re not going to play with your child on the playground, or anything the park… at least keep them in sight, and listen out for them in case they get hurt. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Sometimes I am that mom on her phone… looking up every other minute to make sure my child is where he is supposed to be, and is safe, and if there are other kids around who are smaller, that he is respecting them and no one is getting hurt.

Sometimes I am playing with my son, running around and laughing and having a good time. Though I do try to step back and stay away from the equipment if there are a lot of other children there because that equipment is not meant for me, and more than likely I’d be in their way.

If a child falls and I’m nearby, I’ll check and see if they’re okay. I won’t even say anything most of the time, just glance over and make sure they’re dusting themselves off and getting back into the fun. If they don’t get up, start crying (most caregivers recognize the “pain cry”), or are obviously struggling… I’ll make sure they get help.

If my son fell and hurt himself, and an adult was standing there, saw him, and did nothing, I’d be pissed. I’m talking fall from a high place, broken bone, potential concussion type hurt… if he’s mobile and can get to me, he will. But if he’s struggling, or has fallen and can’t / won’t get up, and someone notices AND THEN TURNS AWAY…. yeah. No.

All parenting styles should be respected. To each their own.

Ignoring your child is neglect. Keeping an eye from a safe distance is not.

Playing with your child or simply being close to them while they play isn’t “helicoptering.”

Why can’t we all agree to disagree, and let our kids learn, grow, and learn that everyone is different, and that’s okay?

Evelyn 4 months ago

I like your posts and often agree with them, but this time I agree with the commenters that are pointing out the devisiveness of this article. I am a hang back mom but sometimes my kids want more attention from me and I give it. When playing either role, I don’t think the other parents are judging me. I think that they are busy accomplishing what they came to the park for. That said, no one should pick up your kid. I would probably go mama beat over that one.

Rebecca 4 months ago

This was a very judgmental article. It made me feel bad for those parents who play with their child at the park. I don’t hover, but I do play and I will help. Now I feel like I’m going to be judged when I play with my kids. Now I feel like I won’t fit in with the “cool moms”. You ask people to leave nothing but supportive comments, yet the whole article is condescending and mean. Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down? Wow, I’m disappointed with this article.

Sarah 4 months ago

I think the main thing here that is not touched on is there are reasons for age limits on playgrounds. Our park has two areas the under 5 and the over 5. They are separated by gates. When there are really only the under 5 in the area, I love sitting on the bench, checking my phone and agree with all you said ( while keeping an eye on my child from a far enough distance to let her explore). HOWEVER–and I have seen this at many parks–the older kids come into the littler kids area, they climb up the slide, that my two year old is trying to go down–push her, tell her she can’t go down the slide, has cooties, run like crazy people and hit her and other kids and make them fall down–do run with sticks again with the littles around …etc. So I think in those cases yes I do give the moms of the older kids who don’t seem to care that there 6, 7 and 8 year olds are causing mayhem for all the younger kids in the park area they shouldn’t be in. My stink eye is more because I can’t then be the relaxed mom that wants to sit and watch her child climb and play–I have to be more alert as my kid gets hit, falls and is told she can’t do things. So that one part of your article, if you are that mom that lets your 7 year old do the above then I do not agree. While I think it is good to give your kids free reign , especially in safe areas, the park is not made for you–it is meant to be enjoyed by all and co-exist and when people act like there kid can do whatever with no regards for others…I don’t think that is “cool”.

Ashley 4 months ago

What a judgey article. Yes, I hover near my 18 month old at the playground. What business is that of yours? He is learning tons of new skills and becoming more independent every day, I’m not stopping him. I know many other mothers who HAVE had ER visits, so congratulations if you haven’t, but don’t judge me for being cautious.

calimele123 4 months ago

I’m so sick of the term “helicopter mom”. How about just “mom”? Because we play with our kids, watch our kids, interact with our kids, and enjoy being with them, we are doing it wrong? Do you know WHY “free range” kids were running around until dark having a blast when we were young? Because we used to believe in the “it’s takes a village” philosophy. Now, if I have my eye out for your kids when they are in my range, I’m nosy. In my childhood, my mom could call a parent or two and know where we were. Now, if I so much as say bless you when your kids sneezes, or stop them from running in the street, I’m hovering. Lol, people scare me.

Sweetluna 4 months ago

YES! Well said! I can’t help but feel in our attempt to “help” or “protect” our children we are in fact taking away the ability to learn self confidence, risk management, and independent thought. I’m the parent giving my son distance to let him explore his world. I’m keeping an eye to make sure he doesn’t eat something that will poison him or act stupid where he or another child could get hurt but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like hearing him scream “Noah did it!!” after trying something new on his own. He is 2.5 and he does well on any playground he goes to.

Christi 4 months ago

Yes! I never “help” a child who isn’t mine for that very reason. If a kid wants to be helped up a ladder or pushed on a swing I say, “you need to find mommy, honey.” I came to the park for my son.

Mia 4 months ago

As a child who was helicoptered back when most parents didn’t have to…I loved my time at the park where I was free to do whatever I wanted. Yes, my helicopter mom actually sat on a bench and talked with the other moms. It was one place where she actually let me have fun. If I couldn’t get up on something – on my own – then there was no risk of me not being able to get down. Helping someone’s child up on a platform is unsafe as that child will now be stuck up there.

Everywhere else she hovered. Guess what I wanted to do once I had freedom? Everything. Then I had problems making real decisions on my own. I got frustrated when mom disagreed with my major choice in college. I ended up not finishing due to lack of passion when I did what she “suggested”. Or my first real job. She actually dragged me in there and I stayed 7 years. When I finally got the courage to leave I was already 26 years old.

My mom passed away last year. Who do I call now? It’s hard to not run to the phone every time I have to make a choice. It should be great but instead it’s scary.

I helicopter on the sidewalk so my child doesn’t run in the street. I helicopter in parking lots where they can get backed over. But the park is their place. Sure I watch and worry. I fell off the monkey bars and broke my nose in 2nd grade when the playground aide whistled her whistle in my ear because I was afraid to jump down. So yes, I get the fears.

But I want my child NOT to be afraid to jump down. How will they learn if I constantly lift them up? What happens when that whistle is blown in their ear? Do they fall like I did or simply jump down and go inside?

Tiffany 4 months ago

Honestly, I think most people just try to do their best at the time. I fully believe in self sufficiency and free play. However, I don’t believe in letting your kids run crazy and misbehave. So while you may think it’s “freedom from parenting”, I believe it’s lazy parenting and letting kids do what they please. Not my cup of tea. If your going to have kids raise them all the time not just when you feel like it or when it’s convenient.

Noemi 4 months ago

I’m glad you clarified that you make your kids wait til there’s no line before attempting to climb up the slide. Doing it when another kid is waiting at the top to slide down is a dick move.

“park ranger” 4 months ago

When you only see your kid for a handful of minutes every night before bedtime, you play at the park if you get to go! And I do hover because my daughter is an only child and she has trouble with social stuff. I don’t care what she climbs! I know a lot of my friends go to the park to get a break. We don’t hold it against each other that we use the park differently.

Lauren 4 months ago

I just wanted to add my own perspective as someone who may sometimes be perceived as a “hoverer”. I teach 4K, and as such am trained to be constantly hypervigilant to protect and guide a group full of someone else’s kids (not my own to make judgment calls about their safety). They run and climb and trip and fall and take risks, and do things that all 4 year olds need to do to learn and grow and develop gross motor skills. But as an overseer of the good of everyone on the school playground as a whole, it becomes very evident why those safety rules are so necessary. It’s for their safety yes, but also for teaching them to be a decent member of society. At home, I let my toddler climb whichever direction he pleases on the slide, but at the park I help him learn that we go down the slide. We all have to learn that in public we act for the good of the whole and not every man for himself. He will need to know it for school. He will need to know that for life. Social skills are taught, and not from across the playground. I let him run and play while I visit, but I’m also there to guide him when he takes on something too challenging to navigate alone (until he’s learned it), is dominating equipment someone is waiting for, or wants to get his dump truck back from someone else.

Carolyn 4 months ago

well said. I have 3 boys, and I TOTALLY get it.

jugglemom 4 months ago

Sorry but as much as you don’t like to be judged for your parenting choices the article is laden with judgment! Yes it is rude for the stinkeye but it is also rude to leave it to another parent who came to play with thier kid (which also has great value for development) to have to take on your child (who has invted themself as kids do)too. Stop the parent shaming.

April 4 months ago

Agree with Kathleen…felt like this article was more judging the Mom’s for playing with their kids at the park. I’m a working Mom and sometimes I interact with my kids at the playground because I haven’t seen them all day or because I enjoy their company, not to judge other parents for not, and I shouldn’t be judged for that either. Or if there is a child that is particularly rough there, I stay closer so that my 2 year old doesn’t get shoved off the 6 foot platform…guess that makes me a hoverer? Maybe the hoverers are anxious Moms like me? You are judging just like the Moms you are complaining about…we all have our own stories and journeys. Just send out love to the moms…we are all doing the best we can.

vickie maskell 4 months ago

I took my kids to the park a lot. I watched them and yes they fell down, skinned knees etc…kissed the boo boo and it was all better. One daughter was running, fell and broke her arm…that’s life. I didn’t sue anyone. I let my kids be kids. The good, the bad and sometimes painful. Oh, yes I was one of the mom’s that let their kid climb up the slide if there wasn’t a line up. I can still remember the fun I had doing that. I also taught my girls to climb trees. Everything is a learning experience for a little one. They need to explore and discover their own way of doing things and solving issues. Everything is a learning experience.

Laura 4 months ago

I will never forget April 2002…. I had given birth to twins in December….preemies who spent a month in the hospital…..they were born during flu season, so doctors told me to keep them at home until late April…..then they told me I could take them to parks and MxDonalds, but not during rush times. I took my newly 3 year old son to McDonalds for the first time in 4 1/2 months…..there were a few kids in the playground room, so I sat at the table by the door inside the main restaurant that went to the playground…..My girls were in a double stroller with apnea machines….and a nice elderly lady began talking to me. My son was sooooo excited to be playing with other kids that he was running around in circles screeching with glee. Within 5 minutes, another mom sticks her head out the door and says, ” is that boy yours?” I nodded yes and she said, ” well, your kid is in there terrorizing the other kids and you are sitting out here not doing anything about it.” He wasn’t terrorizing anyone…..I was watching him….he was just running and being loud. In tears, I collected my son while the elderly lady went in there and gave those moms a piece of her mind….telling them they had no idea why I was just outside the playroom. My son is 16 now, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Isolde 4 months ago

Holy cow, lady! That is completely uncalled for! I can tell you, sometimes those Nannies love the kids more than the absent parents! The world has all kinds and you don’t know her, or what kind of person she is. Judging by her comment, she’s a great person and a fantastic care giver, so I’m not sure where you get off with your comment.

Hollimum 4 months ago

Um, has anyone stopped and realized that we’re all different… as adults and as children. That there are so many different ways of doing things, different personalities, different opinions. With exceptions (of course) most mothers are just trying to do their best, whatever their methods. We need to stop judging other mums. Live and let live.

ketchup 4 months ago

Wow. That was completely out of line. She sounds very sensible. You sound mean and very rude!

Renae Wood 4 months ago

I never try to judge other moms. You don’t know what they have been through and what they are coping with. As a “helicopter” mom, I know from personal experience. I had several miscarriages including a really tough late one. You feel like you could not protect them then so you overcompensate once you finally have a live birth. Lots of other moms have fertility issues or lost kids. So I never judge. Their concern is generally well meaning and not a judgement on your parenting.

Mamacita 4 months ago

@ Chris

Because our children are not baby chicks. Each species parents differently.

Baby kangaroos are kept in their mother’s pouch until they are ready to explore on their own. Baby birds get pushed out of the nest if they’re weak and didn’t learn to fly. Mice eat their young if they are disabled or have too large of a litter. Good thing that we don’t take cues from nature, otherwise our children would be eaten, or pushed out of a window, or stuffed back inside our vaginas until they are ready to explore.

It all comes down to culture. Perhaps you could study anthropology, and learn about all the different methods worldwide when it comes to child rearing.

To each his own. We’re not animals, we are humans. My children are not baby chicks, so that is why I will not let them climb on things too high for them without being there to catch them, or why I helped my 15 month old up the slide stairs until he was physically able to navigate it alone (that only took a few weeks and a few falls off the slide even though I was right there). I’m not taking any experiences away from him.

Crocodile Tears 4 months ago

What are you, nuts? Of course I watch my kids closely on the playground! Id rather be safe then sorry. The only time I care what any other kid is doing is if they’re effecting my kids. Not too mention that the playground can be dangerous. My 6 year old fell off the toddler slide and broke his arm last year at school. I wish someone would have kept a close enough eye on him to see that coming. Oh and by the way, the kids who’s mom’s are off chit chatting and discussing last night’s episode of dancing with the stars are usually the kids who are cutting in line to go down the slide, and rushing through the playground knocking the smaller kids down. Forgive me for disturbing you by watching my child’s on the playground. It’s called being reasonable.

Mamacita 4 months ago

Haha, totally!

Also, you have parks with merry go rounds?! I live in Canada and the city I live in banned merry go rounds and took them out of all the parks. :( Can’t say I disagree, I myself sustained and saw way too many injuries on them. But I still miss them.

