My husband and I have gone through great lengths to ensure that our son, during some of his most impressionable years as an infant and toddler, spends the majority of his time with both or one of us. It is so important to us that we sacrificed a chunk of our income to do so.
However, we are fortunate in that our circumstances allow me to primarily be a stay-at-home mom while maintaining my career. I don’t take any day for granted, as I know so many people who, for whatever reason, are unable to make the same decision we did.
We made this decision because we believe our son’s life will be better knowing that he has a nurturing home he belongs to and an environment that we relatively control. I don’t mean control in the sense of a hovering “helicopter mom,” a characteristic often seen in first-time parents who are too overprotective. My husband and I want our son to experience typical little kid life like having a babysitter, playing with other kids in social settings, learning to share, and apologizing for wrong deeds.
Too often I have witnessed the consequences of helicopter parents: children who too easily get upset when they don’t get their way and rebel until they do. These parents have lost control of their child and are tethered to their bad behavior. In desperation, they often surrender the child’s care to something outside the family unit, like an iPad or public school curriculum.
Instead, when I say control I mean in the sense that we are the primary influencers on our child. If you’ve ever been around babies, toddlers, and young children you have noticed they mimic through observation. Most recently our son, who is only 14 months, has started to say the phrase “no, no, no.” On reflection, I realized that I often say three “no’s” in a friendly, upbeat voice when I notice him about to get into mischief.
My sister also recently told me about how her three-year-old responded to her telling him they were on their way to an appointment: with a quick, “What the heck?” eliciting a muffled chuckle from everyone else in the car. Although these phrases our kids often choose from us are funny in the moment, most parents don’t want the behavior sticking around long-term.
We worry our son will pick up ideas and behaviors we do not support that will someone else will reinforce. This is an unfortunate truth that is increasingly common in our hyper sensitive and sexually loose society. More and more, proponents of gender ideology such as government, the media, and Hollywood are telling us that we have no identity apart from our sexualization, and the ultimate goal of life is the fulfillment of our innate desires.
Indeed, I read a recent article in USA Today detailing the heartbreaking efforts the parents of a 14-year-old girl took to help her through mental issues that were making her believe she was a young man. Sadly, the girl’s high school undermined the parents’ wishes that her behavior not be affirmed, and even suggested she run away. What struck me most was the comments section full of other parents’ similar experience.
On top of that, this past Sunday as I was aimlessly looking through Snapchat highlights, I noticed a headline starting with the phrase, “Imagine this…you’re 16, you’re pregnant, and you don’t want to be. How can you go about getting an abortion if you’re under 18? Read on to find out more…” This was posted by Teen Vogue.
According to their website, “Teen Vogue is the young person’s guide to saving the world. We aim to educate, enlighten and empower our audience to create a more inclusive environment (both on-and offline) by amplifying the voices of the unheard, telling stories that normally go untold, and providing resources for teens looking to make a tangible impact in their communities.”
Knowing their mission, it makes more sense that the magazine felt it is their duty to inform young minds on abortion access. One slide even encouraged a teen to get a “judicial bypass procedure” to undermine state laws that require parental consent before getting an abortion.
It seems our young people are running to untrustworthy outlets, like schools and social media, rather than the home for guidance. Some parents, through apathy, are inadvertently affirming outsiders’ ability to parent for them. These “parental” figures will continue to parent until they reach resistance and sometimes after meeting it refuse to give back this responsibility to parents.
This is why we have chosen to take such precautions controlling our son’s environment. Our prayer is that he never has to seek affirmation from outside influences, like schools or Snapchat, because he has had parents nurturing him throughout his childhood, teaching him right from wrong.
In the midst of adversity, we hope he will come to us for guidance. His soul and mind are too important to not “helicopter.”