Helicopter Parents Need A Shock Collar #EpicFail

Something I left out about my recap of Ollie's first soccer practice, ("Toddler Organized Sports Are Anything But Organized") was the crowd of Helicopter parents hovering the entire practice!

On what planet is it right to hover over your child in the middle of a soccer practice?

When the coach initially called the children to the center of the field to begin practice, I expected the crowd of parents to come join me and the lady I spent the morning following around on the bleachers.


Three exited the field. TEN stayed. And what's more shocking, of the ten, three had little girls that looked to be between 14-18 months let allowed to toddler around on the field aimlessly. Two parents actually sat down on the field and began talking.


I turned to the mother sitting next to me and asked if I should be out there.

She said,"Please, don't. Unless you are a helicopter parent."

She went on to tell me how they stay out there the entire practice and hover over their child. She said the worst was the parents that let the siblings wonder, and that one of the little girls got plowed by a ball the week before.

I stared at these parents in amazement. They really did follow their child up and down the field, one talked on the phone the entire time.

I had to take a photo.  Look at them all out there, and the littles ones too! They were constantly in the way, to the point that they would kick balls that came at them.


How does this seem OK?

Mid-way through the practice I wondered why the coaches didn't draw a line and throw the parents off the field?  Maybe because the kids are only 2-3 year olds, maybe because it's more drills and running around then actual game play, but still...

The parents guiding and reprimanding their children left and right. Shouldn't that be the coach's job?

I understand at this age, organized sports are more for fun, but this is also a great opportunity to teach toddlers to listen to coaches and work as a team.  How can they do that with mommy and daddy helping them kick the ball?


Yes, my kid ran all over the field doing his own thing, no he was certainly not a team player, but when the coaches corralled him he listened. I have no doubt had I been out on the field, I would have spent the majority of the time in the way, sucking the fun out of the experience for Ollie by trying to make him stay with the group, and no doubt had a ball or two kicked at me. Screw that.

Maybe it's me, and parents of toddlers should be on their kid's ass at sport practices. I just can't do it.  I want Ollie to grow and learn on his own, and most of all, see that he can be apart of something and have fun without me. I may make all kinds of mistakes as a parent, but hovering is certainly not one of them.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Anonymous said...

Please tell me, that photo is a fake and you made that up! They are toddlers, let them run and have fun and if they actually kick a ball, even better.
I am totally on your side and I love your blog!!!

April McCormick said...

Thank you! Yes, that photo is so real. I had to take it for proof. Who would think there were that may helicopters hovering in one place! Thanks for your support!!!! X

tina said...

It was harder with my first child to see myself fighting back the helicopter parent. You want them to always smile and succeed and be protected. But as time went on it was easy to see (especially by watching other parents) how crippling and annoying that is. In life, we haven't succeeded until we have failed....again and again. It how we learn to make better decisions and work hard and appreciate and respect ourselves and others. If we take failure away from our kids, or simply not let them think for themselves and figure things out we are not protecting them from the world, rather sending them into it without a shield or sword.