Sarah 4 months ago

If I wanted to sit in the shade and talk with other Mums I would be at home in my kitchen on Facebook. I take the kids to the park to play, because I want to play. No I don’t want to talk about your mortgage or TV that’s what the work break room is for, the park is for running jumping climbing singing dancing and interacting. Swings are for 0pushing, merry go round’s for turning, these are designed for us all to play. I let my child run and play with other children if they want, but if the park is empty we don’t go home, we play, that’s what its for. I agree don’t hover round my child its creepy, but I don’t want to sit in the shade either. If you want me I will be at the top of the slide.

Mamacita 4 months ago

@ Chris

Because our children are not baby chicks. Each species parents differently.

Baby kangaroos are kept in their mother’s pouch until they are ready to explore on their own. Baby birds get pushed out of the nest if they’re weak and didn’t learn to fly. Mice eat their young if they are disabled or have too large of a litter. Good thing that we don’t take cues from nature, otherwise our children would be eaten, or pushed out of a window, or stuffed back inside our vaginas until they are ready to explore.

It all comes down to culture. Perhaps you could study anthropology, and learn about all the different methods worldwide when it comes to child rearing.

To each his own. We’re not animals, we are humans. My children are not baby chicks, so that is why I will not let them climb on things too high for them without being there to catch them, or why I helped my 15 month old up the slide stairs until he was physically able to navigate it alone (that only took a few weeks and a few falls off the slide even though I was right there). I’m not taking any experiences away from him.

Tara 4 months ago

I found this article to be full of prejudice, and therefore offensive. I agree with many other mothers who have commented. I have two children, 4.5 years and 2 years. I have to set guidelines on the very active (and fast) older child so that I can keep a watchful eye on him and his younger sister, who interacts with the playground with great intent and brutish strength. I have to be present because she will climb the very tall rock wall intended for kids 3x her age, and successfully mostly. But I am not about to risk serious injury to my child because other mothers smugly unaware act like we should “cut the cord.” Parenting styles are like political beliefs – differences are fine as long as you don’t try to use yours to control or change mine.

freya 4 months ago

Well said!

Sara 4 months ago

Wow. I can’t believe how stressed moms get about other mothers’ parenting. Really we all have no idea what another person’s child is or is not capable of, or what they have been thru. For example, I stand fairly close to my two year old when she is on playground equipment, some modern moms would call me a hoverer. However, I am cautious because she once fell from a 6ft slide and got a gouge on the back of her head and had to go to ER and get put under with Ketamine (don’t know the spelling, all I know is that is horrible to see your kid look like they are dead and twitch uncontrollably) Then she got a CT scan to see if she had a skull fracture. Not a fun day, but fortunately she didn’t end up with brain damage or any cracks. This playground incident all happened while I had my head turned for maybe 5 seconds, and she followed her older sister up the ladder of a metal swivel slide and then fell down thru the middle of it, whacking her head on a bar as she fell and then landing on a rough area at the bottom. I’m pretty sure she could have died, or broken her neck, if her fall had been different. So yes, I’m cautious, but as I see her develop her capabilities more I give her more freedom. I think it is great for kids to explore, and learn how to use playground equipment in a safe way, and safe is different for different people. While I don’t endorse living in fear and constant anxiety or never letting kids venture on their own on playground equipment, if some parents feel the need to be near their child, then really that is between them and their child. My five year old still needs help on some playground ladders, and will call me to help him. He got stuck on an angle ladder the other day and called me over in a panic because he was scared he would fall. I coached him on where to put his feet, etc. and made him do it himself, while I stood by and talked him through it, There were two MOMS laughing at him when he called me – laughing that a kid his age needed help. I felt like punching them. My son has autism, and just getting him to STAY at a playground where there are other kids has been a monumental breakthru for him and taken a huge amount of work. He doesn’t need grown ups laughing because he needs help with something. Also, I sometimes have to hover with him, is it because I’m scared of him getting hurt? A little, but mainly it is because I’m scared of him hurting YOUR child and you being pissed off they got sand in their eye, or a pinecone thrown at them, or a whole host of other things he might impulsively do because he doesn’t understand how to be. (Obviously I’m working with him on this stuff) The things is, he looks normal, and so people just think I’m a bad mom or he’s an insensitive little boy, and they don’t know the whole story. So when it’s tempting to judge people just remember you have absolutely no idea what their life is like, or what their child is like, or what has happened to their child in the past on playgrounds.

Beverly 4 months ago

I work in an ER and I also care for injured children. Accidents happen and it is unwise to skip all precautions. That being said, the author is not talking about really small children, she specifically mentions 6 year olds. A six year old should be able to hold their own on a playground. A six year old who can not handle his or her self on a playground probably should have been seeing you for PT long before the accident.

Tamar 4 months ago

When you live in a big city like NYC esp., you need to be close-by. Maybe not “hovering” but def in close proximity. Too many weirdos. I remember one time I was playing at the playground of the MET when I was 8. My parents were the laid-back type and just let me play. Some “guy,” I don’t know, didn’t seem much older than I, maybe a teenager, was asking all kinds of personal questions and then asked if I wanted to “go out w him sometime”. I was only 8!!! He told me he would wait at the gate for my reply. He was waiting there when we left. Did I mention I was only 8! I remember the incident to this day. It made me very uncomfortable. I could have been abducted and my parents wouldn’t have noticed!
When I was 6 I fell from an apparatus and broke my foot in Washington Square Park. My mother was right there, but wasn’t paying attention and was talking to another parent. This was back in the late ’70’s and I don’t think they had rubber mats. That was the first and last broken bone I ever had.
Not all city playgrounds are so safe and well maintained. Many things are broken. Paint chipped, warped or no mats, worn. Lots of glass bottles and litter. Pollution infused dirt. Pigeon pooped. Drunken visitors. Kids smoking drugs. Not your “safest” of environments.
I see those parents who just let their kids be completely unattended, and it’s scary! I also see those parents who make all their kids “share” and that’s scary too.
My son enjoys an adult family member or friend to play w him. It’s a nice bonding experience. But for the most part, he’s there to socialize w other kids, so that’s important too.

Heather 4 months ago

I second that gratitude!

Heather 4 months ago

If you were to “psst” at me or tell my little one to sit down and be careful, I would roll my eyes…..at myself for not seeing my suicidal tot attempting stuntman-level tricks, at said tot for doing what she knows she shouldn’t, and again at myself for not switching carts because the seat belt in this one doesn’t buckle. I’d then tell my young lady to sit down right now and give you a polite smile and thank you. Thank you!

Heather 4 months ago

I did not sense any snark in her comments. I believe she was using that phrase with intentions of meaning the non-hovering mamas, in addition to being witty and referencing the authors original piece.

Jessika 4 months ago

Bahahahaaa! No doubt!

Jessika 4 months ago

Amen! I won’t help another child to do something that is clearly out of their bounds, but I would help a child in trouble if they asked for it. I’m not going to hover underneath your child if I see them balancing on the edge of a ledge, but I will be ready to help them should they fall and their parent is too preoccupied to notice.

My little 18 mo old also gets creamed at the park by the older kids just not watching where they are going, and I accept that happens. But if some kid pushed mine off a slide or did something just to hurt him and the kid’s parent isn’t there to discipline them, you best bet I will tell them what they did was wrong and to go see their Mother.

If these Moms want to let their kids run free and break their bones then fine, it’s not my job to parent them. But if your child hurts mine on purpose and you are too busy to discipline them or just don’t care, damn right I’m going to say something, to both you and your child.

Totally agree that there is a balance between supervising and hovering.

Sara 4 months ago

I thought I would agree with this post more than I did. I’m definitely a “let kids learn, scrape their knees, get dirty & try hard things” kind of mom. BUT each of my kids have had very different personalities and therefore, needs. My oldest son wouldn’t have tried anything new, EVER. So I was by him A LOT. I pushed him to do things and let him cry instead of doing things for him (as I stood nearby) to encourage him to do it himself. And I’ve dealt with very judgmental remarks. My toddler now would run off the 12 ft platform full speed if I didn’t keep a very close eye. I LOVE his dare devil, adventurous personality. But he certainly doesn’t yet know how to avoid literally killing himself. I don’t pick him up the big ledges/steps. And I let him fly off the bottom of the slide. But there are also a lot of selfish, disengaged parents out there, free range parenting is not an excuse to “check out”. I’ve even caught a 3 yr old that had been climbing on the outside of the twirly tube slide….got to the top, stood up and lost his balance. The kid fell over 10′ and jacked up my shoulder. But at least he didn’t die. Mom was too busy on her phone to notice.

The “don’t judge me” attitude at both extremes is short sighted and immature. Gray area people….freaking gray area.

Heather 4 months ago

As a toddler mom, I wish every parent taught their children how to play with younger or smaller kiddos. Kudos, mama!

Juanita 4 months ago

OMG, your comment about the Mom drinking wine from a thermos……. I don’t drink wine much, and certainly would never do it during the day with my child, but I do take my thermos/mug to the park with my coffee in it. I LOVE taking my travel mug of coffee to the park and sip from it while I push my son on the swing.

Now I’m going to be all paranoid when I sip from it and bet people will think I’m drinking wine! 😀

P.Williams 4 months ago

My son hasn’t had a broken bone YET, but that is only by the grace of God. I agree with you that they were likely always risk takers and would have been no matter what type of parent they had. I have a picture of my son when he was tiny (less than 18 months) and he is standing on his bounce and spin zebra, yes bouncing. At 2 1/2 we had to have our roof fixed after a hail storm. The roofer came over and he and daddy climbed the ladder, by the time I rounded the corner my son was climbing on the roof too. Around the time he was going to turn 6 he scaled between 2 walls (spider climb) ninja style to reach the ceiling. Then he requested that we hang a rope from the beam across the 16′ peak in our ceiling so he could practice climbing up there. Those are just a few of the things he’s done that made my heart skip a beat. Yes I hover some but he is my only child and he has no fear at all. I am not trying to stop him from experiencing life, I’m just trying to make sure that he makes it through life without a major life altering injury if at all possible. I didn’t stop him from climbing the walls but I taught him to land the right way if he falls. Not that he could still get hurt. I make him wear a helmet when we sled. But I’ve known 2 kids who had head injuries while doing it. Head injuries are nothing to mess around with. Maybe a few of these moms could use a good healthy dose of reality. If they saw and heard some of the things that happen to more kids then they realize they might not be so judgmental of parents who are trying to care for their child the best they know how. And like some of the others said I also enjoy playing with my child sometimes. So if he wants to swing and asks I push him on the swing instead of ignoring him. (Well not so much anymore since he can do it himself.) If he wants to play on the see-saw and no one is there to sit on the other side I will stop what I’m doing and spend a few precious moments with him. Sometimes other kids will come over and get on and that’s OK too.

Juanita 4 months ago

“Join us on the bench, we’re a friendly bunch,” says the author…. are you f**king kidding me?

This article makes you sound like a total judgmental you-know-what, and I would NEVER want to join anybody like YOU on the bench.

I’d rather jump off a platform too big for me and break my own legs.

Missy 4 months ago

Wow, I usually like most articles on Scary Mommy, but this one was too snarky to be believed. I really resent that there are any websites that post rude articles like this, where the entire point of the post is to judge other Moms and use the opportunity to tear down anybody who the author thinks is parenting the “wrong way”.

Get off your high horses, ladies. You’re not doing a better job at being a parent. Stop judging other Moms, we’re all just trying to do what’s best for our children. I am so sick of hearing stuff like this. Lately I’ve seen more and more articles on here that are just plain disrespectful and aimed at shaming other Moms, and it’s really quite pathetic. These Moms that write the articles or make nasty comments on them should put more time and energy into raising their own families, and stop prying so much into other people’s business. I feel pity for them, and hope their negative attitudes don’t rub off on their own children.

Normally I don’t comment on articles like this, or even read them through if they make me angry, but this one just left a sour taste in my mouth.

Formula or breast milk, baby wearing or playpens, sleep training or co-sleeping, stay at home or working mom, organic food or kraft dinner who EFFING cares?! As long as your child is safe, loved and taken care of, it is nobody else’s damn business how you are raising them.

You don’t like the way I parent my child at the park? Too bad. It’s a public place. I’m not judging you, so you mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.

** You know what Moms, we’re all doing a damn good job. If you love your kids and only want to do what you feel is best for them, then you are a good Mom. Eff this article and be damned with all the snarky comments, they do not matter. All that matters is that you raise your child how YOU feel is right. Screw everybody else, and screw all this Mommy shaming BS!!!! **

Also, I think it’s ironic that it says above the comments “The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn’t add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don’t be a dick, please.” ……. But yet the authors of pieces like this are being total dicks.

Articles like this are not “built on support”. They are built on shame, guilt and ignorance. Maybe time for Scary Mommy to rethink some of the articles it posts? …….

Shenelta 4 months ago

@ Elizabeth, the author of this piece:

Your article is arrogant and totally unnecessary. On your web bio you claim you are a “crunchy (granola) Mom” who “believes in babywearing”. Good for you. Guess what? I’m not, and I don’t give a flying crap. I don’t care that you are, and I don’t care that I’m not.

I don’t judge you for believing in what you believe in, so don’t you judge me and don’t you dare tell me that I’m “ruining it for everybody else”.

I’m not even a “helicopter” parent, or a “free range” parent. I am my own person, and I don’t fall into whatever labels people like you create or perpetutate.

Maybe instead of shaming other Moms to make yourself feel superior you should spend more time being a role model that your kids can be proud of, instead of writing articles specifically designed to berate other people. That’s just arrogant and judgemental.

