WDYD - Partner is helicopter parent but not you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh has always been a loving protective parent but lately, since Dd#1 turned 3 and is being more active and social, he's really turned into a helicopter parent. She's now 3.5yo.

She's never allowed more than 6 feet away from him, even at the playground. She's not allowed upstairs or downstairs if a parent isn't on the same floor. If she is, she's asked "What are you doing", every few minutes. If she's playing with another kid on the playground, Dh is monitoring the situation and is within 4-5 feet away, even if the kid is the most docile calm child.

She's never been watched by another adult other than by grandparents. Dh is suspicious of any adult who complements our Dds and actively (read: physically) shields them away from strangers. God forbid they speak to her!

This is driving me insane!

I'm a SAHM with them 12hrs a day, 5-6 days a week and not only can I not live up to Dh's expectations, I DON'T WANT TO! I believe its good for kids to make friends on their own and I am comfortable monitoring the situation from 10-12 feet away, as long as I can see Dd. I leave her alone on the playground. I allow her upstairs and down, on her own, as long as I know what she's up to.

I also have a 15mo Dd to take care of and I simply can't be everywhere for everyone at all times. Dh on the other hand has never had to take care of the 2 of them together for longer than 2 hrs.

I can't get it through to him to lighten up and let go. WWYD?

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#2 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 04:09 AM
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Leave him alone with the two of them for more than 2 hours?
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#3 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 04:31 AM
 
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Oh crud, that's a hard one. I know my DH is more protective than I am, but not that bad. I think you need to talk about it, find out why he's doing it.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#4 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 04:48 AM
 
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Was your dh abused as a child?
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#5 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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No advice. I wish my DH were more like your DH, at least a little bit. He's the complete opposite.

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#6 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 10:05 AM
 
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My 1st thought was whether not your husband was abused as a child too. If so I think that will require professional help.

Has he said or done anything to give you the idea that he expects tou to parent the way that he does? Maybe parenting this way is just works for him. If he does expect you to parent this way I would just explain my philosophy maybe back it up with a narticle or some infor from a book and then I would just parent the way I think is right.

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#7 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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Spend a weekend as a Helicopter Wife. Seriously . . . show him what it feels like.

One of the things I do to help my husband is that I explain, if we wouldn't do It to another adult, or if we would get arrested for doing IT to an adult, or if doing It to an adult would cause that adult to choose to stop being around us . . . then don't do It to a child. That really seems to help him "get" the way I parent. He'll never parent exactly the same way I do, but I at least want us in the same ballpark, kwim?

Good luck,
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#8 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whalemilk View Post
Leave him alone with the two of them for more than 2 hours?
My 15mo is very attached to me and Dh insists that she can't be away from me that long due to BF-ing. This is another example of his "helicoptering"..

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Was your dh abused as a child?
Not as far as I know. His older sister was, but that didn't come to light till Dh was in his middle teens and his sister had cut off his family.

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Originally Posted by nannymom View Post
My 1st thought was whether not your husband was abused as a child too. If so I think that will require professional help.

Has he said or done anything to give you the idea that he expects tou to parent the way that he does? Maybe parenting this way is just works for him. If he does expect you to parent this way I would just explain my philosophy maybe back it up with a narticle or some infor from a book and then I would just parent the way I think is right.
Well, when we're together he will take charge of the 3.5yo and I look after the 15mo, for example at the park. I will let the 15mo wander away from me about 10 feet or so (plain grassy field, no other person or animal remotely nearby) and Dh will get on my case for letting her wander so far.

He shadows the 3.5yo, even going so far as to LIFT her onto play structures when she plainly knows how to climb on.

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Spend a weekend as a Helicopter Wife. Seriously . . . show him what it feels like.

One of the things I do to help my husband is that I explain, if we wouldn't do It to another adult, or if we would get arrested for doing IT to an adult, or if doing It to an adult would cause that adult to choose to stop being around us . . . then don't do It to a child. That really seems to help him "get" the way I parent. He'll never parent exactly the same way I do, but I at least want us in the same ballpark, kwim?

Good luck,
I don't think I could do that. What you're suggesting is that I treat my Dds like adults but really I can't. They're only 3.5yo and 15mo, and they still need to be shadowed so that they don't run into the street, pick up rocks and store them in their mouth (15mo only), etc. These are things I wouldn't expect an adult to do, but I WOULD expect it from my kids.

