No matter how much they might love their kids, at some point, parents need to learn to draw firm boundaries. You can’t still baby your child when they’re in their 20s, 30s, and…40s. Except, unfortunately, there are some helicopter parents who do that.
Today we’re featuring some of the most extreme cases of helicopter parenting ever, as shared in this viral r/AskReddit thread. Scroll down to see just how intense some parents can get when it comes to protecting their little (and not-so-little) munchkins from the big bad world. And if you feel like sharing, why not tell us about the very worst cases of over-the-top parenting that you’ve seen, dear Pandas?
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Helicopter parents get their name from the fact that they ‘hover’ over their kids and pay extremely close attention to their lives. No problem or challenge can be kept secret from them. No event will remain hidden for long. And God forbid that you stand in their way or you do anything to even slightly inconvenience their kids.
Bored Panda reached out to Lenore Skenazy to have a chat about helicopter parenting, why parents do it, and what can be done to stop it. Lenore is the president of Let Grow, the nonprofit promoting childhood independence, and author of ‘Free-Range Kids: How Parents and Teachers can Let Go and Let Grow.’
“Parents don’t set out to helicopter—it’s boring, nerve-wracking, and takes a ton of time—but our society has made it almost impossible NOT to helicopter,” she told us.
My brother was injured in a training accident in the Israeli army. It wasn’t life threatening but it was a pretty messy injury that needed immediate care. For some reason the base commander tried to hide the injury and refused to send my brother to the hospital. Instead he sent him to the camp medic who took one look at my brother and said “here, have some morphine and holy god I’m going to call for help”. My brother asked him to call my mom.
My mom, a military police colonel at the time, commandeered a helicopter along with a squad of MP’s. She then flew up into Lebanon where my brother was based, landed in the middle of his base, ordered her way into the medical tent while setting the MP’s outside as guards, loaded my brother into the chopper and evacced him out.
To be fair, she’s a great mom who usually lets us fail on our own, but you asked for helicopter parenting examples and it doesn’t get more helicopter parent than actually commandeering a helicopter to go take care of your son!
Image credits: AnonMSme
According to childhood independence expert Lenore Skenazy, modern society is structured in such a way that parents almost inevitably start helicoptering.
“Schools expect parents to drop off and pick up their children—at least here in America they do—and they often expect them to stick around for ‘Reading Buddies’ and various class events. Then, after school, if a child is not in some extracurricular activity or sports program, there may not be any other kids left to just play with in the park,” she explained the situation to Bored Panda.
“So even the non-helicopter parent ends up enrolling their kid in a sport or activity, too, and sometimes they are required to stay and watch, and sometimes the sport meets five days a week! And after that, there’s a lot of homework the parents are expected to oversee, and reading time, and teeth-brushing supervision, and pretty soon an adult has been by the child’s side, directing their every move, for most of the day.”
Mine. I was 20 years old and still not allowed out of the house without my mom, and I had to hold hands crossing the street. I never had a job, never learned to cook, all because I was in her words going to live with her forever.
I got a boyfriend, even though I’d never been allowed to visit anyone’s house. Ever. She asked to see his SS and birth certificate to prove he was the age he said he was.
I told her I wanted to move out and she freaked. Called police and told them I was mentally unstable, told them I wasn’t ready for the outside world.
The police believed her and it took me a full year to actually escape. I even had relatives parked outside at night to make sure I didn’t leave.
I’m now 23 and slowly adjusting to the world but it’s hard. I can cook but driving is hard. I have no social skills. I don’t know how to talk to people.
And she still asks me to come home every day via text.
Image credits: anon
I had a mother turn up at my work place accusing me of racism that I didn’t hire her daughter. We’re a very multicultural practice and myself and 2 other people are white English, 6 Indian staff, 2 Greek, 2 Nigerian, 3 Chinese and 3 Pakistani. I took her to our photo wall of staff and asked her why she thinks I was racist and she said that her daughter “looked more Indian than the other staff”… Her daughter, who was more than qualified, didn’t get the job for a couple of reasons:
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1 – She refused to put her phone away during the interview in case her mother phoned. 2 – Her mother phoned more than 10 times – she answered every call. 3 – She asked if she could keep her mum on the phone to listen into the interview in case she needed help to answer my questions.
How could she run a practice if she needed to have her mum help her at the interview?!
Image credits: darkerthanmysoul
Lenore stressed the fact that helicopter parenting has become such a norm that trying to do things differently, the old-fashioned way, can land someone in trouble for supposed neglect.
“When a parent really wants to raise a ‘Free-Range Kid’—a kid with some old-fashioned freedom to do things like play outside or even help out by running an errand—they worry that some busybody with a phone will call the cops to report a neglected child! So I don’t blame parents for helicoptering. They are forced to by the way our modern world refuses to believe kids can do anything safely or successfully on their own.”
My wife being a teacher had to deal with this on a regular basis. Usually, she would have that parent do menial tasks so they would not bother the class. One parent became so overbearing (demanding to see lesson plans, making my wife take class time to re-explain subjects), my wife deliberately left a quiz out. This parent took the quiz and slipped her kid the answers. Knowing the kid was not a good student, my wife got the parent to fess up to taking the test and passing the answers. This went to the principal, and he banned her from the class. The parent made multiple complaints, even going to a district meeting. The school board held up the ban.
Image credits: Fanabala3
I knew a mother who kept her 5-year-old daughter in diapers when they went out of the house because she didn’t want her using public restrooms. Because the girl sitting in her own excrement was much better for her health, apparently.
Image credits: murderousbudgie
One lady we had over was shocked that my (at the time) 9 year old younger brother could dress himself and brush his teeth.
Claiming that he was “so mature” and that her daughter age 9, couldn’t do anything like that.
My mom immediately realized it was helicopter parenting and had a long talk with her. I hope that little girl has learned how to dress herself and do lots of other basics now.