What great lessons to be teaching your little ones…..

dad 4 months ago

mamma mommie mom. Are you guys all, like, artificially inseminated or something? Where are the dads? Either not there, or ignored by both the helicopter moms and the clique of chatty kathies on the picnic table. Or, worst of all, receiving the “potential child abductor” stink eye by both mamma types — because “why the f- is a man on the playground in the middle of the day anyway?”

P.Williams 4 months ago

Perfectly said. I won’t help another child up, but I will help one down if they ask or look stranded. I will also tell the kid being a brat or doing something dangerous that it’s not allowed. This mom talked about sticks and throwing pinecones. Sticks do not belong where a child can fall and impale themselves. EVER! It’s insane that any parent doesn’t realize how extremely dangerous sticks on a playground are. As for throwing things. I’ve seen how that goes too. Your kid starts throwing pinecones at a tree and little Johnny thinks it’s funny to throw them at other kids. Then another kid decides that since no one is stopping it it’s OK to throw things and he picks up a rock and throws it. Then some other poor kid gets hit in the head and needs stitches. Some rules are important. Even if it was a pinecone if it hit a child in the eye it could blind them. When you are on the playground you might know that your kids know the rules or how to play safely but their actions are influencing a lot of other kids who might not have the same common sense or impulse control. It’s one reason that when my son plays on the playground with younger kids he has different rules than when it’s just older kids.

Kelsey 4 months ago

I’m in my 20’s and yes you will find me playing one the park facilities with my tot! Hey, if your kid asks me for help you can stink eye away because he/she will get it. :) There is way to much judgment on fellow moms. Just because you like sitting with your mom friends doesn’t mean we ALL do. Some of us actually like to play with our kids instead of sitting on the bench. We all have our different parenting styles and that’s okay!

You’re not nice 4 months ago

I’ve only seen two blogs from Scary Mommy and I have to say you are the one ruining it for everyone. (Do I sound like you? I’m mimicking the feelnof your cry baby rant) Feeling guilty about sitting on your butt doesn’t mean everyone else thinks you’re a bad mom for not helping your kid. Kids ask for help. Maybe another person should say go ask your mom but then maybe you’d write a sorry excuse for a blog about that too because the parkbis where you need things to be about you and your friends. The slide is made for sliding that’s why it’s called a slide. We all know kids climb up but it’s rude and unfair when other little ones are trying to have a turn and the kid who went down goes to climbing back up, etc when other kids want to SLIDE down. Not to mention if your kid gets kicked in the face then I’m sure we’d all have to endure another session of your whining and complaining. We parent every where even at the park. You should not expect people to parent like you or not parent at all. Teaching your child to be considerate of others is a thing that will be valuable in life. Also, who would want to join you? Seriously? Wah wah wah. Not to mention you’re giving the proverbial stink eye yourself. Yes we’ll join you on the beach so you can gossip about us all as we leave. I have a word to describe you but I won’t use it. I should though based on the previous blog I read you enjoy hurling profanity. What a waste! Get a new hobby.

P.Williams 4 months ago

Perfectly said. I won’t help another child up, but I will help one down if they ask or look stranded. I will also tell the kid being a brat or doing something dangerous that it’s not allowed. This mom talked about sticks and throwing pinecones. Sticks do not belong where a child can fall and impale themselves. EVER! It’s insane that any parent doesn’t realize how extremely dangerous sticks on a playground are. As for throwing things. I’ve seen how that goes too. Your kid starts throwing pinecones at a tree and little Johnny thinks it’s funny to throw them at other kids. Then another kid decides that since no one is stopping it it’s OK to throw things and he picks up a rock and throws it. Then some other poor kid gets hit in the head and needs stitches. Some rules are important. Even if it was a pinecone if it hit a child in the eye it could blind them. When you are on the playground you might know that your kids know the rules or how to play safely but their actions are influencing a lot of other kids who might not have the same common sense or impulse control. It’s one reason that when my son plays on the playground with younger kids he has different rules than when it’s just older kids.

Lyssa 4 months ago

This article is ignorant, and sad. Scary Mommy, this is not a “supportive” article, as one poster pointed out – which goes against your own comments rules.

Maybe Scary Mommy needs to stop being a vehicle in this “Mom wars” mentality, and start posting more articles that ARE supportive, or that poke gentle fun at the humor of being a parent, like so many I’ve read and loved on here before.

Articles like this are totally unnessecary, and I’m disgusted with it. We all need to mind our own children and stop shaming each other.

I’m disappointed in this. Bad form, Scary Mommy. :/

Haley 4 months ago

I find this article interesting because this is just one mom’s opinion. This isn’t fact. Many of us moms think we are scientists and know that if you factor any manner of hovering in your parenting then its for sure your child will grow up dysfunctional and scared to try things on their own. None of you have done a longitudinal study to know this for sure and that’s just one side of it. Many of us moms are doing the best we can to parent how we know best. We parent based off of our knowledge and experience. Have you ever realized that the Mom on her cell phone or the Mom that helped your child feels vulnerable and inadequate already about herself and is wondering if she is actually not screwing up? The Mom who you gave the stink eye to might have grown up, experiencing trauma as a child from play ground experiences and that’s why she looks out for other children. Because she genuinely cares. The non hovers ought to be grateful I think that there are parents who don’t sit around but don’t call cps on every whim. Non hover moms should take it as an act of kindness, not an act of judgment. The hover mothers that are given the stink eye can understand that that Mom has had a very bad morning with her kids, is needing a good break,and is struggling in other areas that no one knows about. Bottom line…we all have stories and we cant afford to keep judging each other or it will ruin us. Strong women buoy each other up as they are and weak women only know how to tear down. To the premise of this article “helicopter parents ruin everything”, I beg to differ! This author came off very biased with several argument fallacies that don’t make a point very strong. Hover parents don’t ruin everything, it’s your judgment and pride that does. This goes for vice versa too. Your inability to see yourself in that person’s shoes is the problem.

P.Williams 4 months ago

Good for you! There is a great middle ground between helping your child every second and sitting there ignoring your child. And I don’t care what ANY other mommy says if you are on the playground with my child none of them are playing with sticks. Have you ever seen someone get stabbed with a stick? It could put a child’s eye out. Usually not the one who is carrying the stick. It is not “letting your child have freedom to grow” it’s freaking DANGEROUS! Kids get badly hurt all the time at on a playground with and without parents paying attention. I encourage my son to explore and I am there to “spot” him when needed. But I step back when I can. I sit with other mothers who NEVER even look over to check on their children. I’ve seen their child hit mine or other kids. Block the slide because they know that mama isn’t watching and they can get away with it. And yes I’ve seen them get hurt because they thought they were invincible. I sat with one crying injured child for almost 5 minutes while my husband searched for their oblivious mother who didn’t know her child was injured until he tracked her down busy chatting with some other mothers. I have to wonder if she would have noticed if a predator had lured her child off. I’d much rather see the hovers on the playground than the “I’m too busy doing other things to make sure that my child is playing safely and nicely.” No I’m not the one who lifted your child up, but I could very well have been the one trying to make sure he didn’t fall from the monkey bars. By the way I entered a 5K obstacle run once that had monkey bars for the adult women. And out of the entrants there were 3 broken bones (one badly broken) and at least a dozen other injuries. Yes I let my son use them but I would never tempt fate as one commenter did, by bragging that he’s never been injured on them. Hopefully your child won’t pay for your arrogance.

autw 4 months ago

Yup.

Lola 4 months ago

My apologies – I didn’t mean to write my above post as a reply to a comment. I meant my post to be a comment on the article itself.

Lola 4 months ago

Wow, I usually like most articles on Scary Mommy, but this one was too snarky to be believed. I really resent that there are any websites that post rude articles like this, where the entire point of the post is to judge other Moms and use the opportunity to tear down anybody who the author thinks is parenting the “wrong way”.

Get off your high horses, ladies. You’re not doing a better job at being a parent. Stop judging other Moms, we’re all just trying to do what’s best for our children. I am so sick of hearing stuff like this. Lately I’ve seen more and more articles on here that are just plain disrespectful and aimed at shaming other Moms, and it’s really quite pathetic. These Moms that write the articles or make nasty comments on them should put more time and energy into raising their own families, and stop prying so much into other people’s business. I feel pity for them, and hope their negative attitudes don’t rub off on their own children.

Normally I don’t comment on articles like this, or even read them through if they make me angry, but this one just left a sour taste in my mouth.

Formula or breast milk, baby wearing or playpens, sleep training or co-sleeping, stay at home or working mom, organic food or kraft dinner who EFFING cares?! As long as your child is safe, loved and taken care of, it is nobody else’s damn business how you are raising them.

You don’t like the way I parent my child at the park? Too bad. It’s a public place. I’m not judging you, so you mind your own business and I’ll mind mine.

You know what Moms, we’re all doing a damn good job. If you love your kids and only want to do what you feel is best for them, then you are a good Mom. Eff this article and be damned with all the snarky comments, they do not matter. All that matters is that you raise your child how YOU feel is right. Screw everybody else, and screw all this Mommy shaming BS.

Also, I think it’s ironic that it says above the comments “The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn’t add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don’t be a dick, please.” But yet the authors of pieces like this are being total dicks.

Articles like this are not “built on support”. They are built on shame, guilt and ignorance. Maybe time for Scary Mommy to rethink some of the articles it posts? …….

autw 4 months ago

Preach.

autw 4 months ago

All. Of. This.

Momto5 4 months ago

Reminds me of several incidents:
1) My husband and I were both on schedules where we had the summer off so we both spent all day, every day with all three of our kids. One evening, we took them to the park around 6:30 with wine hidden in McDonalds cups (for us, not them), so they could play and we could talk–shocking, I know. Our oldest (now 21) an 8-year-old drama queen kept insisting loudly that her daddy give her an under-dog, after which she would stop herself and shriek asking for another one. He finally told her he was done and came and sat down. She got on the monkey bars and started yelling that she was stuck. Now, at this moment in her life, the child was a level 5 gymnast who could do standing back tucks on a four inch wide balance beam. Hubby told her to figure it out and stop hollering. Some guy, who had been hovering around his kids the entire time, took it upon himself to approach us and threaten to call the police. He then said, “If you’re not willing to play with them, don’t have them.” We ignored him and tried to continue our conversation and then he grabbed my husband by the shirt front and hauled him off the bench. Luckily, we lived a block from the the park and that was our turf. Hubby had 7 other dads from the hood backing him up in seconds. Guy left never came back again.
2) Fast foreward 8 years, our fifth (and last), aged 12 months at the time) is sitting on the playground shoving handfuls of sand in his mouth while other moms looked in in horror. I was sitting on the edge of the sandbox and keeping an eye on #4 who was playing, by herself, on the slide. “I look at it this way,” I said. “He’s never been sick. He must be building his immune system.”
3) At the park with 4 and 5. A little girl slips on the rubber mat thingy under the swing and falls down. Mom screams (truly–no hyperboly here) runs over, scoops her up, cradles her, and rocks her back and forth while wailing. Seriously. #4 looks on in horror and asks,”What’s wrong with that mommy?” Loaded question for sure. Shortly after, #5 biffs it coming out of plastic tunnel thingys. Stunned, he looks at me and is considering crying. #4 walks over, helps him up and says, “Shake it off. She won’t come over unless you’re bleeding.”

Jenny 4 months ago

Love it. :)

Araceli 4 months ago

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this article, but I am a little bit insulted. I am not a stay at home mom, I work 8 hours a day. So I try to spend whatever free time I have with my children actually interacting with them and YES that does include playing with them if we go to the park. I’m sure I have seen these mother’s who are trying to have free time while their kids play but I have never given them a second glance let alone even wasted a second of my time judging them for what they are doing. So I am incredibly shocked to find out that THEY are actually judging ME, and I am actually ruining their time because I’m “hovering” over my children. I’m also confused as to where in the world it is written that unless you let you kids play on their own at the park they will never learn independence and will be rely on you for the rest of their life. It’s pretty dang sad though, being a parent is such a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation and to make matters worse we (moms) as peers are the absolute harshest critics. How about everyone just mind their own freaking business !

Jenny 4 months ago

As a mom of 3 boys who feels comfortable staying on the sidelines at the park, I have to say I think the problem with this article is we all know you’re not being 100 percent truthful. When you are getting the stink eye from other moms it’s not because you were just letting you’re child have “freedom from parenting”, it’s because you stopped parenting. You and your picnic bench friends checked out, and in doing so, allowed your darlings to become the kids ruining the fun.
The park is not your backyard. It is a shared public space.
Just letting your “kids be kids”? Right. You’re not fooling anyone.

SMJ 4 months ago

Actually Erin, I am a SAHM with an 18 mo. old girl, and when I take her to the park she chooses to play with me. We live in a small family oriented housing complex, and I take her to the age appropriate parks but there aren’t many kids her age to play with. So for me the playground is not “my break”.

Also, although your post was relatively snark-free and you say you’re not passing judgement, when you make a generalization like calling some moms “picnic table mommies”, that IS a judgement. Just sayin.

Dad 4 months ago

I was impressed by these two moms at the park one day. They were so confident in their children, so relaxed, so ready to let the children learn on their own. They sat and talked and talked and talked. They never looked for their kids once. I watched the kids. I watched them. I watched my own kid and I felt like an ass because I was paying such close attention to my two year old. These moms were AMAZING. Talking and looking at their phones and talking and talking. And then after twenty minutes they took a breath and looked for their kids. I swear I only let them panic for a full minute before I informed them that their kids had left the park and wandered into the back yard of a neighboring apartment complex two hundred yards away. They ran so fast that they didn’t even thank me for the space I gave them and their children to learn all the valuable life lessons the park has to offer.

christie 4 months ago

I’m not sure how to respond. I know how you feel but if someone asks me for help or wants me to play with them I do. Even if it’s not my kid. I think it’s the nice thing to do and out of everyone they asked me which I think is sweet. When it comes to my son, he’s 2 1/2. He always wants me to play with him and I do to a point. I kinda like playing on the jungle gym lol but when he gets older I will be the parent on the side lines. I don’t mind if someone helps him up or plays with him but not to an extent where it ruins his experience or is overwhelming. I think there’s a line and a difference and people need to learn the difference. But that goes for parents as well, parents need to understand the line between us needing to help your kids(being “helicopter” parents) and wanting/being asked to help.

