Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Helicopter Parents

I took a quiz at Newsweek to see if I was a "helicopter parent." Okay, so my kid is seven years away from college but I already know that I am not and will never be, a helicopter parent (I hope!). The Newsweek article described the process of boomer parents letting go of their children. I warn you, it doesn't sound pretty:

Most boomers don't want to be "helicopter parents," hovering so long that their offspring never get a chance to grow up. Well versed in the psychological literature, they know that letting go is a gradual process that should begin when toddlers take their first steps without a parental hand to steady them. And hovering is certainly not a new phenomenon; both Gen. Douglas MacArthur and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had mothers who moved to be near them when they went to college. But with cell phones and e-mail available 24/7, the temptation to check in is huge. Some boomer parents hang on, propelled by love (of course) and insecurity about how the world will treat their children. After years of supervising homework, they think nothing of editing the papers their college students have e-mailed them. A few even buy textbooks and follow the course syllabi. Later they're polishing student résumés and calling in favors to get summer internships. Alarmed by these intrusions into what should be a period of increasing independence, colleges around the country have set up parent-liaison offices to limit angry phone calls to professors and deans. Parent orientations, usually held alongside the student sessions, teach how to step aside.

I will never understand these parents who hover over their children like this. Is it just one more selfish boomer characteristic that they feel their child is an extension of themselves and they try to live vicariously through them, or is it the fear that the kid will come home to live in the parent's basement if they do not succeed? Either way, wouldn't it be best to teach one's child independence and how to care for themselves? I thought that is what good parenting was about. Apparently, good parenting to some boomers is to extend adolescence to the age of 30-35 and then complain when Johnny or Jane moves home because they never learned to make it on their own. Truthfully, I would rather have a young adult who could care for themselves and had no college education (or attended a state school) than I would one who went to Harvard and then used me as a crutch the rest of his or her life.

Update: Some thoughts from Glenn (Instapundit) on why parents are having so few kids to "hover around."


Anonymous Rich said...

The two best things that you can give your kids are roots and wings...

3:43 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have my kids check my graduate school papers for me. They are excellent at finding typos and correcting flawed English. Are they helicopter kids?


4:03 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Jim said...

This isn't something the boomers invented. It is standard human nature, or maybe just a cultural tic. I saw a program about how mother's (in-law) run extended households in northern India, even if the young couple lives off in some city rather than in the home village, managing the finances for the households of all her sons, and their poor long-suffering wives - who would probably be easy prey to God-knows-who without her supervision. So it all works out. It also makes an entire baby advice industry redundant.

4:15 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My oldest two are in college and my youngest in in high school. And I'd feel honored to proofread their college papers.

On the other hand, I eagerly anticipate their departure to their own quarters, hopefully more than a mile and less than an hour's drive away.

As much I feel like I risk being labeled a helicopter parent, my wife and I (well, perhaps I shouldn't speak for her) do endeavor to leave them to their own risks and pratfalls. But I've learned from talking to colleagues who've moved away from family just how valuable having family nearby can be.

4:21 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think there is a greater sense of entitlement these days. However, my father's mother did his laundry when he was at college. My mom on the other hand, merely gave me one piece of advice at when she came for parent orientation, "Make sure you get quarters when you cash your paycheck." My son has opposable thumbs but can't fold laundry, and then wonders why kids tease him about wrinkled clothes. Perhaps I should call Sikorski for some help.

5:16 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 4:21,

I absolutely agree that having family around is very important--but I think there is a big difference between having family around to visit, talk and help out vs. having a parent direct one's life and running to them everytime a decision needs to be made or a problem occurs.

5:19 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

I have to wonder if the recent rash of Track My Teen GPS products have to do with this.

7:15 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I must be "submarine"
parent. After our daughters finished their courses I would take a look at their books and many times would end up reading them.

One of the best pieces of advise I ever received on child rearing was from our oldest daughters pediatrician. A mother of 5, she told me to never forget that my goal should be to raise an adult, not a child. Back then I wasn't so sharp so had to think about it a while, but then did get it. And tried to keep that in mind through the years.

