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Backlash Against Helicopter Parents

Like the proverb says, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and parenting is no excuse. Nancy Gibbs of TIME Magazine wrote a very interesting article about the growing backlash against "helicopter parents":

The insanity crept up on us slowly; we just wanted what was best for our kids. We bought macrobiotic cupcakes and hypoallergenic socks, hired tutors to correct a 5-year-old's "pencil-holding deficiency," hooked up broadband connections in the treehouse but took down the swing set after the second skinned knee. We hovered over every school, playground and practice field — "helicopter parents," teachers christened us, a phenomenon that spread to parents of all ages, races and regions. Stores began marketing stove-knob covers and "Kinderkords" (also known as leashes; they allow "three full feet of freedom for both you and your child") and Baby Kneepads (as if babies don't come prepadded). The mayor of a Connecticut town agreed to chop down three hickory trees on one block after a woman worried that a stray nut might drop into her new swimming pool, where her nut-allergic grandson occasionally swam. A Texas school required parents wanting to help with the second-grade holiday party to have a background check first. Schools auctioned off the right to cut the carpool line and drop a child directly in front of the building — a spot that in other settings is known as handicapped parking.

We were so obsessed with our kids' success that parenting turned into a form of product development. Parents demanded that nursery schools offer Mandarin, since it's never too soon to prepare for the competition of a global economy. High school teachers received irate text messages from parents protesting an exam grade before class was even over; college deans described freshmen as "crispies," who arrived at college already burned out, and "teacups," who seemed ready to break at the tiniest stress.

Link (Photo: Hugh Kretschmer / TIME)


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@Skipweasel: that reminds me of a poster that used to hang at my dentist's office. It read "If you do everything for me, how am I supposed to learn to do anything on my own?".
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One of the things I notice is that many children have no idea of the strength of materials because they've never been allowed to break anything. If you've never had a tree-branch snap, you won't know how thin a branch will support your weight. If you've never smashed a pane of glass you won't know when you're older whether it'll take your own toddler running into it.
You learn through experience - but if all your experience is second hand then you know very little.
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as a kid, we ran around the neighborhood all dang day on weekends and in the summer. if i fell down and scraped my knees, i didn't cry but got right back up again and kept playing. my brother (who is 17 years younger than me) never goes outside, was playing video games at 2, and has a fit if the t.v. is turned off for more than a few minutes. most of this has to do with my mom having more time to hover over him and baby him in a way my other siblings and i never were. and thank god.

kids need to get boo-boos. kids need to mess up. kids need to be punished appropriately when they do wrong.
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Pwscott that is just the thing- You Thínk / You Belíéve that without your hovering, your kids would be injured or wouldn't have survived. Point is you really do not know that for a fact because you did hover and you could not from the best of your heart's intentions leave your kids to find out for themselves.

Lots of other children without hovering parents will fall, will injure themselves at several moments. But most of those children will learn from that- independently. And they will grow stronger from those falls and bruises literal and socially and in all those other ways in their lives. It will make them more complete humans instead of keeping them upto a point fragile greenhouse plants...

We live in a Western society where fear is the main component of our news and media attention.
All the things that go well, without problems, will not come into view and out of the news. And so we breed fear and cautiousness- What IF---- And so the nescessity is created to take extra care over our children in any aspect of their lives. Because what IF they will fall: 100.000's possibilities of getting hurt irreparably- just look at the news! What IF they go less strong or succesful in school socially or in their grades: 200.000 risks and horrible possible bad outcomes- You only have to look at the weekly stream of news to get evidence of that.

And so lots of parents lose any trust in the natural flow that their kids live in. They do not even trust themselves and they are convinced that one has to disinfect and sterilise everything in the environment of their most precious posession- their kids. And they become convinced that the road ahead must be paved FOR the child instead of trusting that the child could ever do that for itself at some point...
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