There's helicopter parenting an adult child and there's Extreme Helicoptering of our post-adolescence offspring. Neither is healthy but the latter can be especially harmful. Extreme helicopter parents have been sited accompanying their adult children to job interviews and barging into the interview itself. (It does not leave an employer with a positive impression of the would-be employee.) Or calling their adult child's boss and explaining difficulties the child is having with a co-worker or insisting on a raise. (It is counterproductive.) We have been known to get carried away in the pursuit of helping our adult children navigate the world.
Now there's this: Accompanying a grown child for a medical check up and staying in the examination room. One physician, who was disturbed when it happened in his office, wrote an article about it. The child was a burly, 20-year old male construction worker suffering from fatigue; the concerned mother answered more of the doctors questions than the son did. The doctor eventually insisted the mom leave the room. Only then was he able to have a meaningful discussion with his patient.
Here are three key points the doctor, Tim Lahey who practices in Vermont, made in a Washington Post story about parental over-oversight of health issues:
--Let them speak up for themselves: "I worried the mother was unintentionally keeping the patient from learning how to advocate for himself. This wasn’t just a clinical intuition. A 2017 study showed that greater parental involvement in young-adult health care predicts lower young-adult independence.
--Stand behind them: "Parents play a critical role in young-adult health. The trick is to provide support in ways that reinforce autonomy. Parents can encourage a young adult to bring up an issue before a doctor’s visit and even brainstorm with them on how to bring it up."