Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



I know I’ve talked about this before.  And I know, not having kids, that I’m totally unqualified to speak about it.  But what’s with parents providing daily, sometimes hourly advice and direction to their kids these days?  I sit in a cubicle and am surrounded by parents.  Most of them are parents of adult children, children who are off at college or working jobs and living in their own homes.  Yet they seem to need to talk to Mom daily.

About every single little thing.

And Mom seems to be the one that orchestrates all decisions, events, discussions and sometimes even meals.  Really?  These kids can’t decide whether to sell their college books when the news semester starts without discussing it with Mom?  They can’t go into their wireless carrier and straighten out a bill without having their Mom call?  They need daily prompting from Mom to take stuff out of the freezer for dinner, or to arrange a time when everyone can get together for a holiday meal?  They need Mom to negotiate between squabbling siblings?

Huh.  I don’t remember ever doing any of that.

When I was in college we only got to call home once a week for a few minutes.  And we’d never have called during the day because daytime long distance rates were off the charts.   And no way would we have called a parent at work.  Ever.  For anything.

So as I watched the news last week about the hedge fund manager allegedly shot and killed by his 30 something son because he was contemplating lowering the son’s allowance and was going to stop paying the son’s rent I have to ask the question.  How much accountability and responsibility is being given to these adult children?  And are parents doing the kids or themselves any favors by being so involved in every single aspect of their children’s lives?

When do their kids get to be the adults?

On the other hand Wednesday of last week I also stopped by a funeral home to pay my family’s respect to the mother of a friend.  She died right after the New Year, and was only ill a couple of months.  You could see the adult children struggling to accept their loss.  It’s a lot, the loss of a mother, for anyone no matter their own age.  And as I was driving back to work that afternoon I thought about it all.  The helicopter parents.  The adult children relying so much on their parents for daily decisions in these times.  The way things are  so different now than when I was a young adult testing the waters of life.  Life without parents.

And I knew for sure that there was at least one set of siblings that would give a lot for a little helicoptering right now from a mom that has moved on to her next adventure.  Shoot, if I could I’d call my mom right now and ask her how long it took her to grieve her own mother.  And the recipe for that broccoli rice casserole.

I turned out to be who I am because of the way they raised me.  They weren’t helicopter parents, but that wasn’t the style in those days.  Maybe if I had been born at the end of the last century instead of the middle they would have been coptering around me and my three siblings.  Somehow I don’t think so.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t love us, it just means they came from stock where you let the kids make their own decisions, good and bad.  As long as we didn’t kill anyone in the course of growing up we were allowed to learn our own lessons.

Parents have lots of ways of showing love.  Maybe parents of today just show it in a myriad of tiny minute decisions and shows of support.  Maybe that’s not all bad.  Maybe having a parent that cares is all that matters.  Maybe kids will grow up when they have to, helicopter parents or not.

In the end who am I to judge parenting skills.  Maybe I’m just feeling envious when I hear all those phone conversations between adult kids and their moms.

Maybe a little helicoptering would be welcome in my world about now.

Maybe I just miss my mom.

Yea, that’s probably it.

I miss my mom.



Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

11 thoughts on “Parenting

  1. I think it’s important to be there for your children and to offer opinions when asked, but ultimately life choices should be their own and adulthood requires taking responsibility for those choices, whether that’s solving their own problems or taking credit for accomplishments. I have always felt my function as a parent was to love them, accept them and guide them as they grew into independent, productive humans.


  2. Times have changed due to ccell phones. Kids dont know their parents phone numbers because of cell phones. They just press a button and it call the number. College student’s probably cant fix some things because their parent is in charge of the account. Like Stephanie couldnt fix anything on our cell phone acct because its in my name. But I do agree, some parents do to much. They are constantly brining their forgotten items to the school. But then again, Cell Phones. We wouldnt have been able to call our parents to bring our forgotten homework. (But our parents wouldnt have brought it anyway. (Grow up and learn not to forgot your stuff).


  3. You have hit on a topic that is discussed at work quite often. I grew up like you, learned your own lessons, involved your parents when absolutely necessary. I think we also grew up sooner than kids today. Diana makes a good point about the availability of instant access. Without it you have to figure things out on your own, but now everyone is a quick call away and “thinking on your own’ has escaped most of this generation.

    We took a lot of “heat” from our relatives because of the way we raised our kids. I expected a lot from them, didn’t do everything for them and feel you only truly learn through your failures. I’m there if they need me and will help them get through the difficult times if they ask but don’t expect me to hold your hand the whole way.

