The Remedy for Our Helicopter Parenting

To helicopter-mother is to hover over others with the intent of controlling them

You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter mom” in regard to how some moms tend to obsessively overparent. Child psychologists in the West have been documenting this social trend and publishing their opinion papers online. Sometimes grim forecasts are given for kids parented in this manner: depression, anxiety, poor performance in school, and financial issues.

 

Missional motherhood is not just for women who’ve physically given birth or for those who’ve adopted children born from the body of another. Every single Christian woman is called to make disciples of all nations. We all must labor, prayerfully expecting God to mercifully grant people new birth in Christ. Since Jesus is worthy to receive worship from the image bearers he’s created, every human being is worthy of our effort in this endeavor of discipleship.

In this sense, no Christian woman is child-free.

Every woman in Christ is called to pass the gospel on to the next generation, who will pass the gospel onto the next generation, and so forth. The aim of our motherhood, then, is to declare the good news “to a people yet unborn” (Ps. 22:31). We share the gospel because we know nothing else will give our children the strength and motivation to give their own lives in making disciples.

In theory, we affirm this mission is worth our lives. But in reality, if you ask me if it’s worth trading my comfort, I hesitate. In these moments I’m not so sure I agree with Paul that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). But what if mothers really believed any and every death to self in the cause of Christ was gain? How would it change the way we shepherd children and other women?

Land Your Helicopter

Even though he was speaking to American Christians, David Platt’s words apply to any believer tempted to live for the world:

You and I stand on the porch of eternity. Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel he has entrusted to us. When that day comes, I’m convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to live the American dream.

As we remember eternity and embrace death for Christ as gain, then our lives will change.

One change I predict is that we’ll stop helicopter-mothering ourselves and the people around us. To helicopter-mother is to hover over others with the intent of controlling them and/or the circumstances surrounding them. You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter mom” in regard to how some moms tend to obsessively overparent. Child psychologists in the West have been documenting this social trend and publishing their opinion papers online. Sometimes grim forecasts are given for kids parented in this manner: depression, anxiety, poor performance in school, and financial issues.

In her article “Helicopter Parenting—It’s Worse Than You Think,” Hara Estroff Marano worries that “independence took a great leap backward” with the rise of helicopter parents. When we eliminate risks for our children, she reasons, we will “rob kids of self-sufficiency.” Marano, a psychologist, believes the state of parenting is “worse than we think.” No woman wants any of these things for her children or the people she nurtures.

I’ve heard Christian parents say they loathe the helicoptering trend, but we recognize a problem that’s even worse than the loss of independence: we inadvertently model for our children that God’s faithfulness isn’t dependable.

The overarching consequence of obsessive overparenting is that by failing to live out the truth of the big story, we fail to pass on the big story.

Helicopter parenting subconsciously teaches our disciples that though God may seem so big, so strong, and so mighty, he’s really no bigger than we are. God isn’t mighty to save, but Mommy is.

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