Image credits: JitterJitter
However, it’s not a done deal that we have to resign ourselves to a future chock full of helicopter parents. Lenore shared some spot-on advice with us on how to change the situation and create a healthier, happier family environment.
“The best and I think ONLY way to stop helicoptering is to gently push parents into letting go, even one time, so they can see how fantastic it feels to them AND their kids. That’s what The Let Grow Project makes happen,” she said.
“The Project is an independence-building program for schools created by the nonprofit I run, and it’s free! Any teacher, counselor, or principal can download The Let Grow Project right here. It’s basically a homework assignment teachers give their students that says, ‘Go home and do one new thing on your own, without your parents.’ The kids, anywhere from age 5 through 15, then talk with their parents about something they feel they’re ready to do but haven’t done yet, like walk to school, go to the store, climb a tree…you name it,” she went into detail about the Let Grow Project.
As a kid, my sister had a friend and went over to her house quite a bit to hang out with her. The friend lived in a very nice, quiet neighborhood.
After a day of hanging with her friend at her house, my sister told me that her friend’s parents had placed cameras in her room. The camera was also equipped with a microphone to not only hear what was going on in her room, but also to speak to the child.
My sister told stories after coming home about the Mom calling in to the room to sometimes tell them to stop doing an activity or to be a little more quiet. THIS WOMAN WAS WATCHING THEIR EVERY MOVE AND LISTENING TO THEIR EVERY CONVERSATION!
I feel bad for the girl, honestly. To me that’s a huge invasion of privacy, as well as it is extremely creepy in general.
If it were me, I’d throw every camera installed in the room straight out the window, or at the Mom. Whichever.
Image credits: arthomas0205
Had a mother call me to find out why her son didn’t get the job.
And an attorney.
Image credits: voice_of_craisin
Military recruiting – the helicopter parents who would try to have us recruit their kid without their consent were staggering. Parents would call to make appointments for testing, and were furious when we said we had to speak to the kid. If the kid is a minor, the parents have to sign a waiver, and at that point we can no longer give any information to the parent, so some parents would call and pose as their child in order to get test results, book appointments, and so on. Some parents even tried to attend the testing with their child and were furious when we said no.
Then, invariably, when little Johnny got turned down for being a s*** pump with no initiative, we’d get an earful from Mommy about how their child is the most special human being on the earth. Those were the fun times when I could say “have you stopped to consider that Johnny isn’t getting a job because he has no initiative or desire to be here based on a parent pushing him into a career he doesn’t want, rather than him being allowed to make his own choices?” Usually didn’t go over well, and then I’d hang up.
Image credits: flotiste
“The family agrees on a Project and off the kid goes. The parent is uncomfortable for a little while and probably the kid is too. But when that child comes BACK—flushed and happy and proud—it breaks the ice of fear in BOTH generations! The parent is thrilled to see their child blossoming into a competent, confident young adult. The child is thrilled that their parents believed in them.”
Lenore shared with us this 2-minute video about “elementary school kids talking about their Let Grow Projects and parents saying things like, Now my daughter is having the kind of childhood I had. She DOES things now, she’s not just on a screen.’”
Meanwhile, another 2-minute video shows three teachers talking about how the Let Grow Project helped kids get back to normal after all the disruptions of Covid. “Finally, here’s an ‘at home’ version, The Let Grow Independence Kit, for parents to download, too. It’s free, too,” Lenore shared some resources that can help boost kids’ independence and help helicopter parents change their ways.
I was a manager of a bagel store. Had an interview with a kid, I think he was about 16.
His dad came to the interview, and basically answered every single question I asked the kid.
At the end of the interview I turned to the dad and said “You’re hired.”, look on his face was priceless. The kid laughed his ass off.
Image credits: xBlackBartx
I used to teach middle school. The teacher next to me had given a 6th grade girl a C on a paper because it didn’t meet the proper criteria.
Mom was livid and came into the school furious about the grade.
After the teacher and Mom went back and forth about the grade, the Mom blurts:
“I HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE AND I TOOK WRITING COURSES FOR FOUR YEARS, AND I WROTE THIS PAPER. ARE YOU TELLING ME I CAN’T GET AN ‘A’ ON A 6TH GRADE ASSIGNMENT?”
The teacher stuck to her guns, but never answered the question.
Image credits: anymanfitness
My sister is a freshman in college, and her roommate has an absolute psycho helicopter mom. They’re both on the cross country team and very good students. My sister said the roommate never drinks or goes out, but her mom tracks her through phone GPS and will text her constantly asking why she’s at such and such place.
My sister said one time they were at Wal-Mart getting groceries, and her mom called her to ask why she was at Wal-Mart at 9pm. Another time, they drove to my other sister’s (she lives in the same town) apartment to pick something up and the girl’s mom called and starts yelling and asking why she’s been sitting in a parking lot for 20 minutes. My sister said she’ll constantly have to send pictures of them at the library to her to prove they’re actually studying.
I just don’t get that kind of smothering of your kid. I mean, if you want to check up on what they’re doing then fine… especially if you’re paying the bills, but dang, the poor girl can’t even have a normal college experience and is constantly worried about upsetting her mom. It just all seems so unhealthy to me. I mean I had friends’ parents who did that in high school, but once they’re adults in college, you really have to cut the cord.
Image credits: longhorn_2017
“The key is for parents to get over the terror of worrying ‘What if???’ and see reality—’What IS?’ The reality is that kids can do a whole lot more on their own than our culture gives them credit for. Their newfound independence will make your heart soar!”
Previously, Bored Panda spoke about parenting with blogger Samantha Scroggin, the founder of Walking Outside in Slippers. She explained to us that it’s vital that parents see their children as individuals. That means recognizing their own unique needs and giving them room to grow.
What’s more, it’s important to keep in mind that not all parenting advice is universal: what works for one family might not work for someone else’s kids.
