True Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

BIG Ideas:

  • Senior year can be a very busy and highly emotional time for students and parents.
  • You’re not alone if you’re worrying about not being a part of your child’s everyday life when they leave for college.
  • The skills you developed as a successful parent – planning, listening, and guiding – are needed now more than ever.

Motherhood. It’s one of the most sought-after and demanding jobs out there. The duties and responsibilities are vast, the pay low, and the hours long. But the rewards and benefits are immeasurable.

It’s the job you accepted the day you decided to become a parent.

You’ve done that job well to get where you and your child are today. You’ve planned, loved, nourished, coached, and guided. You’ve listened, lectured, inspired, and celebrated. And of course, worried, fretted, and even hovered and helicopter-parented. 

But now, as your child begins their senior year and starts preparing for the journey to college and independence, you may be hovering around them not knowing what to do. 

You are most certainly not alone. 

Senior year is not just a hustle and bustle of activities but of emotions. The proms, ceremonies, award nights, and even bouts of senioritis may bring new feelings of excitement, worry, and even loss not just in your child, but in you.

Be assured, that as your child begins their exciting journey into adulthood, your love and guidance will be invaluable over the next few years. All those skills you mastered in your parenting career can still be used in new and exciting ways. Here’s how: 

Supporting your child emotionally

Going off to college and leaving the comfort of home can be extraordinarily difficult for your child. Now more than ever, they’ll need your guidance and support. This is the time to openly discuss their feelings toward college and offer love, guidance, and encouragement.

Remember to not just listen to their goals, dreams, and needs, but to hear them. This journey is about their future and what they want, not what you want. Assure your child that they are in the lead in their journey to their future.

Navigating educational, financial, and health choices

At this point in your child’s life, there’s so much to think about – from curriculum choices to managing money and extracurricular activities. As you learn about your child’s career goals and interests, guide them with making the right curriculum choices and evaluating potential majors and colleges

You’ll also need to have “The Talk” about how to pay for college. For example, will you expect the student to contribute toward their education or will you manage the cost? You can also help build your child’s financial literacy, which is key to helping them manage expenses in college and reach their goals after graduation.

Encourage them to open a checking and savings account and to develop good saving habits. Ensure they understand college costs and how they can impact their financial life later on. 

It’s also a great time to lead your child to make good nutritional and health choices and to ensure their mental health by helping them prioritize and manage their academic and extracurricular activities. 

Building independence and new memories

Now is the ideal time to give your child and yourself a little more independence in their daily lives. Have them take on household activities, like cooking or grocery shopping, to help them learn to live on their own.

Teach them how to do laundry and make appointments for themselves. Use the extra time you gain with their growing independence. For example, think about your interests, dreams, and goals outside of motherhood. Do you want to go back to school, change your career, or spend more time with those you love? 

Instead of feeling sad or worrying about your child going off to college, be present and enjoy your time together. If you can and if budget allows, plan a family vacation or other activities, even if it’s just a movie or board game night. Also, be kind and patient with your child and yourself as you experience new emotions. 

Having faith, hope, and gratitude

Now is the time to bask in your success in parenting. Trust that you have done your job and given your child the tools they need to succeed. Give grace when they make mistakes and encourage them to learn from them. And do the same for you.

In short, you need to land that helicopter and let them fly. You just might find that you will soar, too. 

With Brazos, you’re not alone in your journey

For more than 40 years, Brazos Higher Education has been helping make education possible. As a Texas non-profit established solely to help students and parents, we can offer you savings on a wide range of student loans> with trusted, helpful guidance that can only come from a caring friend. Contact us today!