Teachers Reveal The Worst Helicopter Parents They've Met
The parent/teacher relationship used to be one of the most influential bonds in a child's life. Parents rely on teachers to educate and prepare their children for a career and success. And teachers rely on parents to back their children's educators and assist them in the journey. Some where along the way that message has gotten skewed. Now everybody wants to believe that their little Tommy and Mary are angels but let's get real. Tommy and Mary have issues and hovering parents who believe they're children are perfect are only a detriment.
Redditor Secret_Life_Shh reached out to the educators of the world needing to know... Teachers/child care workers of Reddit: What is worst case of helicopter parenting/"my child can do no wrong" you've ever seen? In the end, parents need to find a hobby besides their kids. It helps with perspective. **
LET HIM BE...
Music teacher here. I had a HeliMom of one of my guitar students sit in on him during his first lesson. She was sitting right by him, shoulder to shoulder. As I was talking about various things like how to hold the guitar and how to shape your hands and fingers around the neck she would grab his hand and do it for him. Every single time. For everything. Time to strum some chords? Mom did that for him too. Can't get the fret hand to squeeze hard enough to make the strings ring? She pressed his fingers for him. He cried out at that and that's when I stopped and told her she had to let him do it on his own. All I got for that was a sharp look and a"Fine then."
He tried on his own and the string just made kind of a thud noise and she said "See he needs me to help him." I told her that the only way he was going to be able to do it was to try and do it, on his own. He was the one who had to build up the strength. Things didn't really progress much after that and I ended the lesson.
With all of that I wasn't thinking they'd be sticking around for a second week but back they came. Second lesson started off the same and I politely told her she'd have to give him space in order to try. Still she wasn't thrilled but relented and got up in a huff and went out into the hall to watch from there. After she left this kid took a deep breath and was visibly more relaxed. After she stepped out he was able to have his own space and he actually try on his own; he started to do better. It was awesome. At the end of the lesson he said he couldn't wait to come back and his mom came in and grilled him with something like "why can't you do that when I'm helping you? You don't want my help? You don't need my help?"
I could understand stuff like this if he was a young kid, 7 or younger, but dude's 14 years old. He's going to be a freshman in the fall.
This poor kid has ended up being one of my best students. His mom still hovers and he's still a super weird and socially awkward dude from living in a bubble but he's finally found something he can be good at independently from his mom. It's really rewarding to see him gaining more and more confidence even if it is slowly, he'll get there someday.
HOW WILL SHE LEARN?
An incredibly quiet student just flat out refused to engage in any discussion in class. She was an extremely pleasant girl, she just wouldn't speak. I brought it up with her mother during an interview and she told me she'd forbidden her daughter to express her opinion and to just listen to the teacher out of fear they wouldn't agree with her opinion and mark her down out of bias. I assured her that expressing an opinion wouldn't get a student marked down in my class and that developing one is important to her learning but she just said "I'd rather she didn't."
DON'T TOUCH MY FIRE!
While studying I work in an after school care.
One day a 9yr old was showing everyone his lighter by trying to set the shirt he was wearing on fire, I obviously took the lighter off him. When his mother came to pick him up I handed it to her and told her about him trying to set his shirt on fire.
Turns out it was her lighter, so I had "no right" to confiscate it and her son just wouldn't try to set his clothes in fire because "He's not an idiot," so I must be making that up.
Criminal defense lawyer here. I was talking to my 23 year year old client in the hallway before court. His mom walked up to me and said forcefully, "He is a CHILD, do you understand me? A CHILD!" Because she was upset that he was in trouble with the law.
NOT MY CHILD!
I taught middle school for 1 year. We had a student who was being disruptive in all the classes. He was refusing to turn in work, or even do it. He was constantly causing trouble.
We had each tried several strategies to deal with the behavior in our own time. We had each talked to the parents numerous times, but they never did anything nor believed that the student was doing anything inappropriate. No one was having any success.
Eventually one of the teachers had enough so he suggested we do a meeting between all of the students teachers, the guidance counselor, a vice principal, the student, and his parents.
There are 6 teachers plus the vice principal and the guidance counselor all saying the same basic version of, student needs to pay attention, needs to do the work, needs to stop distracting other students, needs to be respectful, etc. etc. The mother disbelieves us; its not the students fault. We all have it in for the student. Nothing changed. Teaching sucks
I'M NOT AFRAID OF YOU!