Lola 4 months ago

I think you are the one ruining things for the other mamas when your kids don’t follow the rules and you just don’t care. If I’m teaching my kid to follow the “unspoken” rules of the playground such as taking turns climb through the ladder not the slide and be kind to the other kids and your kid is being a brat and you don’t do a thing about it you are ruining things for the mamas who care about teaching maners and kindness.

I think is your job to watch for your kid’s safety and wellbeing 24/7. If you need a break I don’t think the park is the best place to take it.

I have to say I’m a proud helicopter mama and will give you the stink eye if your parenting choices are endangering my child’s safety or education.

Chris 4 months ago

This is a mean response, wow judgemental much?

Brandi 4 months ago

Helicopter parents are teaching their kids that they can’t handle anything on their own. If a child can not climb up a structure on their own and asks you to help them: #1 you’re hovering, that’s why you’re there to ask, #2 I want my kid to FIGURE IT OUT, #3 maybe they can’t get up because that structure isn’t meant to be climbed by that small of a child. They’ll go play in the sand with the other smaller kids (they’ll play in the sand, unless the hovering parent picketed and had the dangerous sand removed from the playground, that is…). We’ll see how you feel about it when your kid is 35 and still living at home.

Eliza 4 months ago

Well we suspect my child has SPD for many reasons, but one that is of most concern is his lack of self awareness. He does not understand his body in soace and we work with an occupational therapist for this, but still he needs to be spotted because he WILL just walk off that gap in the playground equipment thinking “oh I got this 6′ drop.” He’s 2. For most kids the development of fear and body boundaries happens at an earlier age. So yeah I feel judged a lot. I hate it. Because I always swore I would never be a helicopter mom. I tried not being one and we have gone to the ER one too many times and my pocketbook and his head needs a break. But think twice before judging… You never know what that person is dealing with.

Rachael 4 months ago

I normally like the posts I read on this site, but I felt this one was just as judgmental as the “mom” they are referring to. I am definitely in the middle of this spectrum, I like to go to the park to have some sanity. The park is where my kids can run and yell, and get out all their energy instead of doing it in our apartment. I play with them at home, and sometimes I do play with them at the park. For the most part I let them be free and do things on their own, but I do have rules they have to follow at the park, and I do sometimes hover over my son because he thinks he can do whatever the older kids do and he gets into situations he either can’t get out of or would get injured getting out of and he is only 3 and very small for his age. I am a “if you can’t do it yourself don’t do it Mom” but sometimes he attempts to do it and gets stuck. Sometimes they also just want me to play with them, and I do. If another kid asks me for help, I usually look at their parent just to make sure it is ok with them before helping. Just because another parent plays with their kid, or hovers (maybe their kid has disabilities), or tries to helpful, it doesn’t make them a bad person. Up until last year I had to stay pretty close to my son because even though he was 2, he was the size of a 1 year old and older kids plowed over him. While I don’t think bumps and bruises are a big deal (I am the mom that tells my kid they are fine when they get small bumps and bruises) I still want to prevent injury if I can. I wasn’t fast enough today and my daughter wound up with a huge bump on her head (I’m sure she won’t be playing on the ladder again ever). It happens.

CiaoAnnie 4 months ago

All families are all coming from different places, so let’s just reserve the parenting judgement… especially on the playgound! I work full time and take my girls to the playground so that I can run around and play with them. I am in no way trying to be a helicpoter mom (i work on college campus!), I just want to spend quality time playing with my kiddos outside!

Colette 4 months ago

I completely agree with you, Gail! Sometimes I’m there for a mommy playdate, sometimes I’m there to give one of my kids a little one on one, away from the siblings. Sometimes I end up pushing kids that aren’t mine on the merry go round because my kid got off, a few more got on and I’m looking for one of their parents. I agree with a lot of this, but it’s not always so clear. I never ask a kid where their mommy is until I see tears or blood. But this does fit in line with my new cardinal rule – if a parent thinks my kid is doing something dangerous, tell my kid, not me! I don’t agree with you, and don’t feel like I need to rush over because you think I should. Don’t parent me!

Erin 4 months ago

I work all week, so when I take my kids to the park on Saturday it’s my time with them too. They play all week at daycare, so the weekend is our time. If someone calls me a helicopter parent because I want to push my 3yo on a swing or help him up the “7 and up” ladder, then so be it. I have TWO days with my kids and I’m going to make the most of it.

Valerie Elyse 4 months ago

This one is easy, and it may make you feel a little dim for not thinking of it sooner… Or on your own. The solution is this: Have your child wear PLAY CLOTHES to the park. Parks are dirty, I think that’s pretty well known. Also, most kids don’t mind getting dirty, in fact, most love it. Like you said though, it is the your job to parent YOUR kid. So if you don’t want dear Emily’s pants or legs to get dirty, I would suggest either bringing a towel to protect her (your) sensitive self or simply keeping her home where you have absolute control over how dirty she does or doesn’t get. Actually, how about you try this first… Let HER climb up the slide as well. Just let her have fun.

Chris 4 months ago

I agree, a child learns so much when s/he has to navigate that ladder back down. By helping them down we have taken away learning. Sure the first time it might be wise to spot, but don’t help. You would never help a chick out of it’s egg because we have all learned that the chicken gets all its strength for life by breaking out of the egg by itself. Why do we take these opportunities away from our kids?

Summer 4 months ago

I err on the side of having watched my 3 year old nephew fall off the twisty slide because he was climbing up from the bottom. So I’m the one yelling at my children to not climb up the slide. I’m also the don’t throw rocks Mom. Sorry not sorry. There’s being a kid and being free and then there’s putting out someone’s eye. Have a freaking manner. And yeah I will say something to someone else’s kid for throwing the rocks, especially if I have the baby with me. That’s just not cool. I’m a hoverer until they hit about 4, when they get a little more sense and coordination. Then I’m the Mom on my phone or reading on my Kindle while they lose their minds. Taking really small children to the park isn’t fun for me, it’s a chore. The park isn’t fun until my dudes hit preschool years. That’s when I get to take a Mommy time out while they exhaust themselves.

Valerie Elyse 4 months ago

We have a very nice “Castle Park”, as I called it as a kid, about a half hour away from our house. That was my favorite park as I kid and remember the joys of running, jumping, climbing, even *gasp* balancing on a two inch wide piece of wood 5 feet above the ground and walking/running across the top of the monkey bars, which I fell from MANY times and survived. This park is now my children’s favorite park. It’s plenty big enough and has LOTS of obstacles, slides, tunnels, and “hideouts” to keep them amused for hours. We usually pack a lunch and make a day of it. I definitely use those days as downtime for myself and free time for my kids. I’m usually at our table reading a book or playing on my phone. My husband and I may even step outside of the “mulch zone” to throw a ball back and forth and goof off a little ourselves. My kids know where I’m at if they need me, which they usually don’t. It is a pretty large park so I will randomly walk through and do a head count. I too have exceptions, though. I’m not sure if this one counts, but I am damn good at grabbing and spinning the “spinning tire swing” and I thoroughly enjoy watching my kids fly between fear and excitement as I spin them faster and higher. Other kids see this and ask if I can do that with them, so I do have them ask their parent to watch how I do and say yay or nay. If yes, I have no problem spinning, pushing, and flinging that thing as hard as it will go for whatever kids happen to line up. My second exception is crying. I do not care if it’s coming from my kid or not. If I hear the “hurt cry”, very distinct from the “temper tantrum cry”, I will pounce quicker than shit to help in anyway I can. My third exception, which I’m also not sure it counts: Unfortunately there have been a few occasions where a group, usually between 5-10, teenagers have chosen this park to engage in their “teen talk”. I do not take my kids to the park to be surrounded by a group of teens yelling cuss words and talking about sex. It actually pisses me off pretty bad. I can tell it puts the other parents on alert, but for some reason I am always the only one that will confront them. And I don’t do it just for MY kids, I do it for all the kids there. Also for the parents who don’t know what to say. I’ll tell these teens that it’s AWESOME that they are hanging out at a park, rather than out doing drugs or committing crimes. I ask them to respect where they are at, though, and keep the inappropriate talk away from the park. Twice I was told “yes ma’am, we’re sorry” and it stopped. One time a group just wouldn’t calm down, there was about 15 teens. After my third time of trying to be decent about it to no avail, I stood literally 5 feet from them locking eyes and making sure they knew I meant business. Finally they decided to move to the baseball field. Every time I have said something, the parents thank me or “nod in approval”. I still don’t get it though. I take the teens language as a threat to the children’s innocence, and I can tell the other parents don’t like it either. But why am I always the one to stand up and do something? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Juliet 4 months ago

I have a very active 2 year son. He is very friendly and sweet. I hover at the play ground for several reasons. To make sure he doesn’t run off(because he will!), and not be taken by a stranger. There are too many weirdos (that don’t have children) that hang out at parks.

So if you don’t like that I follow my child on the playground, then get over it! I want to bring my child home the same way I brought him there!

Amy 4 months ago

I like many of your articles, but I think this is one of the worst written, judge mental, untrue and uneducated posts you’ve written. Like you, I take my kids to the park so that they can play on their own and I can relax. They can explore and have fun playing in their own way. But how dare you judge the way others are parenting just because they’re truly interested in playing with their own kids at a park? Wow. I really wouldn’t want to sit with you at a park bench anyway, if this is your attitude. How horrible if someone might actually want to help a child that isn’t theirs. And if you’re completely ignoring the safety of your own children, ignoring the safety rules of the park and letting them fend for themselves, you should be judged. My 5 yr old kid was being a kid at a playground and broke his arm in 2 places, it wasn’t pretty or fun. And I certainly didn’t have a nonchalant attitude of “whoops, you’ll have to try that stunt again next time since you couldn’t figure it out this time”. And according to the orthopedic surgeon, he sees multiple children each week due to broken bones and playground accidents- it’s the number one injury in kids and guess what? There were rubber chips down below- didn’t protect him one bit.

laughingmom 4 months ago

You do it your way, I’ll do it mine. And if your kid gets smacked off the slide because he is climbing up it for the third time while my kid has patiently waited at the top to go down, don’t come crying to me. Don’t give me the, “didn’t you see what happened” quiz.. I did in fact see what happened. Because I was here.
You are more than welcome to let your children play, I do too. But that should’t transcend into allowing your children to have bad manners. They are not allowed to throw sand in my baby’s face, or grab the other kid’s bubbles and dump them, or push to be first on the slide, simply because you are too involved in your conversation to parent them. And yes, I did lift your 2 year old into the swing because he kept asking if he could, and was crying that he wanted to go in the empty swing. And you haven’t even looked over for the SEVEN minutes he has been CRYING. A lot can happen to a 2 year old in seven (plus) unattended minutes. I am not hovering. I am present. And I make no apologies for it.

Rachael 4 months ago

Yeah this is very one-sided, I am On occasion on both sides of this. My kids are 5 4 and 2 and the older two are fine on their own at the park but not the two year old he has no fear and he likes to play with me so I slide and climb with him. And sometimes the other two want me to play too, often i am an aligator. However, I have mama dates sometimes and hang back until one of them starts getting too brave and no matter how soft the ground may be bones still break just ask my nephew when we allowed him to test his limits and fell on a spongy ground and broke his leg. however, when I’m at the park with just my kids most of the mama groups are not paying attention and never see their 2 year Olds scaling the outside of the playgorund or their 6 year old spitting and pushing and calling names. They apparently never hear the screams and don’t catch their 1 year Olds until they’re actually in the parking lot. But of course there are the moms who do overstep and think they need to parent all the kids. I don’t think this is A v B thing there are times when both can be wrong and right.

JJ 4 months ago

I freaking hate the park. Unless I have wine.

Andrea 4 months ago

I feel as though some things in Themis article were correct when other were way off base.. So you are alright with little Jimmy climbing up the slide with no line, alright he is your kid to do with what you will, however when my child decides that she wants to go down the slide and how has to slide through little Jimmys muddy foot prints, that’s where I draw the line. Your children are yours to parent, but when your parenting effects my child that’s where the line gets a little grey..

amom 4 months ago

this article shows me just how detached many families are from my reality. my son is a runner and has zero danger awareness. you’d not guess that he’s autistic by looking at him. he’s not “typically” autistic. so yeah, i follow him around. just like you claim that women give you stink eye, i’ve claimed the same. i can see that look from a mile away. but, now it’s confirmed.

if you’re blessed with a respectful child who needs nothing from you and asks nothing of me: awesome, enjoy your time. if your kid asks me for sth i will tell him to go ask his mom.

if you see my kid, running toward the street, or about to fall off a ledge let me know, or help him ffs. it’s called a community and just bc i can’t sit there with you and the rest of the moms, it doesn’t mean i wouldn’t like to. cause while you’re over there taking a break, i never get a break. ever.

when your kid accidentally pushed mine toward the ledge of the open climbing wall, i’ll be there to catch him. if my kid wanders in front of your kids while they’re swinging, i’ll swoop in before they both get hurt.

my suggestion to you: spend some time with children from the autistic community. they’re awesome kids. your article makes me realize why it’s not so far fetched after all that our older autistic son was bullied throughout school. clueless, entitled parenting.