While working at new student orientation in college, I was told a story from a previous year. The parents who attended orientation were housed separately from the students. One mom wanted to stay with her daughter and took the bed of another student. The mom told the student she can find somewhere else to sleep.
The student, not knowing what to do, ended up sleeping in a chair in the common area of the dorm.
Image credits: TrulyGoofy
My mom. When my mom and brother came to visit me in the city I I lived in at that time, in we went to a building that is a tourist attraction. She’s already been there so she stayed down in some coffee shop while me and my brother went in to go to the top.
There was a really big line and while we were waiting he was telling me of all the times she’d go crazy because I would miss to reply to her for one day or so. We were joking that considering how long the whole tour of the building was taking, she’d probably already be talking to cops. When we got out, there she was, talking to a cop.
Because someone probably kidnapped two adults in a crowded building packed with security and tourists.
A few years ago we were hiring for an entry level help desk position. A nice kid came in with his mom. I very politely offered her something to drink, and a place she could sit. She was NOT invited to the interview itself. This lady started to get very aggressive about being in the room, and the poor kid was getting embarrassed. My final answer was that he was no longer being considered for the position, and she lost it. Our receptionist called the police, and they were there within a minute. She called down a little when the police arrived, almost as if she had been through this before. They nicely escorted her off the property, and luckily we never heard from her again.
“I am trying to do more to meet my kids where they’re at, figuring in their personality and what their needs are for them personally. In the past, I would sometimes assume that I knew what was best for my kids, based on what the ‘average’ kid ‘should’ need or want. But kids can be so different, even within the same family,” the parenting blogger told Bored Panda during a previous interview.
My aunt will not let her children play outside because they might get bitten by mosquitoes. Consequentially, they’re 12 and 13 and don’t know how to ride a bike.
Image credits: Goal_digger_25
Working summer orientation for my old community college, and we have new students register for classes towards the end of the session. Counselors are there to help with class selection.
This one mom was literally hovering over her son telling him which classes to choose and completely ignoring the counselor’s advice, when she had [her son] stand up. She proceeded to sit down, and she herself started registering her son for his classes.
I tried to intervene, letting her know that we ask that the student [to] register themselves, and that he’ll be doing online registration for the rest of his college career. I was told to f**k off.
Later, I pulled him aside and told him to change his password and swap into a class more appropriate for his placement exams.
It was this incident that triggered us to design a parent orientation to keep them away from their kids.
I worked at a science museum that had hands on for kids.
The aim of the game was for the child to solve a problem by themselves. Like “can you get x to do y”, they make something, test it, and figure out how to make it better.
One day a woman comes in, practically dragging her five year old son. She sits him down beside me and starts poking me on the shoulder and I’m talking to another family.
“Tell my son what to do,” she says, standing over him. I tell the family to hold on a sec, as I explain the challenge to the newcomer. The whole point is to work autonomously, so it was alright, and I was used to working with a few rude/pushy parents so I wasn’t surprised. I tell the kid the prompt, tell him he had a wide range of materials…
But no. The woman wants me to tell him every step of the process. “Tell him the answer! Tell him the answer!” she says repeatedly, grabbing his hands to make him fold paper, or reaching for my own.
I start getting mad. “Ma’am, the goal here is to learn the scientific method. Make a hypothesis, test it, make conclusions and try again.”
“But you already KNOW the answer,” she says, “tell my son! Or I’m calling your manager!”
I don’t even have a manager. In the mean time, the poor kid is looking so embarrassed. Ever time he tries to start something for himself, his mom reaches for his hands and tells him to wait for me to tell him what to do. The woman was so afraid of him failing when the whole point was to learn from one’s mistakes. I’m so worried about how he’ll deal with mistakes growing up, with her around.
Image credits: Nosynonymforsynonym
“My 6-year-old daughter, for example, is very organized and a bit of a perfectionist. She also needs lots of attention and affection. While my 10-year-old son is a sometimes wild but also very sensitive and artistic soul. He needs his space. They are night and day,” Samantha shared a bit about her children.
“I have learned I need to adapt my expectations of them and goals for them based on their individual personalities and quirks. I can create space for them to be who they are, and I believe this acceptance and customized attention will benefit them in the long run as they develop into teens and then adults.”
I worked at a small community library. A kid lived in the building across the parking lot from the library. He would leave his building, walked the ~150 feet to the front door of the library, come to the desk and use the courtesy phone to call and report to his mom that he got to the library safely.
I remember the day that he didn’t do this, she came flying into the library like 5 minutes later FREAKING OUT that her son had been kidnapped and we needed to find him.
Image credits: random_librarian
Fifth grade overnight trip to nature center. A kid’s mom went (was only parent that wasn’t a teacher to go) and had a complete meltdown when she was told that her kid would be sleeping in a cabin with other kids and not her… She was told this before [the] trip as well. Four teachers per cabin, basically overnight school. She basically spent the entire night outside watching the cabin, really creeped everyone out…
Man, the rants she went on [on] Facebook… at least her friends and family called her out on her nonsense. [I] imagine quite a few people got blocked that day.
Image credits: Drifter74
A guy I know is 23. He has two moms. Adopted.
I’m not sure which mom is worse. One of them runs all his social media accounts. We would get messages from him that just sounded weird. When asked, he would have no idea what he said. He has a cell phone that can only call his parents and 911. Not allowed to drive. Anytime he goes somewhere new, his mom tags a long for a few hours to “check things out.” He’s only allowed to eat at certain restaurants, has to check in with his moms constantly.
He doesn’t see any issue with this… I almost think its a form of abuse. He is not an independent thinker… he relies on everyone else to make decisions for him. Smart kid too.
Image credits: bondsman333
Tales from the classroom:
1. That time a parent argued with me when their child cheated because I didn’t specifically say that copying homework was cheating.
2. That time the parent clearly wrote the entire essay for her child.
Parents, let your kids fail and learn.
