As a public defender, I represent juvenile offenders and I deal with a lot of moms and dads. Because of this, I was amused by a Newsweek article titled “Helicopter Parents.” A university admissions officer coined the term to describe parents (usually moms) who hovered over every detail of their children’s lives, often to their detriment. Also, no one will admit to being a helicopter. They are just concerned and involved; it’s the other parents that are crazy.
Well, me (being me) got to thinking. The label “helicopter” covers a lot of territory. Military? Civilian? Transport? Attack? Why just helicopters? What about surveillance craft and bombers? When it comes to parents, I’ve seen it all, for better or worse.
So, I’ve developed this quiz. If you are interested in finding out what military aircraft best describes your parenting style, stop wrapping the playground equipment in bubble wrap and give it a try.
#1: Your child is charged with a serious crime and must go to court to appear before the judge. Do you:
A) Immediately enroll in law school because no one knows your child like you do and no attorney can adequately represent your child.
B) Immediately circulate a petition demanding the prosecutor be recalled. Demand an investigation of the police. Obviously, your child is the target of a conspiracy.
C) Go to every court appearance. Make your child answer his attorney’s questions. Tell your child that you love him, but he is responsible for his own behavior.
D) Tell the judge to lock him up. Jail will probably do the little punk some good.
#2: You come home early and find your sixteen-year old son and his girlfriend on the basement sofa. They are firmly on second base and heading for third. Do you:
A) Call the girl’s parents and tell them to come and get their trampy daughter. Your son deserves better than that. You know him.
B) Storm in and loudly start lecturing. Keep it up while the kids get dressed and continue it during the drive to the girl’s house. Inform her parents what happened and suggest punishments they should impose.
C) Tell the kids to break it up and that your son has fifteen minutes to take her home. Close the door so they can’t see you laughing. Get out the ice cream and start figuring out what you’ll say to him when he gets home.
D) Give your boy a thumbs-up and toss in a box of condoms.
#3: Your child is running a fever, with an upset stomach, and headache. Do you:
A) Swing into action. You have a completely stocked medicine cabinet. You set up an oxygen tent and prepare an enema, just in case. No need for doctors. No one knows your child like you do.
B) You immediately go to the Emergency Room where you demand the attending physician examine him. You write a complaint letter to the AMA when the doctor prescribes rest, Tylenol, and chicken soup.
C) You call school and tell them your child will be absent. You fix Jello and watch cartoons until your child takes a nap. It is persists for more than two days, you make an appointment with the doctor.
D) You tell your child to go out and play because the fresh air will make him feel better.
#4 Your child plays sports and makes a mistake that costs the team the game. He is very disappointed. Do you:
A) Immediately take your child off the team. Failure is bad for your child and may stunt his development. No one knows your child like you do.
B) Immediately jump in and argue with the coach and the referee. Arrange coaching sessions and see that he practices every day, seven days a week. Join the team as an assistant coach so you can monitor his progress.
C) On the way to the ice cream parlor, tell your child about the time you gave a speech in front of the whole school with your pants unzipped.
D) When you hear about it from one of the parents who was there, tell your child to suck it up and stop whining. It’s only a game.
The results! Let’s see what your answers say about your parenting style.
1. If you answered mostly “A,” you are a CH-47 Chinook. The largest cargo helicopter in the arsenal of freedom, your overwhelming presence blocks out the sun and your rotor wash flattens everything, including your troops. You know what your troops need and that they are helpless without you.
2. If you answered mostly “B,” you are an AH-64D Apache attack chopper. Armed to the teeth and impervious to damage, you swoop in to rain fiery death on all that oppose you. You love a hot LZ and live for the fight, abiding by the motto, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” Your troops’ respect of you is tinged with a healthy dose of fear.
3. If you answered mostly “C,” you are a B-2 Spirit bomber. The epitome of design and smart technology. Stealthy, you are always just above the horizon and rarely seen or detected. Your troops act in confidence, knowing they can take chances. If things get tight, one squawk and you are there to clear the way for them, scorching the earth if necessary.
4. If you answered mostly “D,” you are a KC-135 Stratotanker. Old style, old school, virtually unchanged since the 1950s. You see your job as launching your troops, fully fueled into the world. After that, you have other plans. Your troops know they need to be self-reliant because if they come in on bingo fuel, you may or may not be there to back them up.
So, how did you score? I’ve seen all four types of parents. Heck, I was raised by one of these types of parents. Reading the articles I was struck by one thought. Bubble wrap can cushion. It can also suffocate. Just like I tell the judge, give this kid a chance and he’ll surprise you with what he can do!
Terri Coop shares her little house on the prairie with husband Noah, and three Chihuahuas. A lawyer by education, a toymaker by trade, a writer by night, and an unapologetic geek the rest of the time. Head honcho of the Circle X Ranch and dedicated to bringing back the 1960s cowboy action figure Johnny West. Her short stories have appeared in Dream People, Whispers of Wickedness, Flashshots, and The Flash Fiction 40 Anthology. Her hobbies include collecting salt-and-pepper shakers and blogging about stuff like creepy clowns and abandoned furniture. Check out her main blog: Readin, Rittin, & Rhetoric, and she will be eternally grateful.