Mama to Emma (7) and Sarah (5)

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#9 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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I don't think I could do that. What you're suggesting is that I treat my Dds like adults but really I can't. They're only 3.5yo and 15mo, and they still need to be shadowed so that they don't run into the street, pick up rocks and store them in their mouth (15mo only), etc. These are things I wouldn't expect an adult to do, but I WOULD expect it from my kids.
I guess I wasn't entirely clear. My bad. By "It" I meant wrt disrespect or hovering or not trusting a child to do something that physically and emotionally, they are capable of doing and which they *want* to do. No, my kids did not play in the yard unsupervised when they were 3. That would have been idiotic, and that is *not* what I'm suggesting.

But if my husband wouldn't, say, let them slide down the slide without him right there holding their hands -- well, would you make an adult accept help they didn't want? No. So, if the child has said, "Daddy I can do it myself!" and Daddy refuses to let the child do it . . . that's disrespect. If done often enough and long enough, that kind of behavior tells the child that you don't believe in their self-confidence . . . which I suspect is what you are worried about, anyway. Have you tried presenting it to your dh in those terms?

Yes, age-appropriateness is a essential. But within the boundaries of age-appropriateness, don't do It to a child if you wouldn't do It to an adult.

Or is the whole issue that perhaps your dh doesn't know what constitutes age appropriate?
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#10 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 01:55 PM
 
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It sounds like he's not around her enough and doesn't know her level of skills. My mom does this with ds. She will put him on the playstructure without letting him climb because she doesn't know that he's actually a terrific climber. She also doesn't know how he is with other kids so she hovers a lot at the playground. I, on the other hand know exactly what ds's skill level is and I know what he can and can't handle.
I let ds be on another level of our house without me but I can't imagine my mom being comfortable with that.

I just remind my mom to 'calm down'. And to give ds some space.

Maybe it would be a good idea to let him go to the park with both kids. And if he can only have the kids for 2 hours at a time, maybe do that frequently. He could watch both of them twice a week?

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#11 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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I wonder if men worry about their daughters more... and tell their sons to be tough and not cry. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys is a good book about raising sons. I think there is a sister book about girls that might help your dp examine his assumptions and concerns if he'd e willing to read it.

Hope you get it figure out. It's hard not having a partner on the same page as you.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#12 of 21 Old 10-04-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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ellaine, no real advice, but I'd just suggest having friendly, open, honest conversations with your dh about it -- what are his fears, and what are *truly* the best ways of preventing those fears from happening. Kids do need to feel that their parents have confidence in them, and to have confidence in themselves, in order to learn where their own boundaries lie, and how to live within them and how to comfortably stretch their own comfort zone to achieve their goals throughout their lives. they learn from making mistakes, as well, so if you're always there to correct them, or to prevent them from making mistakes, that doesn't really do them any good either. He's not with them most of the time, though, so his hovering probably won't do any damage, except for maybe damage to their relationship... but not necessarily, if he's sort of a quiet hoverer, rather than an in-your-face hoverer.

Perhaps one reason he doesn't want to have them for more than 2 hours on his own is because it's exhausting to hover so much!! Maybe encourage him to just watch her from a distance on the playground, ready to help if she needs it, but not making her feel like she's incompetent. on the other hand, she might like having her dad's full attention, since he works outside the home. where it gets tricky with you guys, I imagine, is in his expectation that you parent the same way -- stand strong in your convictions that you will parent in the way you feel is best for your girls, and he can parent how he feels is best, but he has no authority over your parenting. obviously, they're his kids too, but it's impossible to have a rational discussion about this if you feel defensive at all, so just know that it's not in any way neglectful to parent the way you do. you don't necessarily have to change his parenting, but he needs to recognize that your philosophy is equally valid.

I guess I did have advice after all!

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#13 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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My DH is somewhat like this. He's loosened up a little over the years. I think it is so funny that he won't let the kids get one store ahead of them in the mall and I let them run for a few stores before calling them back. He used to get pretty scared about me taking them anywhere by myself in case something happened to them. Maybe your situation will get better with time? Can you just both choose to agree to disagree and parent accordingly? I mean you do have a pretty good track record for never having lost or allowed harm to come one of your kids right?
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#14 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 02:07 AM
 
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Hi, Ellaine. Sorry - no suggestions for dealing with it. I'll think about it some. I've had enough trouble adjusting to dh's playground style, and he only helicopters because he's legally blind and he can't see the kids from a distance to know if they've bolted or something. Before I really understood that, his up-close thing drove me nuts - and I think I'm overprotective on the playground as it is. I hope you can find a way to discuss this effectively. It sounds frustrating.