While I was student teaching I had a student and his mom was the art teacher. The student was a straight up douche. Would cheat on any assignment, belittle classmates, etc... Any time the student got in trouble or called out he would run to his mom (the art teacher) and she would fight for him. All the teachers in the schools were afraid of her since she has been in the district for a long time and was thought to do no wrong by the administration.
The student ended up plagiarizing an essay in class. I gave the student a zero (as it was stated in the assignment sheet that all plagiarism would be an automatic zero) and all hell broke loose. Meetings with the principal were set up, mom would come in during my plan period and rip my a** for failing her kid, and the student would come fake crying to class the work. The essay was a large portion of the grade and would mean he would fail the class. After about two weeks of the mom coming in I finally told her if he turned a new essay into me by the end of week he could get 50% credit on it (would move his grade to a "D" if he got a 100%).
The student comes waltzing in to class on Friday and hands me his essay. After quickly scanning the essay it just seemed off. After a quick google search, the student took the entire Wikipedia page and copied it for his essay. After school, I went down to the art room to talk to the mom. I still remember the conversation like it was yesterday.
Me: _M* did a great job on his essay! _
Mom: Great! He was locked up in his room all week working on it.
Me: _When I looked at his paper I did notice there was an odd section though. _
Mom: _What do you mean? _
Me: _This section has a superscript number on it and I don't see where he citied it. _
Mom: _That is odd, I'll ask him about it. _
Me (pulls out the printed Wikipedia page over his topic that is word for word): _Here is the Wikipedia page over his topic if you want to look at. _
Mom (scanning over both and her face turns ghost white): _Will he be able to make this up? _
Me (with a look of disbelief on my face): Hell no!
The student ended up getting suspended and mom tried to fight the suspension. She even went as far to look into the legitimacy of the grade since a student teacher taught the course. All in all, the mom is no longer a teacher in the district and the kid is in jail for selling drugs. The rest of the staff loved me for standing up to her and her so.
MAYBE HEAD TO THERAPY...
Okay 2 great stories...
1. Happened in 2006. A parent who volunteered in her child's classroom just to video tape her child all day, everyday. She threatened to sue if we did not allow her to. She did this all through elementary. It ended in middle school when they told her no. She stood outside the fence and video taped him at PE. Some one saw this and called the police. She pulled her kid and home schooled him.
2. Happened to a brother and sister I went to high school with. The son was socially awkward, tall and a little round. He was in high school for only a year by himself but his mom was present at every band function we had. She even tried to come to every practice, even the ones from 9am-9pm. But then she decided that her 7th grade daughter was going to skip the 8th grade so she could enter high school early. Now she had 2 kids, she was always at school, even stopping by to lunch with them, it was so sad. The kids were miserable. Then she had her daughter slip the 11th grade, literally appealing to the school board. Threatening legal action if they "held back" her child from her _"destiny." So now she has both kids in the same grade, they graduate together. Mom enrolls them in community college together, in the same classes...with her. So she is now going to classes with them. She never actually passes the classes but she wants to be with them so that the professors know she is watching. Since she is a student there are no grounds for having her removed. The kids get ready to transfer to the local university. They are done with mom, she tries to _"sit in" on classes but that is a big NO from day one. They diverge in interests so they get their own majors. Then they go nuts with classes, appealing to admin to take a huge load of credits. They are in school all day everyday they can. How I met up with them again was weird. I was working on campus and closed the library one night. I found them bedding down for the night in their old station wagon in the parking lot. I offered to let them stay overnight with me. They came to my house and told the tale. Last I heard the daughter dropped out and went into the medical field.
YOU REALIZE YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE?!
I work in a kindy in China. We have about 35 kids in each class, seated in 4 rows of 8 (with a split down the middle) facing the teacher.
We move the children about once a month; each child moves back one row, and the back row gets to sit in the front row.
One parent came in and told us that her child must always be seated in the front row. There's nothing wrong with the child's eyesight; she's just too special to be seated anywhere but the front row I guess. The parent did not request this; she ordered us.
Another time in primary the headmaster came to talk to me, aghast. We had one special group of children that was taught all in English for every subject. This is very expensive and all the parents are pretty rich (One guy has three porsches; a red yellow and blue one and drives whatever colour he feels like to school. He also has several Harley Davidsons.)
Anyway this VERY rich mother was upset because the other rich kids didn't want to play with her daughter. Her daughter, having servants at home, tried to order the other kids around and you can imagine how popular that made her.