Ooh I’ve got one. My mom is a nurse at an elementary school. She has a student who is allergic to a lot of stuff, so it would be understandable if his parents were a bit cautious. His parents, however, are absolutely awful and overprotective. His mother will remove him from any activity that causes him even the slightest anxiety. They give him literally anything he wants in the world, and don’t make him do anything, to the extent that he believes he doesn’t have to do any schoolwork whatsoever, and tells his teachers that someone will just give him a job when the time comes. He’s a fifth grader with no actual credit for the grades he’s already gone through. He’s been dropped by three therapists, because his mother makes it impossible for any therapist to get anything done with him, because he obviously has mental health issues. His mom routinely lies about the reasons the kid isn’t in school, but doesn’t let the kid in on the lies, so he inadvertently exposes his mother on a liar on a weekly basis. The kid is almost 11 and has very few of the skills that a kid his age should have. The school system has essentially given up on this family.
Image credits: garriusbearius
A 13 yo kid down the street. His mom, dad, and grandma were always with him. ALWAYS he had NEVER been away from them even when they have a nanny to watch him one of them was there. The kid was never on his own for anything and the creepiest thing I saw them do? We had them to a party in the park and when the 13 yo asked for a hot dog the mom FREAKED out(not because it was a hot dog, some parents have dietary restrictions) because I served them whole! She took the hot dog from his hand and cut it for him in little baby bites(like I would do for my 1year old at the time) Then handed it back to him like she saved his life. Let me get this straight he was a normal teen with no mental impediments. The dad took him to the bathroom with a gallon of sanitizer and baby wipes and make “sure” the by washed his hands.
These people hold regular jobs one is a lawyer, one admin at our local hospital and the grams was an exec with the state attorney. They were from the Bay Area which we have a LOT of transplants from but they seem to have taken it to the next level helicoptering weirdness.
My first room mate in college had a helicopter mom whose helicoptering bordered on abuse:
1. He was born deaf, she never allowed him to learn sign language because she would ‘always be there to protect him’ and ‘he needs to live a normal life, not a deaf life’ (her words, not mine.) He was pretty good at lip reading, and could vocalize remarkably well given how profound his hearing loss was.
2. She pulled me aside and very seriously asked me to inform her any time he talked to a girl, she said he has ‘problems’ with girls trying to take advantage of him.
3. Insisted he say good night to her every night, which meant he had to be on instant messenger (deaf, so he couldn’t call without using a specialized typing phone) with her for at least an hour every night or else she’d call our room phone in a panic looking for him.
I went to boarding school for high school, and when I was a senior there was a freshman whose mother would drive three hours every weekend to be with her. on said weekends her mother wouldn’t take her out — she would hang out with her friends with her, to the point where I think the mother thought she was friends with her daughter’s friends. field trips? she would go. band tours? she would make sure she was at every place they performed. the mother would try and assign extra homework for her to do on top of her school work, which went on until a dean found out and yelled at the mom.
I went to alumni this year (bff on the alumni board; not just a loser) and I stayed at an old staff member’s house, and that happened to be where the class that graduated that year was having a gathering. lo and behold, the girl was there, and so was her mother.
My sister was friends with this girl in middle school whose mom would put her tampons in for her because she was worried she wouldn’t do it right. Tampons, not pads, not that pads would have been normal either.
Image credits: ShtTalkinYerMa
My girlfriend’s mother… My girlfriend is 22 in a few month.
She keeps track of my gf’s bank account and credit card purchases.
She also keeps track of my gf’s cell phone call logs and asks her why she’s having long phone calls with this phone number, which is obviously mine.
I guess it doesn’t help that my girlfriend and I have been secretly dating for about a year and a half.
Image credits: ExplosiveLee
My stepmom brushes my brothers’ teeth. they’re 14 and 12.
I work in a college. We get helicopter parents constantly.
I think my favorite example was a mother who called everyday, telling us how to do our jobs, and listing off rolodexes of complaints for things, including how we don’t treat the students like adults and coddle them. In the same breath she was asking me to divulge information regarding her sons health care and information with the college, and refused to let him speak to me himself because he was only a kid and she would handle it. Hmmmm
My mother got me kicked out of the Army after learning I was going into a role where I might see combat. Cavalry Scout ( 19-D ). She contacted two Senators, worked her way through the chain of command until she got to my CO and apparently pissed off my CO to the point where I received “special attention”. I spent 3 months in the reception battalion ( first stop before boot camp ) in a LOS vest ( Line of Sight, was pink with reflective tape and generally reserved for flight risks and suicidal people ). After a 15 minute visit with one of the psychologists, I was deemed to have Major Depressive Disorder and received an Entry Level Separation discharge. On the last day, my CO went through my paperwork, found my DD-214 and ripped it up so I couldn’t reenter the military. I come from a family who’s served continuously in the military for 5 generations until me. I was 18 at the time.
I’m 18. My parents make me have an app that tracks location and speed in vehicles and such. I’m also in college about 3 hours away from home.
One night at around 8 pm I decided I was going to go get some pictures at the lake literally across the street from campus, less than a 2 minute walk. The second my foot hits the other side of the street I get a text from my mom asking me what I’m doing. Stuff like this happens all the time. Cool! so not weird at all to know that you were watching my location at that exact moment!
Things like this are the reason I have really bad anxiety.
So now I just spoof my location 24/7 because it’s really unnecessary to ask me where I’m going or what I’m doing every time I leave my room.
I read a thing on Facebook on one of those community groups. Mom was extremely angry because “some guy” was taking photos of children at the mall, as they went to see Santa and played near by. He “was definitely taking photos” of her children, and he must be a pervert. Again, photos of children playing at the mall – not naked running around a beach, etc.
Said Mom “went ballistic” and confronted him, causing a scene and threatening to violently assault him. Pervert photo guy ran away from Mom, who was very proud of herself.