    Thanks Dawn…


  4. My main gripe….if I have to kick a kid out of class, they’re calling home two seconds later to make sure mom hears their side of the story first (which usually isn’t really what happened).

    My generation is definitely the ‘overparenting’ generation. Not sure what happened in our childhoods that brought us to this. I don’t blame it entirely on cell phones either. Its deeper than that.


  5. Sadly – Americans and many other cultures have ‘no one but themselves to blame for this. This whole ‘entitled’ society attitude is the key. In wanting to provide kids with better options than what older generations had we have taken away their own initiative to strive for something for themselves – now they just KNOW Mom and Dad will provide, Mom and Dad are always be their fall back Mom and Dad will pay for everything – even their health care until they are 28 ! So many kids today have no ambition, no drive, no sense of pride in doing things for themselves because they have never had to fight or work hard for anything. Added to this is the government who is creating a society of ‘have nots’ that is dependent on them even when it means keeping them in little more than poverty. Our city is booming and there are help wanted signs everywhere and yet unemployment is still high here simply because people don’t want to work – they would rather sit at home playing video games because the government is supporting them to do just that.


  6. I find myself in a limbo-like situation here, I guess due to my age. I, too, was raised without the “helicoptering” but always knew what was expected of me. I’ve tried to raise my own children that way as well. They are not quite adults (although my almost 20-year-old think she is, lol!) but not children either and I think I must land somewhere in the middle of these parenting styles. They are still at an age where we do take care of a lot for them, but I’m also not directing and controlling everything eithe, and have expectations that they will figure some things out for themselves. They do text me to ask questions occasionally during the day, but not every day and certainly not constantly. I like being able to have nearly instant “access” if needed but don’t always feel the need. Working in a middle school, I do see much of this helicoptering going on. Yes, the kids I work with are much younger but you can just see how the kids for the most part just want it done for them or figured out for them, and it is pretty clear a good majority of them rule the roost in their homes. Parents are not doing their children any favors in my opinion raising them this way; common sense and the ability to figure things out for themselves seems to become less and less each year that I teach.


  7. You’ve touched on an interesting subject, Dawn. I’ve never considered myself a helicopter parent. I’ve always believed, as I was raised, that parents are there to provide roots and wings — the former, to insure a kid is grounded; the latter, to encourage a kid to soar.

    That doesn’t negate regular calls from my son. It’s easier today to call — most cell phone plans have a lot or unlimited minutes — and kids today aren’t patient enough to wait for snail mail. I know my first Thanksgiving out of college, I wanted to prepare my own turkey dinner, and I must’ve called Mom 100 times!!

    Sometimes, only a parent will do, and God bless the kids who love and honor the parents they’ve been given!


  8. it’s their time now. With all the technology. the world is a different place. one could say say that it is is totallly automated. So why bother to use force times distance. I miss my mother and father and wish they could be here to see what was happening. They are not and I treasure their constant input into my mind. Thank you Dawn for your insightful thoughts..


  9. The thing about parenting and advice is that unless you are a parent, your advice is completely unwelcome. Doesn’t matter if you’ve studied child and developmental psychology, and child behavior, and student behavior, and managed multiple classrooms of children along a wide spectrum of ages. Unless you are muddling through it, your thoughts are not valid.
    My mom is just 500 miles away, and I still miss her. I choose not to think of how much I’ll miss her when she’s out of reach. As it stands, we check in and chat. Sometimes multiple times a week, other times it’s multiple weeks in between. We share a close friendship, but she (and Dad) let me grow up and make my own mistakes. I’m grateful for that. I’m glad that I’ve been a functional adult for quite a while now. I’d hate to be just entering adulthood in my thirties – like so many who were raised by helicopters…


  10. My sisters and I weren’t coptered over, and neither was my son, and I just don’t get it — that constant contact. What I understand, though, is you missing your mom. That I completely get. Hugs!


  11. I don’t have any kids either, so I know, I ‘m probably not qualified either. But I totally agree with you – when I went to college, we had to wait in line to talk on a pay phone to our parents like once a week until we got the phones in our rooms. And even then, we wouldn’t have called every day all day to ask for help on such basic stuff. And I”m so glad we didn’t. I too wonder at the helicoptering going on today. Makes me worry for the kids, honestly. They have to be allowed to make decisions and fail from them. Mommy and Daddy won’t be there all the time. I see it a lot at my job because I’m dealing with kids who are starting law school at 22, and just haven’t lived yet.


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