7:19 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Silvermine said...

Oh dear. My parents never even checked my work when I was in elementary school. Somehow it was supposed to be my responsibility! Go figure!


I think in the first grade, they reminded me to do my homework, because it was new and sometimes I forgot it existed.

7:28 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger geekWithA.45 said...

Parenting goals for our kids:

To be happy, healthy, independent and formidable human beings.

And whoever tells you a 3 year old isn't capable of cleaning their room...isn't doing it right. ;)

9:08 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in a neuroscience PhD program. One of my favorite quotes ever comes from a neuroscientist (I forget which one) who was asked how to "raise a healthy child, from a neurological perspective." His answer:

"Don't raise your children in a closet, starve them, or hit them in the head with a frying pan." - Steve Peterson.

Also, "the first few years importance", "music in the womb", and "enriched environment" studies have all been debunked or were misrepresented in the first place.

9:37 PM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a bad mommy. My kids never heard music in the womb, weren't enrolled in all the trendiest preschool programs, and only played Y-ball on Saturdays until they were old enough for school sports. They were even *gasp* expected to entertain themselves in the yard on occasion. (BTW: no matter how PC you are, and what expensive educational building toys you buy, they'll figure out how to make a weapon of it, esp. the boys, given the opportunity.)

The "b-word" (b*red) resulted in chores around the house.

If they fought with their siblings over a toy, it was confiscated without regard to "who started it" because I didn't care. Ditto fighting over whether to watch Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony on the television. It didn't take much to encourage me to turn the set off. (BTW: they taught themselves negotiation skills as a result.)

One of the funnest summers ever: My son and his cousin plus a pair of pruning shears to create a fort in the rose bower at the back of our property. Best feature: the lion pit they built (and, uh, tinkling in it) to keep the neighborhood bullies out. Had to admire their ingenuity. That was the summer they shot their own movie using a first generation beta movie camera and a large t-rex model to make their own Godzilla movie. My kids were fun to raise. And having my nephew around just doubled the fun. What one boy didn't think of, the other did.

10:00 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

That's just weird. The WWII generation had already fought a war, married, bought a house, and had young rugrats by the time they were 25.

Perhaps the boomer parents of today are counting on Johnny and Janie to provide for them in their old age. Mom and Dad Boomer have refused to save for their retirement.

12:00 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first child, doctor comes to my hospital room, gives standard speech: baby is fine, bring him to my office in six weeks. i, knowing nothing about babies, ask him what i should do with him. his comment: feed him, love him and leave him alone. best advice i ever had. kid turned out fine, as did his younger sisters.

12:26 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Dr. Melissa said...

Delay having children (you know too much), have only one or two children (you can maintain a semblence of control) and play along with school systems that require parents to participate in nearly every piece of homework from 1st grade on... and you have a prescription for Helicopter Parents on crack.

I did #1. Sometimes I envy parents who start at 20. They don't know to be so afraid and anal.

I didn't do #2. Having three kids does it. Any notions of control go flying out the window--the kids get freed at that point too (to a certain extent--very determined parents can override this.)

I fight #3. I'm considering homeschooling. It looks like less work. What happens at school anymore? We're doing it all at home.

Is it any wonder kids are smothered, forget hovered, to death?

Martin Seligman calls this "learned helplessness". The kid stops trying when it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if mama or daddy takes over.

Rule: Don't do for anyone, including your kid, what he or she can do for him or herself.

12:32 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Cathy said...

This behavior is nothing new. I'm 53 and my kids are all grown, out of college, working and have their own lives and homes. But, in 1970 when I was ready to go to college. My mother would not let go. I was only going 100 miles away to Ohio State.

She did everything imaginable to stop me, including, "throwing up" daily. I felt so guilty I could't go. Instead I went to a community college and a branch of OSU that was across town. So that she could see everyday that I was not misbehaving.

My dad finally took control of her and I was allowed to go to Columbus, Ohio the next year. At some point, parents need to get a life of their own, so that the kids can live their's.