Sarah 4 months ago

GASP! Your kid isn’t going to learn a DAMN thing if you NEVER let them try ANYTHING on their own and hover constantly! I have FOUR BOYS. FOUR. BOYS. Do you know how many times I’ve had to take them to the ER due to playground injuries?

ZERO. NADA. ZILCH.

My SIL has ONE son. She hovers, constantly. We all went to the playground and low and behold, Junior tried to play on the equipment (which he was more than age appropriate for) and Mommy Perfect was two steps behind him, instead of right there and he got hurt. Why? Because he was so insecure about climbing across by himself…chasing after his younger cousin and all the other kids, that he panicked and tried to get down and fell.

Moral of the story, when they are little or something is brand new and they are nervous, by all means, help them out. However, you can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap and soften EVERY blow for them. That’s just not teaching them how to do anything, how to experience life or have any pride in accomplishing things on their own. They also have to learn that they won’t die if the get a bump or a bruise. If you are watching them, but not hovering, they shouldn’t be in a situation where they are going to DIE if they fall, they might get banged up and no one is going to like that, but they’ll learn that they’ll be okay.

Like I said, I have no problem helping mine out if they need it, or when they are little or trying something new…I never go far out of reach and I certainly am close enough to get to them quickly and make sure they can all hear me, but there is also FOUR of them, so it is impossible for me to hover over all of them at the playground at once. That is how I learned to let go a little…that they are going to be okay. That they’ll be MORE than okay, that they will GROW from a little independance.

So, excuse me ER nurse. I don’t feel like “F’ing” myself today. See, my one two youngest boys have hockey practice (I’m one of their coaches) and one of the older boys has football, so I want to do that instead. Hopefully, you’ll let go of YOUR insecurities and let your kids be just that…KIDS someday too.

bergman 4 months ago

Look, I take my 19 month old to the park and she gets creamed by “free range” 3 year olds. There’s a balance between hovering and supervising.

Your kid shoves my kid off a slide, the least you’ll get is a stink eye.

Maura 4 months ago

i don’t agree with this one, I think too many parents let kids too young run around unsupervised while they talk on their cell phones and expect others (strangers) watch out for their kid. Most of the time the kid is calling for the patent who is ignoring them. I’ve caught a few toddlers from falling after my kid twice their age jumps from a landing made for them and the clueless parent smoking in the parking lot or on their phone or gossiping with others not looking doesn’t even notice. I don’t think those tiny innocent kids should get hurt before the parent decides to care, it’s not preparing them for the world if they aren’t old enough to know to keep clear of the kids swinging or are not able to hold onto rails yet and letting them climb things far too old for them, its being a bad parent,

Sophia 4 months ago

Lady, you are so out of line you can barely see it.
I’m a working mother of 2 very active children. Sometimes I take my kids to the park because I’m tired and it’s a great place for them to burn energy. I’ll sit on a bench, maybe even check my phone, watch my kids having fun from a distance. And yes, I get the stink eye from some parents. Probably because they think I can’t be bothered to play with my kids, instead of realizing I’m just exhausted.
But other times I take my kids to the park because it’s a great place for us to play altogether. I cheer for them when they climb the high ladder, I help them go down the slide (my 5 year old is always afraid the first time she goes) and when they were smaller I used to push them on the swing. So now according to you I’m a shit parent because I want to make the best of the (too little) time I have with my kids? Or is it because I make you feel guilty for not wanting to play with yours?
And are you seriously complaining because other people keep an eye on your kids? Did you ever consider that maybe those awful hovering mothers are the reason your kid hasn’t broken an arm or a leg or his skull on the playground?
I’m sorry other people’s concern is keeping you away from your mommy friends, but I bet none of those women giving you the stink eye ever told you that you suck to your face. You know, kind of like what you’re doing to them with your article.

Grace 4 months ago

This exactly! We need to do what we feel is right, and not judge others for doing the same. Good on you for not letting the kid fall out of the cart. My sister fell out of a shopping cart when we were kids, and it was only because another shopper interfered that she didn’t land on her head.

I also prefer to play with my kids at the park… Its good exercise and I just feel more tired if I sit there and do nothing!

Jill 4 months ago

I am a helicopter. Can’t help it. My kiddo is a wildman with no fears whatsoever. I, however, have lots of them. I don’t mean to make other parents uncomfortable. I’m not judging you (unless you’re smoking meth on the picnic bench).

I apologize for my hover but will continue to do so.

Grace 4 months ago

You know, this article was pretty judgmental… Do we really need to fight over this?? I have a 6 year old who has always been very careful, gentle and aware of other kids. I don’t need to worry about her at the park, and I have always been able to giver her space. I also have a 2 year old niece who can climb ANYTHING, and is still figuring out that she can’t fly. I need to hover, she has plenty of independence and needs me there to make sure she doesn’t fall 6 feet onto her head. I have a 3 year old who is right in between them, and needs different amounts of attention depending on the day and her mood.
Can we all just agree that different kids need different parenting?? This is so stupid.

PS- I can’t tell you how often I have had to block a kid from hitting one of mine, or tell them to let my kids go down the slide, or tell them not to throw gravel in their faces… All because their moms are taking a break. Sometimes you DO need to get off the bench and parent your kids.

Ashley 4 months ago

With you there, Jessica. My 5 year old also has Autism, and he’s wandered away before. He was 2, my sister was watching him, and we surely learned our lesson that day. I will hover with a smile on my face. And if another child needs help, I won’t give a stinkeye, I’ll help them just as I would help my own children.

Cortney 4 months ago

Yeah, sorry. I’ll continue to keep my child safe by watching him as he climbs up a large latter or goes down a ridiculously steep slide. Mainly because I’d like to keep my child alive. Go ahead and judge, You do your thing I’ll do mine.

Katy 4 months ago

Well said, mama. I’m in lock step with you for most of this piece. I will admit, however, I am an ‘up the stairs, down the slide’ girl resulting after each of my daughters got caught with the top side of other kids’ heads resulting in two pretty broken noses. In every other bit, I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

Noelle 4 months ago

Ha ha ha love your response

Andrea 4 months ago

Talking about judging of others. Shit. There was no reason to come off like that. Chill.

Tracy 4 months ago

I’m a working mom with two very active kids. I understand this from the hovering perspective. At some age it’s good to let them explore. But having limited time with my children I DO go to playgrounds to spend time with my kids AND let them play. I don’t feel the need to gab to fellow moms and barely stay in tune with what my kids are doing. I’ve seen this SO many times. Once I saw a toddler to a “chatty” mom wander completely away from his mom and almost go over the gate of the playground. I sat there and watched for a good 4 minutes as she chatted to her fellow workout mom. In that time anyone could have easily snatched him and she wouldn’t have noticed. And YES I was watching while a grandma (not his) grabbed him and asked whose mom was his. She finally took notice. Another time a 1 year old took a liking to my 7 year old daughter. She basically acted as his nanny for 15 minutes while Mom couldn’t be bothered. Finally she was bored and wanted to walk away and play. Kid threw a fit before Mom took notice. He tried to throw his ball to his mom (what he was doing with my daughter). She threw it once and kept chatting. It was really sad to watch. Although working takes me away from my kids, I truly value quality over quantity. Perhaps this mom can understand this as she judges “hoverers.”

Jennifer 4 months ago

I can agree with most of this post except slides ARE for going down, and the little brat who keeps climbing up is ruining it for all the other kids who want to use it properly.

Amy Kichas 4 months ago

I, too, sm a bench sitter or blanket warmer. However, i occasionally induldge my inner child by tsking a ride on the hsnd trolley or corkscrew slide. I have, a couple times in the past few years of park time, requested the helicopter mom to not guard my child. It worked out well and nono tink eye or theatrical performance.

Andrea 4 months ago

I agree with Sarah. Normally I like what is said and find it a fresh breath of air but not this. I’m a PT and I treat the kids that have fallen at the playgrounds…90% of the time, the parent was not near the child at the time of incident. So guess what! I am the mom that hovers and I really don’t give a f- who is or isn’t judging me. If your child is not safe on the playground, then be around them. It’s called (gasp) LEARNING! I know, shocking.

The Mombat 4 months ago

Really? I’m not sure this is blogging at its best.

How about this? There is room for many types of parenting styles that all turn out pretty healthy kiddos. As a single parent, my park time wasn’t about giving her “freedom” from my parenting-which is a fine goal; your goal. Park time was our power hour for reconnection of the fun and free kind; my goal after being away from her for hours at a time while at work. How about you get comfy in your own skin- about your own parenting decisions and let me be comfortable about mine.

MicRee 4 months ago

I like my kids! I like playing with them! Don’t make assumptions…

Jessica 4 months ago

I wish I didn’t have to hover, I would love to sit on my arse at the park when we go. But my son is four and has ASD and cannot be left to his own devices as he has no fear, no concept of danger and is likely to launch off the top of the slide, head straight for the duck pond or accidentally take out another kid as he is whooshing about the place resulting in afore mentioned stink eye from other mothers wondering what’s wrong with him. My point being there may be a solid reason someone is hovering over their child.

Michelle 4 months ago

Wow!! It is so hard to read this negative comment. I don’t really know what you are so angry about maybe because spelling and grammar are too hard to understand. Spell check is amazing. 3rd grade grammar is even more amazing. Lazy and pathetic take on a whole new meaning. Maybe you should read a book at the park, it may help, it may calm you. Teaching independence to children keeps grown adults out of their mommy’s basement but by all means while you are typing nasty notes online, your child is probably trying to figure out how the hell he can get away from you. Yep, I’m being riduclous (did that on purpose) because your rant is ridiculous. What kind of playground do you frequent? Do you live inside the walls of Attica Prison? You are very lucky that someone hasn’t put you in your place yet but I’m sure your stank eye makes the remoters laugh. Don’t touch children that are not yours. Period.

Debbie McCormick 4 months ago

I think people are just way too sensitive and need to parent the way that works for them. No one likes to have someone point fingers at them and their parenting choices. This is about the 5th article I’ve read this week where hover moms are blasted and made to feel stupid…and wrong. I don’t understand all the anger and the need to point fingers. But I have learned something that I didn’t realize. The next time I’m at a park I’m not going to help a little kid out even if they ask me because I don’t want to piss off a mom.

Ashley 4 months ago

Thank you Melissa! I AM that special needs Mom! I will ALWAYS hover, because he needs me to. How dare the author shame me for that…

Lucy 4 months ago

YES!!! Thank you, well said.

Rachel 4 months ago

I agree with you. I go to the park to play with my daughter because we enjoy playing together. Not because I judge the other moms! If kids come up to me it’s because they realize we are having fun. But I do try to direct them back to their own moms. Without judgement.

Chrissy 4 months ago

Wow, I would think moms should be there to support each other and to look out for our children. Maybe you would think differently if your kids fell off that ladder and broke their arm. You should just have your kid wear a sign next time that says,”stay away and if I get hurt don’t feel bad my mom is not around to help so you shouldn’t either” that way you could enjoy your bench and phone time. No matter what kind of mom we choose to be, we should be there to encourage and support each other. Maybe try getting off the bench and having a conversation with that hovering mom about your technique because it may foreign to her. We need to except our differences as parents. There is no right or wrong way to take your kid to the park. Being harsh and showing you are annoyed by other moms in front of your kids isn’t going to help your child’s development either.

christine 4 months ago

I agree. When my younger son was 2, he ate mushrooms that were growing at the playground. I couldn’t stop him in time because I was helping my other son at that time. Turned out that the mushrooms were poisonous, and we had to take him to the ER in an ambulance. This issue of hovering is not black and white at all.

Ashley 4 months ago

While I agree, and would love to just sit on a bench while my children run around and play and fall down and make friends, alas I can not. I have a severely autistic son who requires constant and I mean CONSTANT supervision when we go anywhere, including the playground. If I or my husband look away for even a second, he could be gone. And he is non-verbal, and wouldn’t know what to do if lost. So, while I may annoy you, and aggravate you because I “hover” around my 5 year old at the playground, I’m not going to apologize, because my son’s safety matters more to me than making you feel better because you have the luxury of sitting on the bench while your children play.

Shawna 4 months ago

When my son was little I loved playing with him and the other kids at the playground. My son is autistic so it was a way for me to get him socializing with other kids. We would play tag games and chase games all over. Of course, I’m a big kid at heart so it was also an excuse for me to play and enjoy time with my son. I still do on occasion play when we go to the playground, but he’s 11 now and doesn’t think it’s cool to play games with his mom lol

Calista 4 months ago

I mean, I like to play with my kid. I like to climb high (and yes, help her BC she’s 2 1/2 feet tall) and play in the dirt and go down big slides. But she is little. And other kids are big. And they’re not watching to not crush my tiny 1 1/2 year old who tries to play like a giant 5 year old. And she’s not watching to not get crushed. So, yes, I’m going to play with her. But I’m also going to let her try on her own until she asks for help. While she’s watching her feet I’m going to be watching the child Giants so they don’t run her over. I’m not Stink eyeing your kid or you. And if another kid gets stuck or trips or flat out falls, I’m going to help them. One, BC I would hope a mother would help my child in my absence. Two, I don’t suck. Also, I can sit on my ass and knit when she’s 20 and gone and I’m missing the shit out of her wishing I played like a 6 year old at the park. But luckily, I’ll be thankful I played BC you can’t get that time back.

