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Helicopter Parents Ruining My Relationship

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My parents can be described at helicopter parents. They have always been very involved in my life and even moved with me when I went away to college. In college, I developed a serious relationship with a guy who I’ve been seeing for over 3 years. It is getting to the point of engagement, but my mom refuses to see it as serious and always talks negatively about him (with no credible evidence) and our relationship. I see it more as jealously and issues letting go, especially because she has no reason to dislike him so much. Do I try to separate myself completely? I have tried talking to my parents and even trying to take a stand and do things that I want to do involving spending time with my boyfriend and his family instead of mine all of the time and that results in regression, negative emotions, and a lot of hurt.

Helicopter Parents Ruining My Relationship

Answered by on -


It’s extraordinary that your parents moved to be with you when you went to college. That’s the time when many young people and their parents go through a healthy separation. By staying so involved in each other’s lives, you didn’t have the opportunity to claim a life of your own — and they didn’t have the opportunity to gradually rediscover life as a couple. So here you are now, at 23, trying to get these fine people who love you too much to let you make your own decisions without losing your connection to them. What they don’t seem to realize is that by holding you so tight, they are helping to create the moment they fear: The moment when you get so upset with them that the only way you see to separate is to blow out of the family all together. What you may not realize is that by being so invested in their approval and permission, you are also helping maintain the status quo.

Rather than argue about the merits of your boyfriend, I suggest you talk to your folks directly about your relationship with them. Let them know how much you love them and appreciate their concerns but that you are now at a time when you need to make your own decisions, your own successes and even your own mistakes. It is the only way you will grow into the adult you all want you to become.

Reassure them that you want to stay connected but that doesn’t mean that you want or need their approval. Then go for it. You will probably make some decisions your parents will like and some they won’t. You may fall flat on your face or you may do fine. But if you aren’t allowed (by them and by you) to take responsibility and learn from mistakes, you can’t take credit and learn from your successes either.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Helicopter Parents Ruining My Relationship

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Helicopter Parents Ruining My Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Jan 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.