Pervert photo guy found the thread, and commented that he was taking photos of Santa and all the kid for his daughter, who was in the hospital with leukemia. Mom doubles down and claims he’s a lying pervert and he’s been “reported to mall security and the FBI.” Pervert photo guy then posts a video of himself, in a hospital with leukemia daughter, showing her the video and photos.
Mom is subsequently hella shamed, doxxed, and deletes her FB account.
Image credits: ThrowawayCop51
A guy at my high school last year wrote some college application essays, and after his parents read them they kicked him out of his own account, changed the password, and rewrote them entirely.
I drive a schoolbus. At one stop, last week, one of the kids was late but I could see him, exiting his house some 200 meters away. His mom carefully closing his coat, fastening his backpack then his slow saunter to the bus across the playground.
I was holding up traffic so I released the stop signal, closed the door and crept forward 3 car lengths, to resume the flow of traffic. Then I opened my door and told him to hurry. By the time I completed my stops, some 12 minutes later, I parked at the school where I saw his mom waiting.
The temperature that morning was 23 below zero Celcius. Mom’s ski coat was wide open. Just a low cut T shirt with more cleavage than coverage showing. Pupils dilated like she had perhaps stopped at the ophthalmologists’ on the way. She was cursing, screaming, and slamming the side of my bus. How dare I rush her son, and threaten to drive off.
I wrote up an incident report. The school, my manager and my Union Steward sided with the mom. I asked them to add 3 minutes to that stop on my route sheet. So far they have not. But helicopter Hilda gets her way now.
I’ve worked IT at a few universities. My favorite call was a mom calling and b**ching about not being able to see her 26 year old graduate students grades…
I was a non-traditional, older student when I went to college. 24 in freshman year, not super old, but old enough. I wanted to do the whole thing. I got stuck in a dorm, forced into a triple. Okay, I’m trying out college, I’ll move to an apartment the following year.
Nope, a mom of one of the other students called the admissions office to complain, saying that I’d buy her kid beer (I didn’t drink, at the time). I ended up getting to move out into an on campus apartment, because of her. The best part was, I was going to work when they were moving in and she was all proud of the fact that she had me thrown out of the dorm, the kid was embarrassed. I was like “oh, thanks, I’m sorry but I have to go to work.” She looked a little sheepish at that point.
I went camping, and had no service.
I came back to my apartment with 4 police cars around my house all searching for me.
She filed a missing persons report because I didn’t text her for a whole day.
I went to a toddler pool that was zero entry and 1.5 feet at the deepest. This mom came in with her boy who was probably about 3, and got in the pool with him. He was wearing a wetsuit, goggles, a life vest AND floaties. The poor kid could barely even splash around enough to have any fun.
I was at college orientation and a girl’s mother came up to my friend and said, “See that girl? That’s my daughter. Go up to her and introduce yourself and be nice to her!”
Image credits: forgonsj
I got a haircut a couple years ago (so I was maybe 23 at the time.) It was summer so school was out. I was second in line as a kid was already waiting. So the two of us are quietly reading magazines.
A boy about the same age as the first boy and his mother come in. The mother asks the first boy how old he is. He says 10. The mother asks where his parents are. He says they’re at work. She then yells at him, telling him that it is illegal for children under 13 to be in public alone. The boy says that he lives nearby and his parents let him walk to the hair salon, grocery store, park, and other places that are within a block of each other. She is furious. She explains that her son is 12 and that even when he turns 13 next year, she may not let him out in public alone.
I’m so thankful my friends and I were allowed to play outside alone from at least age 8.
My mother thinks I should bring her with me whenever I’m meeting with the bank, lawyer, landlord, etc. – any serious grownup business – because she thinks they’ll take advantage of my youth and innocence to cheat me, but they’d never dare do that if there’s an adult with me.
I’m a white-collar professional and have been living on my own in a major city for nearly 20 years. My mother is a retirement-aged suburban housewife. She’s perfectly competent in her own right, but I seriously doubt bringing her with me would add to my credibility.
I work at an admissions front counter for a university so I get helicopter parents all the time over the phone, but I had a mom that had me laughing over the phone because of how ridiculous she was. Let’s call her Susan for reference.
At first, she was normal asking about general admissions processes and what are the requirements. However, where she messed up was when she admitted she did the application for him because “he is a boy and you know how boys can be so I just did it for him.” Then she started to fly off the walls. She asked if the campus was open because she wanted to visit her son EVERY SINGLE DAY since they live 15 minutes away from the main campus. Susan tried making herself not sound bat s**t crazy by sliding in her bringing him baked goods and home cooked meals, but I know she just wants to pester her child. There was another talk about how she wanted to get access to his student account to see his grades. I told her that she was not going to be allowed to get that access because her child will be considered an adult and the student has to give HER permission by saying a FERPA form. She wanted to know how and where to get those documents ASAP.
As far as social life, Susan asked if there were parties on campus. It’s a college, of course there are going to be parties. The worst part is that she asked if they are supervised….by PARENTS!!!! This is where I couldn’t help but laugh because why did she think that this was a high school setting. Susan then followed up with “Well how will I know where he is going or if he gets in trouble?” and I said, very casually, “Ma’am if your student decides to do something illegal (smoke weed/drink underaged) and gets caught by campus police and gets arrested, you’ll be getting that phone call.”
And she had nothing else to say. 🙂
Image credits: yourspoopy
I was a trustee for my college fraternity.
The final week of pledging has the recruits live in the fraternity house. We have them turn over their phones for the week.
On day 2 of the week, campus police come knocking on the door looking for one of the recruits.
Turns out that his mother would call him every morning to wake him for class, then call again in the evening to discuss his homework schedule for the night. When she couldn’t get a hold of him, she started calling local PD, then campus safety, and even the dean of students.
I also have a friend that works as a recruiter for a big consulting firm. She specializes in hiring interns and co-ops. She has so many stories, including parents calling ahead of the interview to give a list of topics that make their child uncomfortable, calling after an interview for a debrief, showing up to the interview with their child, and calling mid-internship to get a status update.