Beanflickr 4 months ago

I have to say that its clear the only point to this article is to piss people off and I bet the author feels better about herself and can go along her own pretentious life after writing this. I hove, I hove all the goddamn time. Why? Because I am scared to death of something happening to my daughter. Is it too much or is it pointless, sure. Do I understand and know for a fact there is a lot of things out of my control that will or wont happen anyways, yep. But if me hovering around my 2 year old while she climbs a steep ladder to the slide or attempts to climb that plastic rock wall means I have a very high chance of catching her from falling on top of her head then I will hover and I will hover with pride.

Will I judge the mom on the bench chatting while her kids swing from the monkey bars by their shoelaces…..nope. She is comfortable with her kid(s) ability to climb and swing. My daughter trips over cat hair at the house and pays zero attention to where she is going so I know her climbing abilities blow and I would feel like a shit parent if I didnt do anything.

Hover, copter, smother, free range, green jacket, gold jacket, who gives a shit. If people spent more time worrying about what and how their kids were doing instead of worrying about all the other kids / parents then maybe, just maybe their own kids will be better off.

christine 4 months ago

I agree that this article is judgmental. Why do we have to label other moms. Maybe some Moms simply want to play with their kids at the park. There is nothing wrong with that, and thoe moms don’t deserve to be labeled as helicopter moms. You can’t assume that you know what somone else is thinking. I have been called a helicopter mom. I’ve heard it whispered on the playground as I played with my son. It was hurtful and isolating. What those other moms didn’t know is that my son has autism. He has low tone and poor gross motor skills. I had to help him at the playground so he could be included and participate in the activities there. He couldn’t climb a ladder, had poor balance, etc. My helping him was a form of occupational therapy. Should I not help my child when he can’t do it on his own? After a couple years of my “hovering”, I can now sit and watch him play. I let him climb the slide, he loves to play in the mud, and he can climb ladders, etc. on his own. When I see other “hovering” moms, I do not jump to judgment and neither should anyone else. Don’t look down on others like that…Those moms who are quick to label others as helicopter moms are NOT friendly and you shouldn’t care what they think of you. Do what is right for you and your kids and let the naysayers suck eggs.

Diana 4 months ago

I’m coming from a mom perspective, and I totally agree with her. Learning to figure stuff out on his own and testing his own limits are two things I can’t actually teach him, he has to learn for himself. Those early lessons will help give him the confidence to persevere later in life when he runs into harder lessons (like reading, math, driving, getting a job, etc)

jane 4 months ago

Amen!

A 4 months ago

Maybe it’s the teacher in me who’s spent too much time on recess duty, but I’m a big “Up the ladder, down the slide” enforcer, especially on the tunnel and twirly slides where you may not be able to see that someone is on their way down. At the same time, I also won’t help my kid climb something that she can’t climb on her own. I feel like there is definitely a middle ground here.

Dawn 4 months ago

I have seen children launch themselves off swings and break ankles. I’ve seen little ones sent flying when they run in front of kids on the swing. I’ve also had my kid knocked off the slide by a child climbing UP while children were sliding DOWN (which is what I thought the slide was for? Sliding down? have I been doing it wrong all these years?) and my kid broke his arm right in half. That other Mom wasn’t there when my child cried in pain as the doctors had to reset his bones, and as he couldn’t sleep at night, or write at school, or type on a keyboard, or even put his own damn shoes on. They also weren’t there when another kid whipped an empty swing at his face and broke his front tooth right in half, nor did they help pay for the following root canal and crown (it was an adult tooth). I also remember going to a park one time and finding a man masturbating in front of a group of kids….so ya, I’ll hover, and I will tell your kid not to run up the freaking slide when other kids are coming down, and I’ll tell your kid not to run in front of the swings, and I’ll tell all the kids to leave when I find a pervert jacking off. So sorry that bothers you. By the way, if you could tell your kids to stop asking me to play with them, push them on the swing, and help them do whatever it is they want help from an attentive adult for while you knit and check your cell phone, that would be great.

Kylie 4 months ago

I would never pick someone else’s child up and put them somewhere they couldn’t get without help. However, if I see someone’s child in a rough situation I will absolutely spot them. And I hope that any other mom would do it for my son (who is 6 and prefers to climb on the outside of the play sets…yes, please, spot him if you see his nonsense). I’m going to think a lot worse of someone who stood near my son and watched him fall and break leg than I would of someone who put herself in the right spot to catch him because I wasn’t looking.

Also, another reason to parent at the park is being kids can be thoughtless. When my son was 2, I was sitting talking to a friend while our kids played on a play set. He had made it pretty high but I wasn’t worried because I knew he was too scared to get too close to the open edge…you know, those death poles kids slide down. Well some bigger kids ran up to play and knocked him off a 7ish foot drop. So yes, I still make sure to keep an eye on him…to tell him to be mindful of the smaller children. Because he, like every other kid on the play ground, is thoughtless.

Lanik58@yahoo.com 4 months ago

Proud helicopter mom here. If helicopter parenting means I don’t let my kids run up the slide, throw sand, push and shove- then I’ll gladly take that title. Nothing is more annoying than seeing kids misbehave while mom sits there in her phone completely ignoring their kids. If I want to zone out or read, I don’t do it when I’m at a public place, in charge of kids. As a mom to triplets I’m well aware that moms need a time to relax and socialize, but a mom’s choice to play with, and look after her children shouldn’t be so threatening to those who take a different approach. If it bothers you that some people follow rules and stay with their kids at the playground… Well, that sounds like your problem.

Moderate Mama 4 months ago

Or because they have sensory issues…

annie 4 months ago

This is ridiculous. I spot my 18 month old because he tries to lower himself off high ledges or climb things he’s too small for. It’s called good parenting. And I work full-time. When I’m out with my kid in the afternoon at the playground, yes I want to play hith him after missing him all day. What in the world is wrong with that???

ashley 4 months ago

This article is a bit bullshit I myself dont let the kids go up the slide I think its rude. They dont get that they cant do it when other kids are around so we dont do it at all plus there always seems to be at least one other child there. And I also play with the kids when they ask I also let them do their own thing but I never worry about someone elses child. Why is there so many articles tearing each other down for our parenting styles? We have children end of story mind your own business and carry on!

Moderate Mama 4 months ago

I tend to agree. There is a middle ground. I had multiple concussions as a child and it’s not party (and this was in the 70’s). Not all kids have the same abilities either. So for every 3 year old who can climb the equipment designed for 5-12 year olds, there is one who cannot.

I’m so tired the judgement women heap on each other and articles like this just make it worse.

teflonmom 4 months ago

Different kids have different needs. Different ages, different abilities, different parents. I am by nature a “free range” type of parent and want my kid to figure stuff out on his own. But my kid is autistic (high functioning) and has issues with things like motor planning. This sounds like psycho-gibberish until you watch a 6 year old climb blithely and easily all the way to the top of the monkey bars and then realize he has NO IDEA how to get down–and me being all relaxed won’t help, because he is developmentally behind in that particular way, although he might look typical in other ways. So, as usual, yes YES!! You are totally right about EVERYTHING! But no, NO! Not right at all! Basically, do what you think is best and try not to be too much of a killjoy. Try to let your kid figure it out, but stop short of allowing him or her to bash someone’d head in with a stick. ‘kay?

Adrienne 4 months ago

How about the ones that bring wholesome snacks like figs,couscous, bran muffins, carrot sticks and pomegranate juice pops. I got Swedish Fish from date night movie. And hot black coffee.

J 4 months ago

This was such an obnoxious article. Are you seriously chastising parents that go to the park to actually play with their children?? I fail to understand why that is such a horrible thing. I go to the park to socialize with my mom friends too, but we also all interact with our children as well. We may not play with them the entire time, but a good chunk of our time is spent with them. And heaven forbid I adhere to park rules for the safety of my child, and yours too.

Nina 4 months ago

*slow clap*

Life With Teens and Other Wild Things 4 months ago

For me the problem comes in when another mom actually picks my child up and lifts them, being “helpful”.

I know they don’t know that I’m physically limited. They don’t know that if my child gets up there, and can’t get down, I am physically unable to go up after them. I don’t *look* disabled. You can’t see the crooked bone in my leg by looking at me.

When my kids were shorties, I had “helpful” parents judge me (No, I’m not assuming. Words were spoken.) I’ve had them “help” my kids right into situations that then I had to go and find someone who wasn’t an a-hole, to help us back out of again… Like the idiot who “helped” my son up the slide ladder while I was distracted with my daughter, then chased her own kid off across the playground, leaving my son stranded (he wasn’t as good at getting down as he thought he would be.)

Keeping an eye on someone else’s kid while you follow your own around is no problem. Hey, some of yours might be littler, more adventurous, or just plain clumsy because they’re at that awkward age where they haven’t quite learned how to operate limbs that are growing at what seems like inch-a-minute rates yet.
The problem comes in when you start parenting my kid as well as your own.

Jeanie 4 months ago

Ok I have never been a hoverer, always let my kiddos play. If you want to help my kid, fine go ahead, no sweat here. However don’t think I am going to jump and run to my child when they fall down, I won’t. No bones or blood? You’re good! I am also not going to answer them when they yell for me. I chalk it up to age, I am in my 40’s had my kiddos in my 30’s so I am just not paranoid about watching them. They need to learn to fall down and get up on their own, it’s called life. You know what else I won’t do? Judge you if you choose to be the exact opposite of me. Those are not my kids you are raising, they are YOURS

Melissa 4 months ago

Ever consider that the “helicopter mom” you judge may have a kid with special needs? Ever think that just making it to the park for them might be a miracle?

Noel 4 months ago

I DO go to the park to play with my kid. It’s kind of the highlight of going for me. But…DD2.5 is my first and I have another on the way, and sometimes I look longingly at the park benches. The thing is if my kid FELL and got HURT and I was lounging on a bench while it happened….! OMG. No, I can’t let that happen. Excited that one day I can actually sit without fear…or at least, less fear.
I figure I’ll do the helicopter mom bit until both of my kids pass the six year mark. 😀

Julia 4 months ago

This is a very age relevant topic but no one has addressed that,when my son was small 1-2 I would stay close unless we where at a play ground geared to toddlers. Now that he is almost 5 there isn’t much intervening he makes friends and avoids the things he isn’t ready for. Pretty simple stuff in my opinion. I keep an eye out for how he is being treated and how he is treating others.

Kare 4 months ago

Or maybe they were always greater risk takers bc that’s their personality, and the broken bone was the result not the cause.

Fiona 4 months ago

I agree with the thought process of if my girls couldn’t do something themselves don’t help them, that is just helping them get stuck. If they ask you to help them, say let’s go ask your mommy. How about everyone worries about their own children and then it doesn’t matter what ‘type’of mom you are.

Kendra 4 months ago

You’re taking this to the complete other side of the spectrum. Nowhere in this did she say she completely ignores her child while he’s injured and crying for help, she said she gives him space “within limits” to not be parented. It’s unfortunate that you’ve come across parents who pay so little attention to their kids, but that’s not what this author is talking about.

Sarah 4 months ago

I do not like the angry tone either. I do go to the park to spend time and play with my ONLY child. The moms at our playgrounds are rude and I feel like they are judging me. You want to be cool mom and hang back, I want to get up and play with my daughter, she’s the only one I get to have. Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you! Usually really like your posts, this one definitely rubbed me the wrong way!

Mrs Highlander 4 months ago

Totally agree with the author here…just got back from a day at the park with my mom friend….hate those people who can’t just let their kid ( and mine) play. I wanna park my butt in the grass and enjoy my kids from afar until they are ready to go home and pass out. Your kid is like 5 I think he can grasp the concept of a freaking slide by now! And my kid piling pebbles at the bottom for him to swish through on his way down makes it that much more fun apparently lol. My Dd2 finally stopped asking ‘up there’ cuz the rule is when your big and strong enough to climb up yourself, go for it. I’ll be over here with my sippy cup!

anika 4 months ago

A million times yes! I’m thankful for opportunities for my kiddos to learn (within reason) their limits. I love them and want what’s best for them, the same as other mamas. Helicopter parenting is just not. My. Style.

Sue 4 months ago

So I’m a former Nanny, 25+ years, and now a Mother of no fear twin girls. Of course Nannying is different! But that doesn’t mean that a good Nanny will not love your child and provide the best care for them. And there are never mothers checking their phones while their children run round screaming is there?
I am standing under my child (and yours if need be) because mine have absolutely no fear. They want to be doing what the big kids do and I let them, but after them falling too many times and knowing what they’re like, I WILL stand under them. My kids play in the mud they get REALLY dirty they have fun, but I will watch them when they’re climbing because I want to. I’d say I was sorry you thought you had to get up off your bench, but I’m really not.

Kim 4 months ago

Just because I’m anxious and do hover with my child sometimes, does not mean I’m there judging you. I’m actually in my head wishing I could chill out and stop the anxious thoughts long enough to go sit. I realize that I may be being a little irrational when I worry about my child climbing certain ladders at the park. I’m not judging you, please stop judging me and calling me names.

Felicity Banks 4 months ago

Love this article, thank you.

There is a movement among child care centres now to back off on obsessive safety stuff, as it’s clear that we’re harming the kids mentally by too much care. As someone with a family and personal history of anxiety disorders, I try really hard to back off as much as possible. It is crucial to let my kids risk broken bones, and to try very hard to let them risk broken legs without risking broken skulls – but it’s incredibly hard to find that balance. When there is judgement from other mums, it gets even harder. And I have to work against my own inner judge as well, because it’s not easy to let a kid fall over. But they really, really need that experience.

