19 Ways to Deal With Your Spouse Who Has Become an Overbearing ‘Helicopter Parent’

Share on Facebook

In case you were somehow blissfully unaware, parenting is hard, y’all! (I know, I know. News of the century, right?)

Luckily for parents, there are a bunch of them in the world, and in an ideal society, they’re all there to help each other when needed. After all, we’re all on the same team, right? (‘Cause you know kids are constantly plotting to take over the world.)

Bad Parenting Moments has decided to take advantage of the great advice parents provide each other. Today’s question comes from Annie (not her real name, BTW), whose husband has become a helicopter parent to their kids. Here’s the best advice BPM’s readers had for Annie:

“Hey, BPM! So, my husband’s parenting style is very different from mine—like, I feel like I’ll go nuts if I have to respond to every bump and holler that comes out of the kids’ rooms, whereas any time he so much as hears a peep he wants an explanation for exactly what happened and gives them a 20 minute lecture. He’s really overprotective, and while I’m SO glad he’s involved and cares, and I try to walk away and let him parent the way he feels like he needs to parent…it really bothers me that it means my more laid-back, ‘let them learn for themselves’ parenting style gets steamrollered like it doesn’t matter. Is there some way to balance things out?”

What if you give him a dose of his own medicine? Every time he does something, give him a 20-minute lecture and become really overprotective of him, etc. Not in a nasty way but just to show him what he’s like, he may not realize what he’s doing. Or, you know, just lay down some LEGO bricks for him to step on each time and use it as negative reinforcement. ? – Bekki Fountain

Take him to the park (minus the kid) and point out the 8-year-old that is whining and crying like a 1-year-old and asking the parent to do it all. Then look at hubby and ask him if he really wants his child to be like that. Then point out the 4-year-old off having fun, using their imagination and investigating the world. When they call for mom or dad, it’s to show them some awesome thing they found. Then ask him if that is more what he wants his child to emulate. – AshleyHope Hudgins-Tarantino

Is he an anxious person, or authoritarian? Some lecturers are exerting their authority in a managerial way, which is annoying, but not harmful if it’s not aggressive. Time and coaxing can help back that type off a bit. Of course, aggressive/bully behavior should be nipped, but that doesn’t seem to be the issue. If he has anxieties and fears of injury and tragedy that lead him to lectures about caution and worry… that needs to be addressed. The kids will pick up those fearful tendencies, and his patrolling may get worse. You don’t want the whole situation to become neurotic. Bottom line, try to see where it’s coming from and assess the level of concern from there. – Charlene Silver

I don’t know how it is at your home but similar things happen in my home. This is usually because the daddy comes back from work in the evening and spends lesser time than I am with the kids. So, I know she would not get hurt as she has climbed that chair 200 times since morning and has mastered it. And spilling water, putting food on the face, I have seen it all the whole day, but daddy hasn’t. So, I let daddy alone with Bubu on a weekend and took my time off, and then I started explaining that she is just being a toddler and it is important to let her be. Unless there is a danger. I think he got it. – Lavanya Athreya

This is tough! I have found our kiddos benefit from both of our parenting styles — which are way different! Does he impose his expectations on you? If so, that would drive me batty? Also, do one of you spend more time with the kiddos? I stay home with my kids and by sheer need to function, have relaxed a great deal. I think my husband has more energy to care about stuff because he is with them less?  – Meredith Spidel

It is such a slippery slope! We obviously want to support our children and equip them to deal with the situations but it is hard to know when to intervene and went to let them make their own way. If we don’t have adversity, we don’t learn to deal with it, right? It might be good advice to come up with a plan ahead of time, a proactive vs. reactive plan. “We will let our child deal with their own issues unless they have already tried and are asking for help or XYZ.” – Kerry Issac-Rossow

My husband is the same. Likes to control everything. My way of dealing (17 Years later)…LET HIM. Grab a beer and Netflix. Whatever!! If he wants it his way, let him do it that way!!? you chill. – Rachel Price

The real issue appears to be how you interpret his actions as a judgment against your parenting style. You both need to discuss this and how you feel. He may be interpreting your actions as a judgment against him too. Understanding each other’s motivations will go a long way to a happy home. Even better, do it in front of the kids so they can see how you work together. – Lindsay Brusso

Most children have a 5-minute attention span for things they don’t care about, so if you can’t get to the point in that time the kids are bound to miss the message. Maybe try the rule: “If they aren’t hurting themselves, someone else, or something, then it isn’t worth the stress of reacting to.” Kids learn more from modeling their parents’ behavior and positive reinforcement anyway. – Allison Havens

My advice is to duct tape him to a chair in a room where you can shut the door… It might be funny. – Liz Condiff

Maybe sit down and talk about why you each parent in your different styles, and come up with a middle ground. This way, each of you get to say, “My experience is XYZ” and better understand the WHY behind the automatic responses to the kids’ behaviors. There’s also the Dr. Phil version of examining the parenting styles: So, how’s that working for you? So if he is continually jumping in and it’s not making things better, maybe he can try your method for a month. – Kim Bongiorno

Either 1. just let him do his thing or 2. jump up before he does, check on the kids, report back that they’re fine and spare them the 20-minute lecture and your sanity. I had to do this with my ex and our kids as he was exactly the same way. He mellowed a bit when they got older. – Tabatha Stevenson

It’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s Chuck Norris… I love it!

Let him answer all the complaints fights and other issues. Tell them to ask their father. He’ll get tired of it eventually. – Cayce Calibro-Hasley

I was the helicopter parent and had to be involved in everything and no one could do it the way I did it (the right way). Until I realized that he loves them just as much as I do and wants what’s best…both ways can work, that’s the balance! – Yvette Arellano-Reinbolt

Let him do what he wants its like a good cop/bad cop scenario. You just go to your room mom and take deep breaths and try to control yourself from telling him off but if you have to tell him off it can be cute like, “Um honey, you will definitely put the kids to sleep with that boring long lecture of yours.” Good luck girl…and remember you are not alone! – Bruchie Bengio

Tell him to save his energy for the teenage years! – Marilyn Fxblzz

What is he expecting to get out of the children? They’re children. He’s going to give them anxiety having to explain every single stupid, noisy or loud thing they do. Unless someone is screaming or bleeding, I’ll be on the couch. – Kiraa Elizabeth

Start by drugging your husband. Then wrap each child in bubble wrap and secure them with duct tape and a helmet. With a heavily medicated husband and child proof children I don’t see how this could possibly go wrong. – Hannah Tyne Bennett
the original Bad Parenting Moments