Was moving in freshmen to the dorms (if you agreed to move the newbies you got to move in 3 days early and beat the rush)
Man approaches me “is this a co-ed dorm?”
“I asked for my daughter to be in the all female dorm”
“Oh i understand sir, that’s actually right across the breezeway. Usually it’s in Building X but X is being renovated so they moved it here. That entire wing is only female”
“But she could walk over here and it would be coed”
“…well yes sir, she could walk anywhere she wanted to”
“……………..I’ll tell her she’s not allowed to walk this way”
An acquaintance of mine getting yelled at by her parents when she decided to get an apartment for herself. She was 30 at the time.
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Worked with a woman whose 4-year old LOVED airplanes. There was a big air show coming to the area, and I asked her if she was taking her son to the air show, as he would probably love it.
She said she was worried they were too dangerous, and a plane could crash into the crowd. So they didn’t go.
Great parenting. Rob your child of an incredible experience because you have an irrational fear.
This kid I went to school with, his mother was a teacher there and she taught his class every single year until 8th grade. Like changed her grade level every year so that she could teach her own kid, that’s beyond f***ed right there.
I used to be friends with a girl whose dad refused to let her wear shorts to swim team that weren’t knee-length. Even though…she was on the swim team. And wearing a Speedo one-piece during all the events. In the summer.
My fiance is 22 years old and his mom calls him AT LEAST 5 times a day… She doesn’t need anything in particular, I think she is just making sure he’s still breathing….
When I was 15 the parents of a kid in my school year drove 7 hours to save their pride and joy from watching Casino Royale on the coach’s on-board DVD player driving back from a school trip. The best part about it is that he must have asked our teacher what the film was in advance and then told his mum.
My mother came to an interview I was doing
I was the person conducting the interview
My mom sets up fake Facebook accounts with other peoples’ names (like her financial advisor) in order to see if she can view my FB page.
When I was married (age 31-ish) she would reprimand me if I went places (grocery store, dinner with MY friends) without my husband. My mom is VERY independent.
This is a family rumor that she denies. She somehow got through on the phone to my college’s president and told him “My daughter was a good Christian girl until she went to YOUR school.” I went to a Christian college. And I have no doubt that this “rumor” actually happened. She’s definitely the type.
When I was in high school (age 16-ish) I was allowed to walk 4-6 blocks to school. No one was ever allowed to use the telephone in the school office except in an emergency. Except me. Everyone in town knows my mom AND her reputation, and they bow to her whims because they pick their battles. So I was required to call my mom every morning when I arrived at school–I had special permission to use the phone. One morning I forgot, she called the principal, who called over the intercom in my classroom, whether I was in class, because my mom was on the phone wondering if I had made it the 6 blocks to school.
Throughout my 18 years living with my parents, I spent ONE night alone at home. I was never allowed to be alone. Even as a teenager, in the rare occasion that both parents were not home overnight, I had to have a babysitter. My mom’s former best friend who made me sleep on her neighbor’s pool deck and then took photos of me in the morning as I woke up, bleary-eyed in my sleeping bag. And she had an exaggerated love of clowns.
I am in private elementary education, so this question is right up my alley.
I had a student one year who was the middle child of three and the mother was the textbook definition of a helicopter. But it was more than that; she also had a bad case of “wanting to be your 10 year old’s best friend instead of their parent”.
Here is a short list of things she did:
She would come attend school events (like plays, etc), and try to sit next to her child on the floor (“criss cross apple sauce” and all)
She would deliver her child lunch every single day. Not send in a packed lunch, mind you. She would deliver something. Like fast food, especially Chik-fila. And she always had enough for herself as well, so she basically tried to come eat lunch with her daughter every day. One day I confronted the student about this and made up a bogus rule that her mom had to bring me lunch, as well, and sure enough the next day I got a sub from Subway
She would let the girl stay home for any and all reasons. The girl was literally absent 25 days the year before I had her (although I tried my best to crush that bad habit and got her down to 14 days absent when I had her). Some of the notes / doctors excuses the mom sent in were really ridiculous
When she was at the school for her younger child (for example: when she came by for kindergarten parties or whatever), she would sneak out and walk the halls and peak through the classroom windows of her other two kids to “check on them”. I would joke with our principal that this woman might secretly be an employee of our security company trying to find flaws in our security procedures. We had to come up with all sorts of new rules and procedures for all the parents to follow just to stop this one woman.
The girl was not a very good student, and I am pretty sure more than half of the homework handed in to me was completed by the mother
My final interaction with her was when I invited her and her husband in for a conference because I gave the girl a 0 for missing an assignment with an unexcused absence and I basically forced the mother to admit that she took the girl shopping that day instead of bringing her to school. The dad was completely unaware this was happening and went off on her. It didn’t solve the problem permanently (as she continued to helicopter the following year before leaving the school), but it toned it down while I had her at least.
The sad thing is you encounter parents like this all the time. They don’t realize the long-term harm they are causing their children or the bad habits they are helping them to develop.
My mom has to know what I’m doing and where I’m going to be and what time things are happening everytime I go out with friends. I’m 25
My aunt went to my cousins first WEEK of university classes.
I knew a kid way back in the day where-in his parents overly supervised everything he did.
Wanted to “play outside”, well it has to be in the little “park” that’s 50′ from their front door. Dad would just be staring out the windows. Any bad language? That’s a paddlin’. Sarcasm? You better believe that’s a paddlin’
I remember one time someone had bought some Swedish Fish and was sharing them with everyone. The mom comes flying out and says “You can only have ONE fish…..” and then watched him eat a single fish and make sure he wouldn’t eat any other.