The horror stories are real and important… but they’re also overshared because they’re so powerful and awful and we’d all rather have kids with anxiety issues than dead kids. But. We’re ending up with a whole lot of mental problems that don’t need to happen.

So I’m going to keep trying to let my kids test their own boundaries, while I’m still close enough to call the ambulance if needed. I might even attempt to chill out slightly while the kids play.

Yes, my kid is going to fall over and bleed – or worse. Please let her. My job as a mum is to carefully, gradually set her free.

Felicity Banks

Jeanette 4 months ago

I guess I’m a middler too, I will watch my son play and not interfere unless there is danger (like little kids walking in front of the ridiculously huge 4 person swings that are impossible to stop, hate those things) or bullying. I won’t help him do things that he can’t do on his own, but I will encourage him and cheer when he gets it. If he can’t get down I will coach him down so he learns how and that he CAN do it. I will “parent” other kids if they need it…because I’m not going to wait for someone else to stop a fight, or pass by a crying kid because they aren’t mine. I’m also the mom that tells kids to get up and brush themselves off if they fall, and I encourage them to get dirty, I will also – GASP- CHECK my PHONE while at the park!! Crazy, I know.

Leslie 4 months ago

THANK YOU.

Leslie 4 months ago

Great. Add another “I’m going to judge you for this..” to the list. While a majority of this article raised my hackles, I guess I’m also one of the somewhere in between moms. Why does everything have to be so divisive? I totally admit helping kids on the playground that are either hanging precariously from high up, need a little push on the swing and no amount of “MOMMY!” will be heard as she yes… sips her wine in a thermos, stares like a zombie at her phone, or flat out turns her back to chat with other moms. That, to me, is different than the mom who takes her kid to the park so he can burn off some wiggles and learn some independence and social skills while she actively supervises him for safety. I don’t get it, I’m being judgy too I guess. I like to play with my kid. one of these days he’ll hate that I want anything to do with him. I have always considered the park as playtime, not breaktime. He plays on his own 90% of the time, but even then.. I’m on the sidelines enjoying him and watching him, and yep I guess, *gasp* supervising him.

cole 4 months ago

I am just getting to the point where I can watch my toddler from across the playground. He can climb to the top of the monkey bars but then he is stuck so he is not allowed to climb so high. I don’t let him slide down poles because he can’t reach across the gap yet. I had a mom who was an emergency room nurse tho so between her stories and accidents my brothers got into I may be a smidge paranoid

MaebyFunke 4 months ago

I get it. The articles here are a bit tongue-in-cheek. And I usually find a lot of humor in them. But this one. This one comes off as needlessly judge-y. So you want to socialize with your friends while your kids play at the park. Great. Good for you. I don’t have a problem with that. No judgement. Maybe that’s the only time you get away from your kid during the day and you need a break. Get it. I totally understand. But me, I’m a working mother. I go to the park to play with my kid. She loves it when we climb the rocks together and hold hands as we make our way from those rocks to the slide. We race from the bottom of the slide back to the rocks to start over again. Also, she’s three. She can’t do everything herself. In general, I’d say I’m somewhere between the mom who hangs with her friends and the helicopter mom in the example. And I’m probably being a little defensive here, but when it all comes down to it, I don’t care what you do at the park, why are you so worried about what I do?

Nara 4 months ago

When my kid was younger I was always on the playset with him. It wasn’t because I wanted to be a helicopter parent, it was because he had epilepsy and was two years older than he looked, so he had really bad balance and couldn’t always reach things the way he thought he could (not that you could tell from looking at him, he just looked like a kid two years younger than he was). If another kid wanted help or was hitting my kid or doing something that could be actually injury-inducing, like throwing rocks at each other, I’d do something (from a helping hand to a mommy glare to a full-out ‘let me talk to your parent’), just like I would also participate in the games and have fun and do stuff because that was teaching my son how to interact with other kids and helping him when he couldn’t do it himself (like modelling the behaviour or giving him a script). It wasn’t meant to be offensive or judgemental, and I was incredibly grateful to be able to graduate to “The Bench” once my son was older and healthier.
Not that I’m insinuating that there are hordes of special needs parents on your playground with the best of intentions, just that things aren’t always as they appear.

M 4 months ago

I am so tired of articles like these that pit mothers against each other. So you think it’s ridiculous and offensive that some mothers look out for your kid on the playground? Fine. But I’m willing to bet that if your kid fell out of a tree onto his head, and a mother was standing right there and did absolutely nothing to help him, that you’d be pissed. I, for one, have no problem if another parent helps my small toddler on the playground or spots him when he’s teetering 5 feet in the air on the edge of the platform. I would do the same for their child, because I wouldn’t want to see the child get hurt. I would rather live in a community where parents work together to look out for all the safety of all the children, especially the small ones.

Stacey 4 months ago

What someone would think to see me with my 2-year-old throughout the day. One minute they might be hearing me tell my husband that it’s okay that he’s climbing the bleachers because likely the worst that would happen if he fell would be a broken arm and that he’d learn not to do it that way. Later that day they might be hearing me encouraging him more on the playground. Why? Because he’s getting a bit OCD in regards to dirt and doesn’t necessarily like playing in the mud that I could easily wash off. He’s also getting fearful of lots of different things and while he might have climbed the ladder just fine he might not be able to face going down the slide and needs some help.

Oh, and yes, I do like to play with my kids at the park. I’m a working parent and only get a couple of hours with the kids before they go to bed when we get home and that time is spent making dinner, bathing, etc and not getting to spend any “fun” time with them so on the weekends I look for ways to play with them. I’m still struggling to find that balance. Though, unless your kid asks for help, I’ll let him or her be.

Casey 4 months ago

I’m also somewhere in between, but then, my daughter is 2 1/2. I don’t get a lot of time with her with having to work all day. Even so, when she is on the playground – SHE is the one playing. I don’t get in her way… And unless it’s time to go, it’s clear she’s in danger, or she asks for help, I let her have fun.

I have to admit, though, that for all the kids I’ve seen climbing UP the slides, or hogging the swings, or whatever, mostly I’ve seen bigger kids keeping an eye out for the younger ones, helping them when they needed it, and generally being nice. Most of the ones I see pushing and shoving are the ones who are being helicoptered!

Stacey 4 months ago

Yes, nannying is different than parenting, but wow! You have no idea what kind of a nanny SHE actually is. You also have no idea if that is actually what the parents asked her to do.

Erin 4 months ago

There’s another aspect of this that goes to what the author seems to think is distasteful – actually playing with kids. I understand that, for moms who stay at home, or spend a great deal of time with their kids, the playground may be their break. I get that, and I’m fine with it, and I don’t judge. However, I’m an exec at a tech firm and that means that I don’t see nearly enough of my 2 year old son who things he can climb and attack and play like a 6 year old. This means 2 things – 1) I WANT to play with him. I WANT to climb around in the jungle gym with him, go down the slide behind him (or be at the bottom), and interact with him, and 2) I NEED to be fairly watchful, since he attempts to involve in the activities of much older kids with the blissfully ignorant of danger attitude that a 2 year old sports. Yes, scraping your knee can be a helpful lesson…breaking a bone is not really an ideal outcome for my son or my family. I wish people wouldn’t judge how I parent; I’m passing no judgement on the picnic table mommies.

Faith 4 months ago

I take my kid (3) to the park to play with him, but mostly because I live in an area where we are very often the only ones there… at 3 in the afternoon. When there are other kids, he plays with them. There are way more than two kinds of moms at the park.

Lauren 4 months ago

I actually refuse to help kids do what they can’t do themselves, for the reasons the author mentioned: if they can’t gut up, then they probably can’t get down. “You can do whatever you can do yourself” is my rule for all kids in my orbit, mine as well as others’. I am quite happy to explain how they could achieve their goal, but that’s it. I do feel the pressure from more attentive parents than I, but I’ve pretty consciously decided to go with the ‘takes a village’ theory and act and react accordingly.

JTLA 4 months ago

I am totally a hoverer, and it’s for a lot of the reasons you sited: someone looked like or said they needed some help. I am also confused about the angry tone of this essay, but maybe that’s the point. We think we are being helpful and because we are acting from a place of good intentions, we don’t pick up on the clues that we are annoying other people. Still, more mommy war fodder is annoying. Another fight to divide us.

Emma 4 months ago

Yes, but you are coming from a nanny perspective. Obviously you want to be more free range so you can check out your phone as much as possible. I’ve seen it where I live. All the nannies trying to be all chic with their “you got this” attitude toward the kids, just hoping to catch a few mins to scroll through social media accounts. Nanny-ing is not the same as a mothering and therefore a different level of investment in the well being of the child.

Holly 4 months ago

WORD

Natalie 4 months ago

I’m somewhere in the middle, I definitely stay in the general vicinity of my older child (almost 3), but I let her tackle the climbing ropes and the monkey bars. I’m there for when she asks for my help, but there have been times when I simply told her “you got this, just put your foot up more” or something like that. As I see her gaining more confidence, I’m backing off…besides, now I have a 1 yr old little boy who wants to climb as high as his sister, so I stick close to him for now. My biggest pet peeve though is kids going up the slide while other kids are trying to go down, refusing to budge. It’s just plain inconsiderate and I think it’s up to us as parents to teach our kids to be considerate in a world where there seems to be a drought. Bottom line is, it depends on the kid and depends on the situation. One time I told a 6 yr old to stop throwing wood chips and he started throwing them at me. Parent did not seem to care…so unfortunately the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Aimee 4 months ago

When my son broke his wrist jumping out of a tree, it 1. Taught a valuable life lesson (one shouldn’t jump out of trees from that high up) 2. Breaking a bone hurts a LOT 3. Breaking a bone also gets you a cast that your friends and family sign, and makes for a really funny story later on, but 4. Being in a cast in the summer is a real drag when you can’t go in the pool/lake/other water when all your friends and family are. My dad says “you need to eat a peck of dirt before you die” (from falling down and getting your mouth full of dirt and sand). Life is full of scrapes and booboos. Yes, there are a handful of terrible things that happen to a statistically tiny minority, but really, that’s the rarity. It’s mostly booboos (or broken bones, which heal). My mother did NOT play “with” us…. we kids played with each other. And she’s a fantastic mom – and she “bonded” with us in other ways (not the least of which was personally modeling the value of hard work AND service to the community, rather than allowing us to grow up believing that adults have a lot of time to be on the seesaw…. my mother is the LEAST lazy person I have ever met in my LIFE). Not every mom enjoys playing with their kids. I think that’s totally ok. Parents have only become their children’s Entertainment Center in the last generation or so. Before that, kids figured it out on their own (and were better for it).

Megan 4 months ago

You’re right, Helicopter moms are ruining it for everyone, including their own kids. Not only do they make it so that I can’t enjoy discreetly sipping from my canteen of red wine, they’re interfering with the development of their kids’ confidence. If mom is there to solve every problem for her kid, guess what? Her kid doesn’t learn how to solve problems. Or freaks out and has a huge, tearful meltdown every time he or she gets a scraped knee because when they look up, they see how panicked their mom is over it, and they figure it must be the end of the world by the look on her face and how fast she rushes over. I show gentle concern when my kid hurts herself, but if it’s just a scrape or a wipe-out, I tell her to take a deep breath, shake it off and keep playing. And she does. And every time my kid trips and falls, I don’t have to calm down a shrieking mess. It’s awesome. Same goes for conflict resolution. Unless there is true bullying, abuse, or violence happening, I try not to get involved. Yeah, the kids in my crew, including mine, tattle and whine and act like kids do. But when they do, our canned answer is, “Is anyone bleeding? No? Okay, go play.”

kiki 4 months ago

I tend to agree with this, and I’d like to get there. My kiddo is still pretty young (18mo), so we keep close on the playground. Honestly though? I’m so nervous of the judgement and condemnation from other mothers I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let him just go (as much as I want to) until he’s quite a bit older (6 or 7). I will most likely alter what comes naturally to my parenting style in order to avoid being yelled at by a stranger…because those moms that yell at other moms scare the crap out of me and my parenting style and relationship with my child is just too precious to be opened up to a strangers criticism.

Kallie Dixon 4 months ago

Amen! My kids are billy goats and climb on everything (3 years and 16 months)- I think it’s because we live in a four level split house and they learned to negotiate stairs before they could even walk. People are always gasping and looking at me and I just wish they’d mind their own business! My kids can handle it…and if not, they’ll end up with some minor injury- big deal!!! I spent my entire childhood with scrapes, bruises, and scars and loved every minute of it!

Heather 4 months ago

I guess I only care when what someone else’s kids is doing effects me and mine. There are also some things to consider… the ages of the kids, if they are an only child (first time parents).

I’ve been the person in a grocery store who stood silently next to a cart, as a 2 year old stood up in the top part of it as his mom checked labels. I would never tell someone else’s kid what to do. Instead, I thought I was helping. As another mom, I can’t sit by and watch if I think a child is in danger. Some people would consider this helicoptering- but, I could never forgive myself if I hear that baby’s head hit the concrete from 2 aisles away and know I could’ve helped, until his mom realized what he was doing. I’d want a stranger to do that for me, if I were sidetracked.

This particular mom looked horrified as she had to look up at her son when she turned around- and she yelled at him to sit down. Then, turned her attention to me and looked at me like I was crazy. I thought she’d say thank you- but she gave me the stank eye….. as I walked away I politely said “wanted to make sure he didn’t fall”. Even after reading this, I’d do the same thing today- knowing she wouldn’t have appreciated it.