THAT AIN'T NO ANGEL HONEY!
I had a boy who kept acting out in class; things like talking to classmates while I was giving directions, giving strange answers, hitting the boys sitting next to him in the arm. I kept notes and informed our academy director about what was happening and he was pulled aside after school a few times to talk about his behavior.
One day, at the end of class, he reached across the table and forcefully flicked a girl in the forehead. She complained and he cocked back his arm like he was going to punch her in response. I had him sit while I let everyone else leave and told him to stay seated while I discussed his behavior with the academy director. (If nothing else, being the last one to go would be a sort of punishment.)
The director chewed him out and apparently he told his mom about it because his mom came to the academy to say that her son was an angel and I should be reprimanded for exaggerating or lying about the situation. Cue the director listing off all the crap her son had done over the past few weeks and telling her that her son was no longer welcome at the academy. Never saw him again after that.
GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!
Less helicopter parent, more "my child is innocent" and a scam. My mom was kicked out of work (temporarily) from her underprivileged school until this case was settled. A kindergartener had just gotten her ears pierced and she took the earrings out in class because they hurt. The teacher sent her to the health secretary (my mom) and the little girl lost an earring somewhere along the way. Cleaned the ears and sent her back to class. Mother of the child sued my mom and filed a case with the school because I guess the earrings were solid gold and diamond. I guess that's what Claire's pierced with, seems legit. Tried to accuse my mom of stealing the earring, no chance that a 6 year old lost a tiny object. Of course the woman did not win in this situation and my mom got back to work but it was a whole bunch of baloney, accusing the teachers and office employees at the school for a lost earring and injured earlobe.
HANDS OFF MOTHER!
My mom owned a daycare center, and I worked there when I wasn't in school. There were some very unique kids and some crazy parents. The one that comes mind though had a 6 year old son. This kid was an incredible brat, but as soon as you met his parents you understood why. He had just started school and was coming home upset because kids were making fun of him, because of his pacifier that he kept with him and used throughout the day.
So his mom decided to wait with him at the school bus stop and pick him up from there. One day they were waiting and he mentioned he had a wedgie. So right there at the bus stop, in front of all the kids in his class, and the crossing guard, his mom picked it for him. Just stuck her hand down his pants and took care of it for him.
She wouldn't even let him handle his own wedgie. Needless to say, that did not help with his teasing.
STEP IT MOM!
I taught a 5 year old whose very eccentric and wealthy mother came in to meet with us before he started to tell us that he had some developmental and social issues and needed a little extra attention and help understanding things (note that at this age a lot of kids aren't officially tested yet for anything) . He comes in and we discover after a week or two that he is absolutely one hundred percent fine developmentally, he's just HORRIBLY behaved and has never been disciplined in his entire life. He was a NIGHTMARE who was rude, entitled, and bratty, but he was perfectly smart and once we got through to him about what behavior was expected of him, he could easily do it. She was a lazy parent who instead of admitting that he was a brat chalked it up to disabilities. To sum it up: "There's no way that my child can be wrong something must be wrong WITH him."
MOMS CAN BE NUTS!
I had a third grade student whose mother felt that I favored other students over her son. She would call me and yell at me about not treating him fairly and lying. She snuck past the office a few times to come into the classroom to watch me teach (which of course is illegal and I'd have to call the office). She'd tell me and the principal that she was trying to "catch me in the act [of being dishonest]." (Of course my principal always defended me and dealt with the parent.)
As a final straw, the mother bought a watch with a voice recorder in it and the boy wore it to school. He yelled out in the middle of class suddenly, "I'm secretly recording you and you won't teach here for much longer!" (An 8-yr-old!) Of course the watch was confiscated and the child was moved into a different classroom, though the school district could have legally moved him into another. But the mother still never backed down and the next teacher had similar issues.
OH MICKEY THAT'S NOT FINE!
I did have a brief stint as a cheerleading coach. Kid gives an attitude about doing literally anything. Won't follow any instruction and usually either sasses me or sits on her phone. Ok. I told her that if she wasn't interested in participating, she can sit in the stands Friday night instead. Kid proceeds to go to bathroom and calls mother (it's not like I can actually take away their phones---try dealing with parents on THAT). Mother drives from work 30 minutes to scream at me for almost an hour. Apparently it is my fault. Her child is the best on the team and I am clearly targeting her. She says I have destroyed her confidence and am jealous of her talent. She can do whatever she wants if she's the best on the squad. Oookay lady. I stopped coaching after that year
WAY TO TEACH MANNERS...
