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  • Jody B. Miller

Breaking Free from Drone Parenting: 5 Steps to Support Your Children as They Leave the Nest

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Parenting is a journey filled with a multitude of emotions.

From the moment your children are born, you become their protector, provider, and guide.


As they grow, they inevitably reach a point where they're ready to spread their wings and leave the nest. This transition can be challenging, especially for mothers who want to ensure their children's success and happiness.


How can you let go without hovering like a drone mom (the new helicopter mom designation)?


Here's a 5-step program to help you support your children while fostering their independence, backed by studies and research.

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Emotions Before you can support your children in their newfound independence, it's crucial to acknowledge your own emotions.


Research from the Journal of Adolescence (2015) suggests that parents often experience anxiety, sadness, and even depression when their children leave home. It's essential to recognize that these feelings are entirely normal.

Take the time to process your emotions and understand that letting go is a natural part of parenthood. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist if needed. Remember, your emotions are valid, but they shouldn't dictate your actions.

Step 2: Foster Open Communication Effective communication is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your adult children.


A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family (2019) found that parents who maintain open and supportive communication have better relationships with their adult children. Encourage them to share their experiences, dreams, and challenges with you without fear of judgment.

Practice active listening, and avoid giving unsolicited advice unless they ask for it. This will help your children feel heard and respected, strengthening your bond.

Step 3: Set Healthy Boundaries Establishing clear boundaries is essential in transitioning from a drone mom to a supportive parent.


A study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies (2018) suggests that healthy boundaries contribute to better parent-child relationships.

Discuss expectations and boundaries with your children, respecting their autonomy while still offering your support. Let them know that you trust their judgment and that you're always there if they need guidance.

Step 4: Encourage Independence One of the most significant challenges of letting go is allowing your children to make their own decisions, even if they make mistakes.


Research published in the Journal of Adolescence (2016) indicates that children who are allowed to explore and learn from their choices tend to become more responsible and self-reliant.

Support your children's independence by encouraging them to take on responsibilities and make decisions, such as managing their finances or living on their own. This fosters self-confidence and prepares them for the challenges of adulthood.

Step 5: Focus on Your Own Well-being As your children leave the nest, it's time to rekindle your own passions and interests.


A study in the journal Psychology and Aging (2016) found that parents who maintained a sense of purpose and well-being were better equipped to handle the transition when their children left home.

Rediscover your hobbies, invest in self-care, and nurture your relationships outside of your role as a parent. A happy and fulfilled parent is better equipped to provide meaningful support to their children.

Letting go of your children as they leave the nest can be challenging, but it's a crucial step in their development.


By following this 5-step program, you can transition from a drone mom to a supportive, empowering parent. Remember, your role as a parent evolves, but your love and support remain constant.


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