Now the kid is so deep in the closet he’s wrapping Christmas Presents and so stressed he could turn coal into diamonds
RIP My Inbox
Back when I taught a freshman course during graduate school, I had a parent email me on behalf of her daughter. The young woman had missed half of the class, failed two major assignments, and had her mommy emailing me trying to allow her to pass. When I told her about FERPA, she tried to get me in trouble with the department chair.
Dude graduated from boot camp with me and we are both assigned to the same duty location in different commands.
This guy’s parents made him call them everyday and talk for hours, then one day he falls alseep early after a hard day. So they call his command and demand to know where there son is. The command promptly tells them to get lost as they can’t and won’t provide that information.
So a few weeks go by, and his command during a barracks inspection realizes that he hasn’t had a haircut or gotten new razors or some such. Turns out that his parents and come halfway around the country to take his bank card as punishment for forgetting to call them.
Kid came to swim team tryouts. Was having a melt down and refused to get in the water.
Mom got in the pool FULLY CLOTHED to try and coax kid into the pool.
I had a 16 year-old coworker whose mother sat in on the interview and tried to answer all the questions for him. He quit a couple of months later, or should I say, his mother called the store to quit for him.
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On more than one occasion I’ve told Mom’s sorry to be sexist, but it’s never been Dad’s in my experience that they’re going to need to wait in the lobby while I interview their child for the job. If your kid is 18 they’re legally an adult and therefore you have no right what-so-ever to be present in that interview.
30% of Moms would try to intimidate me as if I were their child or husband, but would back down when they saw I didn’t care. 60% threw temper tantrums that cost their child the job. 10% tried to have me fired.
My ex boyfriend’s mother was so controlling of her own son that she eventually wanted to control ME – she told me to quit my part time job because I am “a woman and it’s dangerous out there”, stop pursuing music and go to graduate school with her son. During dinner she sat me down and told me to choose between work or family and waited for my answer. I was 23, he was 25, dated for 7 months.
I was going to move into a dorm with a friend, but her mother contacted administration and insisted that she live in the same residence as the dorm minder to make sure she was doing her homework and staying away from alcohol. We were twenty — the legal drinking age here is eighteen. Her mother would also show up after seminars to walk her home (ten minutes away), and would contact professors to negotiate extensions and protest bad grades.
I found out afterwards that she had a pretty serious history of mental illness, so there were legitimate reasons to be concerned for her safety. Still, I couldn’t help but think a lot of her problems resulted from being told over and over again that she couldn’t be trusted to stand on her own two feet.
A woman in my church was the mother of a college freshman music major. He applied for the university’s piano program, but didn’t get accepted by the specific teacher his mother wanted him to learn from.
She went in person to the university, walked right in to the teacher’s office (who happened to also be the dean of the entire music department) to pressure him to change his mind. He said no. She proceeded to withdraw her son from all university classes and activities.
I have a friend whose parents makes them drive an hour back to their house from her University 4 times a week to “keep an eye on her”. But the worst part is, she’s also working 3 jobs, the president a club, and is taking the hardest class of her major this quarter.
The kids next door are not allowed to play outside unsupervised by an adult.
We live in a quiet neighborhood and they are aged 10 and 8.
Back in the 90s this popular girl in grade 5 or so would get dropped of by her mom to school and picked up that’s normal. But several times a week her mom would drive by really slow at recess and park on a gravel road about 200m away from the playground and just sit there and watch. I’m guessing her mom didn’t have a job or something it was super creepy. This girl would also get constant phone calls from her mom at the office because this was before cell phones several times a week I have no clue what her deal is.
I was at the playground with my 2yo son last spring. It was a beautiful April afternoon; 63 degrees, winds east at 5 knots, visibility 6 miles, clouds broken at 2000 feet with overcast layer at 11,000 feet.
Suddenly, this mom swoops in with her Bell 206 and transitions to a hover at just 50 AGL. No overflight of the LZ, she came in like she was taking fire from VC’s and was Cowgirling her evac mission. Before I could react, a line unravels from the back door and two little s**ts fast rope onto the jungle gym (no helmets!). Just like that, she ramped the turbine, pulled the collective and whizzed out of there like she was late for her 3 o’clock cocktail.
I checked later, the lady didn’t even file her flight plan properly. By far, the worst case of helicopter parenting I’ve ever seen.
I work in admissions at a major university in a major, pretty show-bizzy city. Have totally lost count of the number of times a parent has come up to me, the kid standing ten feet away mute as a scarecrow, and asked about theater opportunities for their actor/performer child. If your kid can’t get over his/her shyness to speak up to a stranger, GOOD LUCK IN SHOW BUSINESS. Doing all their talking for them just enables kid’s being a passive dips**t.
I was at the dollar store the other day and some over protective hardcore PTA type mom was shopping with her son. The mom switches ailes and the son (7 or 8 at least) stayed in the toy aisle. She wasn’t more than 10 feet from the kid and she looks down, sees he’s gone and yells at the top of her lungs, “James! James!” Like he fell overboard a carnival cruise ship or something. It’s the dollar store, there are only like 10 aisles lady. Chill.
I teach high school and occasionally college. [In] one teacher-parent meeting for a high school student, the mother mentioned her other kid was enrolled at a local university, and that she (the mother) was also enrolling in the same classes to ensure her daughter did her work.
I work at a college, and had a student worker whose mother called me out of the blue to rant about a bad day her daughter had had, and wanted reassurance I was going to do my best to make sure her daughter felt appreciated at her job because “her father was too hard on her” and “she suffers from low self esteem.” I’m pretty sure this student was a junior at the time, so at least 19-20 years old.
A coworker of mine had a daughter at a prestigious New England prep school on a full athletic scholarship. So, as a result, this middle-class mom was rubbing elbows with the ultra rich parents from around the world, but there was one couple that stood out.
These parents would fly their daughter to down to Florida to see her horse every weekend. They also hired movers to bring a suitcase and a lamp to the girl’s dorm room.