I had a student who was failing pretty badly, he had a pretty bad attitude and was extremely disrespectful. When I called his father, the response was "You're a woman, he doesn't need to respect you." I handed the phone to a male mentor teacher pretty dumbfounded and explained the situation. The male teacher proceeded to ream the dad out and then had the kid transferred from my class to his class. The kid still failed and was still a disrespectful kid. Not sure what the dad had to say about that but at least he couldn't blame it on me being a woman.
I LIKE YOUR PUPPET MA'AM.
Before Uni started we used to hold activities for first year students (frosh week for Canadians reading this). Nothing educational, but always good fun.
Had a student show up with his mother, and she questioned everything we were doing and how it will relate to her son's studies. It didn't. We were very clear that it was all for building relationships and a bit of pre-study enjoyment. It was also a chance to meet older students and get an idea of uni life.
She was having none of it. She wanted to speak with the head of department and file an official complaint about these activities. Clearly having fun was not part of an education.
The second day she came again, and triumphantly said the dean is coming to talk to us. The dean did come, gave us a pep talk and said how much he enjoyed this time of the year, chugged a beer and told us to join him in the local pub later on. She was speechless and left in a huff dragging her son by the hand. Neither showed up for the rest of the week.
STAY CALM DEAR...
In Kindergarten we have testing twice a year, one in winter and again in the spring. A parent called in a conference because her daughter had received 2% under the cut-off that suggested her child may, by THIRD grade, need additional help meeting reading goals. Now, that isn't why I consider her a helicopter parent. Those test scores can be confusing and I could see why she might have been worried upon seeing that if she didn't really understand the way it worked. However, myself and my mentor teacher spent about 45 minutes (with her kid in the room hearing everything) trying to console her that her daughter was doing fine and that we weren't concerned about her progress at all. We told her she interacts well with her peers, feels confident and comfortable reading, and that these tests aren't a good way to showcase understanding, especially for a five year old. The mother revealed that she makes her daughter do over thirty minutes of homework every night and won't even let her walk downstairs without reciting all of her weekly spelling words. Other stuff too, but basically the mom was putting unreasonable pressure on this 5 year old girl. Like planning college and thinking years ahead.
Just relax, your kid is five. If we have any concerns, trust me, you would know. Don't burn your kid out this early in their education.
LET'S GET DENTAL RECORDS...
Had a kid bite another kid, had pictures of the bite mark where teeth were clearly visible and the kid admitted to biting the other kid because he got in his way. Parents said he would never bite anyone and that the picture could be of any type of injury...
YOU CAN'T SAVE THEM...
I'm a high school counselor. Last year I had this student who was a total sweetheart but really needed intervention. This girl was a sophomore and had a grand total of 20 credits towards graduation under her belt. She should have had 90 by that point and was on track to fail 25 more that spring. She was failing miserably. Not only that but she would be constantly ditching class and often end up in my office because there was no where else to go. The school has only one way in or out. I did everything in my power to help this girl and eventually was able to get a parent meeting with myself, teachers, the school psych and school administrators involved. I explained to her parents in great detail how at this point it was mathematically impossible for her to graduate from high school at that school at the rate she was failing classes. I offered continuation school that has a much higher rate of graduation for students in her situation. I desperately wanted her to get tested for special education because it was obvious she had deficiencies and could have at least gotten some legal accommodations put in place for her in order to help her. Parents just said no to everything. No to continuation school because that's where the _"bad" kids went. No to testing because special ed had a _"bad stigma." _No to after school tutoring cuz _"she's capable of doing all of this work." No to working one on one with the school psych to sort out her emotional issues. No to everything. I'd never felt so defeated and knew then that I couldn't save every kid no matter how much I wanted to.
THE SCHOOL DEMOGRAPHIC DOESN'T MATTER!!
I'll give two examples. One suburban, one inner city.
Suburban: Kid asked where dogs came from. Not sure why, I was an English teacher. I said they were bred from wolves, and gave two common explanations for how human interaction may have started. Mom called the school, then called me, freaking out that I mentioned evolution. Turned into a whole thing.
Inner city: Teen sucker punched some poor girl, then punched me in the face when I broke them up. Ended up getting escorted off by campus cop. Dad showed up to the school and started threatening to kick everyone's butt.