The doorbell rang the other day and it was a neighborhood boy who lives seven houses away. He is on the high school football team and every year they sell coupons to local restaurants as a way to raise money for the team. I stepped outside onto the front step, greeted him and he shows me what he has and how much, etc.
Then I notice a minivan that is idling on the curb just next door. It is his mother - his helicopter mother - keeping an eye on her boy. Her high school boy who is a young man at this point. Just making sure nothing happens to him, she was.
Granted, it was a long time ago but when I was a kid all I ever heard was, "Be home before dark!" And this was when I was in grade school, not high school.
When I look back on it one of the most valuable parts of my childhood was being turned loose and left alone. Here is why: I learned to be self-reliant. If something happened (skinned knee, fell out of a tree, got turned around / lost, bully was hassling you, etc) it was up to you to figure it out. Limp home, ask for directions, get beat up by the bully (again), etc. Today these moms are right there on standby, ready to swoop in and save the day. And her boy will never be self-reliant. He is doomed to be reliant.
It is a grave disservice to the child and it is being done out of parental love. There are seasons of life growing up but the time comes when parents need to let go. When they do it will make for a more confident child who will be more comfortable heading out on their own. And that child will have a brighter future.