Dear Machine Moms


Dear Machine Moms (and Dads),

I’m talking to the helicopters, lawn mowers, landscapers, airplanes, ambulances, and all the other cute names we have for parents that are overly involved in their children’s lives….

Please stop.

As both a mother and a teacher, please trust that you can count on me to tell you the truth. You are doing your kids a disservice.

Your child will not learn to handle a bad grade, because you jump in and berate the teacher, call them names, and bully them into a higher grade. Instead, your child will learn that it’s ok to be ugly to get what you want, even if you didn’t earn it, and that you will come to their rescue.

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When your child gets treated unfairly, in your mind, and you begin to react and have meetings and make claims, your child learns that they should always be treated as more important than the other kids.

When you are constantly jumping in to make sure they get their “fair share,” your child grows up with the sense that life is something that it is definitely not, fair.

And as children get older, parents can and should have less and less impact on their daily lives. Colleges don’t talk to parents about grades and such, and they really shouldn’t call their kids’ boss about their work performance.

Life is not fair, it’s not always nice, and it’s not always pretty. 

But most of the time, people are coming at things from a place of kindness. 

I once had a professor who said to me, “always assume good intent.” THIS is the lesson to teach your children.

Sometimes, your child will make a bad grade or a mistake. Help them learn what they did wrong and how they can improve. So they can do it better the next time, and don’t make the same mistake again.

Maybe your child was wrong. Maybe the other kid was wrong. Maybe everyone was having a bad day, and they were both a little wrong. Help them both to discuss the problem and work through it. So they learn conflict resolution.

Let’s teach our kids to deal with everything that life throws at them, all the ups and downs. Most importantly, let’s teach our children how to be good friends. No one is perfect, but most of the time, we are all trying our best.

If we all lead with kindness and attempt to do the right thing every step of the way, we will find that the world doesn’t need quite so many helicopters, lawn mowers, and other machinery.