Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

In writing and talking to Dave about the damage that can be done when helicopter parents won’t allow their kids to grow, learn, and make their own mistakes, we discussed how likely it was that certain school administrators around the country where our kids attended school might have the perception that we are such helicopter parents.

After all, we did withdraw our son from art class to prevent him from being exposed to her toxic ways. There were times when we were in contact with at least one of our son’s teachers almost every day. And, even as he heads off to high school, we already have started drafting our introductory email that will beat him to each classroom.

Are we helicopter parents?


We are involved parents of special needs kids. And for those parents out there who have a special needs child, you will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say there is a difference.

Our older son had Down syndrome. He could not communicate for himself because he was born deaf and has no appreciable language skills. We had to be heavily involved in advocating for him because he could not advocate for himself.

Our younger son has Aspergers as well as a seizure disorder. While he has truly learned to navigate school and society so much more successfully, we do still stay much more heavily involved as advocates to ensure that he is treated fairly – and by fairly, I mean as an individual.

Advocates of special needs kids can certainly become helicopter parents, but there is a difference. Every parent should be involved in their children’s education; it’s when you do not allow your child to take risks they are ready to take, have a voice in their own future, or make decisions they are capable of making that the line is crossed.