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#15 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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my dh also tends to helicopter a lot more than I do. I think that it is partially because he is away from dd so much that any time he spends with her, he wants to spend with her...not watching her play with other kids.

I let her out into the central area of our complex to play with the other kids and watch from the window. I'm comfortable with this because she has boundaries and there are many other children doing the same thing and looking out for each other. It's also far from a busy street.

This summer, I suggested that if he did want to hang out on the playground with dd...that he bring a book to the playground in front of our house. I think that I said something like, "I've noticed that dd is really getting into imaginative play with the other kids. If you want to hang out and watch, maybe bring a book so they don't notice?" He does this now. This also reduces the amount of time he spends coordinating all of the kids on the playground - as the only adult there, he feels like he needs to monitor their play.

I start from the idea that I am confident in dd's abilities, at an age-appropriate level, of course! I also am a big believer in playing with her when I feel good about playing...and doing housework and projects some of the time.

Can you spend some time in a safe but interesting environment together as a family, where you and dh sit back and the children explore? Perhaps that would be an easy way to break in the idea for your dh. I've been trying to do that with dd. For example, we went to Cates Park and dd explored the beach and the forest around where I was sitting. Maybe if it is a situation with fewer other kids, that would take away one of the things your dh is worried about?

I actually get a lot more hovery around playground equipment and when dd is with children we don't know.

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#16 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 10:16 AM
 
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It sounds like he's not around her enough and doesn't know her level of skills.
I agree. Except in our situation, my DH isn't around our kids enough but when he "is" around them he thinks our 6 yr old DD is a tough girl by her attitude around him at certain times of the day and she isn't. He plays a little too rough and talks too loud to her and never tries to do anything calmly with her. She would probably love to have him just sit and play dolls with her or just enjoy quiet time with her sometimes but he never does it because he thinks she doesn't want to do it. It drives me absolutely crazy.

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#17 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks gals, for the advice!

Yes, I do think his behaviour stems from not being around the girls much. He spends maybe a day in total over the weekend and maybe 1hr on the weekdays with them, between getting home from work and bedtime. He definately doesn't see their development.

I'm going to try to get him to take the two of them out by himself more often. Heck, I'd appreciate some "me" time. I'll have to work hard on convincing him though that Dd#2 can indeed stay alive without me there.

I did try the tactic of parenting differently from Dh and making it known to him, even going so far as to discuss philosophy with him, but then he throws back the "Madeline" and "Micheal" (missing child from Victoria) cases back at me stating that if those cases ever happened, I it would be MY fault. Grrrr....

What do you say to a statement like that?

Statements like that just blow me over the top and I end up stuttering and can't discuss things rationally after that.:

Mama to Emma (7) and Sarah (5)

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#18 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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He should read Protecting the Gift.

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#19 of 21 Old 10-05-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Tell him that neither child had a parent 12 feet away and watching at the time. 2 feet, 12 feet, in safe sight. All the same.
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#20 of 21 Old 10-06-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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He sounds a lot like how I was when dd was this age. I slowly scaled back on this as dd got more and more capable of playing nicely and started wanting space from me to play. It may be that she is wanting him to stay that close because she doesn't see him much and she may be asking him to lift her onto things. This extra attention and help makes a child feel special and loved and some children go through phases of demanding it, dd would do this a lot when I worked out of the house a lot and even now she asks to be picked up and held and smiles when I hold her even though she can walk herself. It is a bonding thing done because she wants to bond and it really doesn't seem to have made her shy, in fact I wish she would be a little less outgoing, talk to less people, and need me just a little in new situations because I really hate new situations and talking to strangers. I also had absolutely no supervision at playgrounds and my mom doesn't really believe in supervision now for kids so I really have a hard time seeing this as one of those things that absolutely has to be done either your way or his way because otherwise the damage will be to great.

I think you should let him do what he feels is right in this matter. He is not the only one doing this. At the playgrounds in my area there are a lot of parents who are right there with their children like this, especially when there are a lot of parents and kids around. Some of them even follow their kids on the equipment and limit what they can even step near.
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#21 of 21 Old 10-06-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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I totally agree that he is entitled to parent the way he wants to, and it might serve you well to just let him parent however he likes...

at the same time, he needs to trust you to parent the way you want to as well. Being parents together requires a lot of trust...

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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