There was a girl whose mom would not allow her to attend social events without the mom for fear of the child encountering a bad influence. I remember she was invited to a sleepover and the mom, at the last second 9like literally at the front door of the house the sleepover was at), said she couldn’t go because the parents of the other child had not been impressed when informed that it was mandatory that they accommodate a grown ass woman as well as a group of 8 year olds when no such provision had been discussed beforehand when RSVP’ing.
Had a guy in a summer computer science class that had his father attend the class with him the entire semester. He’d constantly poke him to pay more attention.
I could tell the kid was mortified. I felt awful for him.
My college professor told us this story. So her class is huge! Probably around 200 students. So as an attempt to learn some of their names she offers extra credit to students who bring and wear Burger King crowns to class with their names written on them. So completely optional for students. Anyways, one of her students moms called her to complain about how embarrassed her son felt for wearing a Burger King crown to school.
The worst I’ve seen in my line of work (nurse practitioner in primary care) are people in their late 20s and 30s who bring their parents to appointments and/or have them call my office on their behalf. These are typically male patients, but not always, with their mothers calling for them.
A friend I had growing up wasn’t allowed to cross the street by himself until he was in his teens.
There’s a kid in my son’s former Boy Scout troop who has NEVER been on a camping trip alone. He was elected to the OA two years ago, but didn’t go through induction until his ASM father was also inducted. How this kid will function in college, I’ll never know.
If I dont call my father every sunday he will call me. If I dont answer he will text. Regardless if I reply back or not he will send another text asking a question from my childhood (where did we used to go fishing, elementary school I went to. ect.). He does that just incase in his words “Someone kills you and text with your phone”.
My parents, especially my mom. I was back home for winter break from uni during sophomore year and hanging out at my friend’s house, who lived one or two streets away. At 10 PM, my parents called and asked me to come home. Ok, fine, I didn’t have a curfew, so I guess I’ll go, even if I wanted to hang with my friends longer because I knew my parents wouldn’t let me go out the rest of the break. Also, they refused to sleep until I came home, and I wanted them to rest for their own health.
But then they freaked out because it was apparently too dark and unsafe outside, and I could not be trusted to walk the few feet to my car and drive the one minute home (note that my friend and I both live in relatively wealthier, safer neighborhoods, and the streets were well lit). My parents called my friends’ parents and asked them to FOLLOW me the 1 minute it took me to drive home. I had a damn parade on a 1 minute drive, and I had to inconvenience everybody in the process.
Thankfully I’m attending uni in a different state and can just ignore them, but going home always sucks. If the price of living wasn’t so high, my parents would have definitely moved to that state.
The kid is about 9 years old – so like 3rd grade, I’ve known him since before he started school. His mom is an acquaintance of mine and the kid himself has had classes with one of my kids who is the same age.
She has forced herself in to every activity and classroom that he’s ever been in. She starts off volunteering in the classroom normally – most teachers ask for a few hours one or two days a week of help in our school – but little by little she shows up more often whether the teacher asked her to or not. Some teachers have told her to stop, but others just let it happen.
She basically spends every day all day with him – never gives him any space. She hovers over everything he does and if it’s not perfect she “fixes” it. Pretty sure she’s done his homework herself several times. Sometimes the teachers will send home an art project as homework, like a pumpkin to decorate in the fall or whatever, and his always looks like an adult did it alone.
She never lets him face any uncomfortable situations or adversity. She got actually mad when one day she said to the 1st grade teacher ” woke up in a sad mood today.” and the teacher answered “I’ll keep an eye on him, but I think he’ll be okay.”. This was infuriating to her to the point where she vented to me about it. I had to ask her “but was he okay though?”… yeah. He was. What was she expecting you ask? She wanted the teacher to make a big fuss over him and give him special attention. She felt that the teacher didn’t care because she didn’t fall all over herself to coddle him.
College student, ~20 years old. Had trouble login into his IT account to register for courses and stuff.
He came with his mother, or to be precise, his mother came with him to the helpdesk to solve the problem.
My coworker tried his hardest to talk to the son, but every time the mother would answer while the son only sometimes nodded. She also had the most annoying and belittling voice I have ever heard on a non-acting human. She mainly spoke about her son in the third person as if he wasn’t present, only sometimes acknowledging his presence when seeking some “fake” confirmation at the end of a sentence: “Yes, we tried this already. Right, Richard?”
After about 5 minutes of this scene going on I couldn’t take it any longer and went down the hall into the server room to laugh my a** off.
One time in High School Band we were supposed to travel up north to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Naturally, we were going to stay a few nights in a hotel, with four people per room; my mom had the bright idea to come with me and STAY in the same room with me and two other 16-17 year-old boys. Thankfully my dad talked her out of it but she still insisted that I text her every day of the trip.
I work at at a higher education academic institution and let me tell you, I’ve seen some sh*t….
What stands out for me is that we regularly (3-5 times a year) have Parents who want to:
(a) attend sit in the back of a class in which their adult child attends oxymoron? ;
(b) want full access to their adult child’s academic records, homework, schoolwork, teacher contact info, etc;
(c) want all school correspondence and communication of their adult children to be routed through them.
All of this is generally covered by FERPA or in the case of (a) board policy.
Ex’s mother freaked out and left increasingly tearful messages on the answerphone every few minutes for over two hours because he wasn’t at home to take her weekly Sunday call and therefore Something Must Be Wrong. He was 36 at the time.
(If he had always been in for that call I’d have given her a little bit of leeway on the freaking out, but he was not always at home at that time, and had never promised that he would be.)
My best friend’s mother and father moved to the town where his college is located his freshman year.
My son (14) plays club soccer (travel 4-5 times a season -2 seasons a year, train 3-4 Days, sometimes 5 a week ) plays with a kid whose dad carries his bag to and from practice. That wouldn’t be too bad, but he also ties his kids shoes. And like many of the other comments -they only cheer for their kid. I make it a practice to cheer for the other kids and tell mine in private what he did right. Very odd.