How to Not Helicopter Parent Your Special Needs Child


So if someone out there could figure out the answer to this question, I would greatly appreciate it.  You expected some great wisdom in here, didn’t you?  Well I honestly thought in writing that title, some epiphany would come to me, but here I am still waiting!

I write a lot on this blog about parenting because it’s the part of me I am in the most, and the part that I work on the hardest, but let’s be real here.  I am a 34 year old woman with one child who is only 3.  I know essentially nothing.  Here I am at just the tip of the iceberg trying to write self help blogs.  The nerve!  Sometimes I have good little tid bits that come out, but honestly I’m just venting.  This brings me to my current concern – helicopter parenting.

You all know what the term means, and if you don’t think of what a helicopter does (hint: it hovers).  I never wanted to be one, but here I am, hovering over my child at times.  But wait!  I have a valid excuse!!  My son cannot get his hands up to his face when he falls, so I am there to protect him and catch him, but where does this all end?  Where does fall protection end and over protection begin.  How do I teach my son independence?

Part of this answer lies in our next step: a service dog.  This is our way of putting an extension of ourselves with Harry, someone to help him with balance and with falls.  Unfortunately it looks like a dog is a couple of years away, so what do we do now?  We are in vital developmental years, and I want to lay a good foundation for my son to rest on, but I don’t know how.  If I am too close too often, he depends on me and is scared if I am away.  If I am too far, he falls and gets hurt and is frightened.  I need to find the middle.  Sometimes I am good at the balance, but when I look at the big picture, I worry.

The natural tendency for those around Harry is to coddle him.  He’s cute, he’s sweet, and he’s manipulative.  He can talk his way out of anything.  He is stubborn, and he is not tenacious by any means, so when he doesn’t want to do something he simply doesn’t, and he usually talks the people around him into letting him get away with it.  I am constantly fielding questions from teachers/therapists.  “Is Harry able to sit up on his own when on the ground?  Because he told me he can’t without support.”  Yes, Harry can sit up on his own, but saw an opportunity to be coddled and took it.  Did I teach him this?

I think I’ve discovered more questions than answers here, and I know it will for sure become more difficult before it gets easier.  In parenting, I know there are no rights or wrongs.  We learn as we go, and we follow our hearts and instinct.  I love my Harry man, that is for sure, and I will do everything I can to give him every opportunity to develop into the wonderful man I know he is destined to be.  For now, I hover.

One thought on “How to Not Helicopter Parent Your Special Needs Child

  1. Gloria Bryan is not a special needs kid and at 10 yrs old I still Hover. Maybe not as much but I do! I take time off work to go to camp with him when I know there are other parents and Indont have to be there he is suppose to be learning independence at scout camp but I go and I watch even from a distance! There is so much ugly in this world that I want to keep him away from so that he never gets hurts and I will always have him in my life. So I HOVER. Everywhere Bryan goes I am told how he is a delightful and respectfully young man. I will take that any day. My Bryan will tell you he is a mamas boy and he loves it!!! So you go ahead and Hover Harry. Teach him the basics, how to treat people be polite and respectful and independence will come later as he watches you be an INDEPENDANT STRONG PARENT. He will learn that as well from you and your Husband. Bryan is learning now thru sleep overs that is ok not to be with me ALL the time but most of the time. He is ready to have distance way more than I am!!! I am not sure if this helps but it’s there.

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