I’m not judging at all if you want to sit on the bench at the park, but please don’t judge me if I choose to take my kids to a park to play with them- or if I’d rather play than watch. And if a kid asks for my help, and they aren’t mine… I’m probably going to help– b/c, they asked and I’m standing here. Isn’t that a lesson to them? Asking someone for help isn’t a bad thing– even if it’s a stranger at the park? I mean, I’m out here playing right? I’m fair game to play with.

Socialization is an opportunity to teach your kids how to respond. The same helicopter parents at the park will raise kids, who will be alongside your independent kids later…. and your independent kids are going to need to know how to treat them, based on what you teach them through your interactions with others at the park. The helicoptered kids will also need to know how to act in a world with more independent kids.

There are assholes everywhere, me the helicopter parent and you the I don’t take my kid to the park to play with them parent….we have to teach our kids how to treat each other, respectfully at the park- even if we agree that each other are doing it wrong :)

LauraM 4 months ago

I’ve been that mom who rescued a child under two who was climbing on rope ladder, fell backwards, and was hanging upside down crying. His mother didn’t see, and she didn’t hear him, because she was too busy flapping her gums on the other side of the playground. I don’t like touching the children of strangers, so I looked around frantically, and could not spot his mother. So, I untangled his feet and carried him around asking, “Whose baby is this?” I told her what happened and she smiled. Give me a break. Then I was recently at a park and a 3 year-old girl was running by herself. No mother in site. The little girl hid underneath a structure. We coxed her out and stayed with her until her mother finally showed up. She could have been kidnapped or lost. She was a preschooler, which is obviously too young to be allowed to roam free like this out of the eyesight of her mother. So hands-off moms who don’t watch your kids at all in public, enjoy your time talking while other people babysit your kids and save them from injury.

Sarah 4 months ago

Thank you, I had this happen at the laundromat. My child stood on the two step plastic step and was trying to figure out how to get to the table from there. Not high up and he is two and a half and I get an intervention telling me to help him. I was like either he will get up there or he’ll climb back down, it’s not like it’s at the heights of a playground. I’ve even had someone wipe my child’s face before I can get to it. Sheesh watch your own children unless you believe they are in genuine danger of getting hurt. You would have never gotten this mentality 20 years ago.

Denise 4 months ago

I’m making a short list of stuff I’ve seen- a kid run over by a school bus ending up with a brain injury, 10 year old kid falling down the school stairs and ending up in a wheelchair, student being molested by a teacher and having PTSD.

I have seen kids injured in car wrecks, but I still drive my kids. I know kids who lost their vision/hearing due to accidents and injuries- on their way to doctor’s offices for treatment for other things. Football injuries, soccer injuries, cheerleading injuries, dance issues (TBI, Spinal Cord, joint/muscle issues. All life time issues.)

Yet, I will pick my daughters up from school to take to the doctor’s tomorrow, and yes, I will drive them. Afterwards, one goes to cheerleading, the other to soccer. Because I know how rare it is- and I care enough to educate myself.

I have seen mothers so consumed by anxiety of being a parent that they refuse to allow their children to live. I tend to allow space to make mistakes, to socialize and learn independence not because I’m lazy, but because I want my children to be functioning adults who don’t do drugs, don’t run crazy, and are used to making decisions- because if the worst happens, they need to have the tools that independent play give them.

So glare at me all you want. I am not lazy, I’m parenting. Interfer at your own risk

Julie Hecht 4 months ago

**Coming from a former Nanny**

I have seen the judgmental looks and the general mother helicoptering. Obviously there are some parks that cater to the smaller tots and some that are more expansive and build for the older kids. I traveled all around Chicago to a bunch of different parks to give the kiddos some variety.

I subscribe to the “they will figure it out” camp of nannying. I spent most of the day being overly invested in their activities and on a stricter schedule (per the parents requests) and to me, the park is the one time where I get to enjoy some nice weather and a break from being coped up inside. I never really talked with the other nannys or moms for a host of reasons. I generally didn’t mind when another mom “helped” or kept a general eye on the playground, but what I didn’t like was when they made comments. They were never in real danger so the comments were never necessary. Here are the most notable exchanges:

Her “Excuse me, he can’t get his wheel barrel around that corner”.
Me “Is he hurting someone or going to hurt himself?”
Her “No”.
Me “The he will figure it out”

“UM um HE IS IN THAT TREE OVER THERE.. not on the play set!”
“Yes I am aware. He asked. I gave permission as we are outside and the tree is small. (climbing trees is natures playground and gives kids the ability to get creative and not have a prescriptive step.)”

I understand the need to pay closer attention to the smaller kids, esp. when they have siblings that they are trying to keep up with. Letting kids problem solve and test limits is a huge part of the playground experience and I would love for all parents to remember that. If he can get the wheel barrel around the corner then he can tackle the next bigger challenge in his little life. : )

BitchesLoveCoffee 4 months ago

I think the problem with us all just “getting along and not judging each other” comes from when we overlap – be it because our kid asks for help, or someone freaks out upon seeing a naked toddler in the neighbor’s yard and calls the cops, or ruins our trip to target by being an unparented little shithead who throws things while his mom is two aisles over laughing at home and he hit my bad ankle with a heavy fucking toy and I spilled some of my coffee and FUCK YOU LADY TAKE YOUR TODDLER IN HAND.

*ahem*

There’s overlap. It gets complicated. And the shitty parents ruin it for the chill parents, over and over. And the hyperactive “did you take your Xanax today lady?” parents ruin it for the helpful/cautious ones.

Sharon 4 months ago

I feel like you’re being a little too aggressive. There are many “remote control parents” that are still keeping a keen watchful eye out. And there are plenty of us that do way more then our fair share of fun stuff with the kids. And often even kids that aren’t ours. But the playground is kids turf, as it were.
I’m sorry that the playgrounds in your neighborhood are scary dangerous places where children get hurt. While I never want to see any child taken away in an ambulance or go away with a broken bone, I’m also very aware of studies about children. Did you know that a child that has broken a bone before the age of 7 is a larger risk taker later in life? And that those risk takers often live happier, more fulfilling lives? You know why? It’s because they know that getting hurt isn’t the end of the world. They will heal. They can get back up. And life goes on.
Again, I’m sorry that your playgrounds are deathtraps. Perhaps instead of deriding other parents you should organize your community to repair, update or shut down the playgrounds in your area so they can be safe places for your children to play and learn.

Sharon 4 months ago

Yes! Thank you!

Of course I have to admit that I have had and do have hover days I’m much more of a sit on the side kinda mom. Why can’t we let our kids be kids anymore? How will they know that they can do things on their own if we never let them *gasp* do things on their own? So what if they scrape their knees or get dirty? That’s what being a kid is about because then they get to learn that they will heal or it IS in fact possible to get clean.

There is so very much more learned on the playground that you can never teach at home or while hovering that I feel you do a dis-service to your child if you don’t let them run off and learn those things. How else are you going to allow them to learn how to make friends, set their own boundaries, test their limits, learn their personal limitations and safely overcome them, learn how to police themselves and so very very much more?

If your kid isn’t allowed to run NOW what happens when it’s time for them to go off into the real world on their own? That’s not really a chance I’m willing to take. Sure make sure that you’re a safe place for them to land when they’re sad or hurt. But I say give them a little freedom now so that by the time they’re really free they know how to manage that freedom.

Martha 4 months ago

Have you ever seen a kid being kicked in the head by another kid on the swing? I have. I’ve also seen that kid being taken away in an ambulance because he wasn’t responding. I’ve also witnesses a kid probably breaking her arm after climbing where she shouldn’t have been climbing, but there was no one to tell her that. In both cases the moms were sitting on the bench, and in both cases the kids were far too young to be on their own. So yoh kniw what? Scew your stupid playground “rules”! My only rule is ro make sure that my kid comes back home without a brain injury or a wheelchair! The only reason you “modern” moms inforcs these ridiculous rules is because most of you are to lazy to lift your butt and actually have some fun with your kids. With all the time you spend not being around for your kids, a mere hour at the park won’t kill you! How about bonding with your offspring? Oh no, right, you were busy “teaching” your kid to be independent. Sorry, my bad. Well guess what, the only thing you’re teaching your kid is that mommy won’t help then climb the ladder, but this stranger will. Good job lazy. And yes, I hover, and I’m proud of it. And I don’t go around shamimg other moms for trying to keep their kids safe. Shame on you, you pathetic remote control parent!

Shelley DeRouen 4 months ago

As a seasoned Mom of boys and an Operating Room nurse, I’d like to speak to the other viewpoint…..I’ve seen too many kids with bashed up heads and fractured necks, so it makes me a tad nervous to see them teetering up there as well. Even worse are the “shopping basket” kids, who, while Mom is comparing labels (nothing wrong with that), end up on the ground with an injury. I’m guilty of “helicoptering” them back into their seats, getting the stinkeye from their mother…hey, I grew up in the days of no seat belts, riding to the beach in the bed of the pickup truck, racing our dirtbikes down paved roads, so I am no wimp. Childhood is full of challenges, for kids and parents 😉 Here’s to hoping no harm comes to our precious kiddos as they explore their world….

Fiona 4 months ago

Oh my gosh I totally get this!! I like to leave my kids alone at the playground while I read a book. I play with them at home, I took them to the park so they could play without me. I hate it when other parents stick their noses into my kids business. If my kid is doing something that it totally not okay and might hurt another kid I intervene but damn people back off. I’ve had to leave several playgrounds because the hoover mothers were harassing my kids so much and I didn’t want to get into a argument with some stranger.

Heather 4 months ago

I agree with what others are saying… I’m somewhere in the middle. I let my kids climb ladders and toys by themselves and do some chatting, but I also like to keep an eye on my kiddos – I have a 3 year old and a 1.5 year old who sometimes does need help even if they are both very independent. While I may not keep all the playground rules, yeah, I’m going to give you the stink-eye if your child is is too big to be on the equipment and is pushing other kids and being way too rough and you aren’t doing anything. It’s incredibly frustrating to be a parent of tiny kids and then have much older kids running around knocking them over and playing on equipment that is not for them. If your kids are well behaved, I don’t care if you’re chatting with your mom friends. I do go to the park to play with my kids, though. I may not actually hover underneath them, but I’m going to walk around from a distance to make sure I can see them – usually because they want me to see them and interact with them.

Parenting is rarely black and white – there are many gray areas and I think all of these labels and judging is not helping.

ack 4 months ago

Well said! There are definitely gray areas. I agree that kids should be left to play by themselves, but sometimes my kids won’t try something unless I’m with them the first time or so. And like you said, other kids have definitely asked me to help them with something even though I was ignoring them until that point. So if I give you the stink-eye, it’s because I came to the park to be with my kids,not yours. Blahblahblah, I’m sure there are more examples, but what’s the point? The main point is to be flexible to do whatever seems right at the time and stop feeling defensive about how you do things.

N 4 months ago

I agree with the above. I go to a playground to play with my kid, and let them play as well. All this black and white thinking is so aggravating. Being in a public space with other parents and kids means dealing with other parenting methods, and the less bitter judgement we can manage to fling each other’s way, the better.

Kathleen 4 months ago

Yeah, I’m in between these. My 3 year old has successfully climbed ladders (the high ones though, she wants help with) gone down the highest, twistiest slides, and climbed a faux rock wall meant for 5-12 year olds (I totally took a picture of her doing that). I hover over my 1 year old because he still puts things in his mouth. But I DO enforce the playground rules. Sorry if that makes me lame but I’m not going to have some kid (or MY kid) get hurt or learn that it’s okay to break the rules just because she wants to climb up the slide or jimmy open a locked gate on the top of the slide (just saw that the other day, and YEAH, I looked around for a parent because there’s a reason park officials have closed off that slide and you just know they’d be the parents that would sue if something happened). I take my kids to the park for lots of reasons, one of which is to play with them.

So I guess I’m somewhere between free-range and helicopter parent. And yes, I’ll help other kids if they need help. I probably won’t stink eye the parent unless I happen to know they’ve spent the entire time ignoring their toddler while talking/texting/doing whatever on their cell phone.

erica 4 months ago

I swear I’m not getting my panties in a twist here, but I feel like I can speak from the other side on this one. I’ve done this – I’ve helped other people’s kids (sometimes ’cause they ask me) , I’ve worried about other people’s kids going too high, too far… I admit it. My kids were little and I did hover. I really didn’t do it just to stink-eye someone, I was actually trying to be a good person. I was there, a kid needed help… I do it less now that my kids are older, so maybe these “hoverers” aren’t thinking bad things about you, they just have a different approach to the park. And I agree with Gail (above) – this feels unnecessarily divisive. It’s a vicious circle – you judge her because you think she’s judging you…

Gail 4 months ago

So…I feel like there are some gray areas here. I, too, enjoy me some good mama chatting time at the park while kiddos run hog wild. My 5 and 3 year olds do just fine on their own. I do, unfortunately, have to do a little hovering with the newly turned one year old (who thinks he is 5 and climbs deftly up the large climbers). While hovering, I sometimes encounter other people’s children who ASK ME FOR FREAKING HELP!?! Just the other day, I was helping me one year old navigate a too-large climber and a little girl or 3 or 4 reaches her hand out for help. She wasn’t very sure-footed and I felt guilty not helping her. But then I got the stink eye from her mom, as if I was helicoptering her! I am so tired of all of these divisive categories that we put mamas in – helicopter moms, free-range moms, attachment moms, etc etc….can we all just get along and stop judging each other?