12:33 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a young person enters the Air Force Academy in late June, the parents are told that they can not speak to them until (?) Doolie day in late August. That is a very useful interruption. I imagine West Point has something similar, helping keep Douglas MacArthur and others from ever fully being their parents' children again.

12:56 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really consider some of those actions to be "hovering." I graduated college a few years ago, and am graduating from a master's program in a month. Even now I still ask my dad to take a look at a paper I've written to make sure it reads right from someone's perspective other than mine. That's hardly uncommon. You should always be willing to have someone else - a friend, parent, co-worker, etc. proofread what you've written. I can't tell you how many papers I've read by other people that make no sense to the reader, but make perfect sense to the writer.

As for looking at resumes - your parents have been there before. They know the tricks. Why is it wrong to have them edit a resume, but ok to have the Career Services office at your school edit it?

Finally, using parents for networking for first jobs or internships is hardly a sin. It's what everyone else is going to be doing, and you're going to be at a disadvantage if you don't do it.

Some of those other things though - having them follow the course syllabi with the books, etc - is a bit much.

1:17 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger BenJCarter said...

Proofreading and advice are a sign of good parenting.

When you write your kid's homework/resume/etc it detracts from their ability to look after themselves.

1:48 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger jaycurrie said...

At the playgroup my wife takes our 2 and 5 year old to there are a lot of sub Gen-X mums wandering about in capris who go nuts if one of our boys goes outside to the fenced playground unattended. They also go nuts if one little boy points a stick at another.

One dear heart, watching her boy playing with ours in a prety rough and tumble way, remarked to Susan, "I don't know where her gets this energy. We're against the Iraq war."

These are helos on the pad.

However, while they will spend lots of quality time hovering, they also a) fire their kids into daycare ASAP - sometimes as babies, b) are perfectly willing to have a television in the house, c) are unwilling to spend much time doing much to select good, challenging books for their pre-schoolers (a steady diet of Sesame Street, Disney Pooh and Franklin will turn any child's brain to mush).

We are certainly homeschooling and we live in a Canadian city with excellent schools. What we are not willing to do is subject our kids to the sheer waste of time which occurs in the increasingly dumbed down school system. Nor are we interested in having them forced to interact with kids who have been abandoned to television and spin off books by parents who will not take the imense amount of time it really takes to be a parent.

For a while this is going to mean an over-involvement - relative to other parents - with our kids lives. We hope that this will taper off as our sons learn, mature and gain their own lives and confidence. And hope is really all a parent has.

2:40 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

I was a single parent with an ex who was not involved: I parented fulltime, drove cab fulltime, went to school fulltime, ran the local suicide prevention center and did my time in the local babysitting co-op.

As busy as life was, there was time for us. My kids learned to ask questions and then do for themselves.

Somehow I raised a cop and a Navy mechanic. Not bad ...

The only hovering left is phone calls starting with "Dad, how do you ..." and they're not all that common.

It seems to me that the advice to feed, clean, advise, love and leave alone has a lot of merit.

5:20 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Peg C. said...

Anonymous 12:56 has it right about kids going into the military. One of my officemates was in full-time hover over her sons for 18 years. Then one went into the Air Force and the other into the Marines. Especially with the Marine, no contact during training. Both are overseas now and married and about to be and acting pretty grown up. Some institutions do a much better job of creating adults than others. Unlike with universities, the military does not churn out selfish children full of unrealistic expectations.

And Dr. Melissa came up with the ultimate explanation for me: boomer women waiting until late to have 1 or 2 kids and then micromanaging them. I was the 3rd of 4 born in the 50s to a housewife and a workaholic, which is probably pretty common for my age group. A lot of things messed up us boomers but I don't think hovering was one of them. (IMO having things too easy and not experiencing any character-building hardships or challenges best explains my generation.)

6:01 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Frank Borger said...

Our old family MD, (wo saved my life when I was about 1 year old,) raised 3 children.

Two went off on their own and became a priest and a lawyer.

The third became a ne'r-do-well, living at home. In his 50's the son got into an argument with his father over his allowance and stabbed him to death with a bread knife. Modern psychology would have remonstrated loud and long about what the old Doc did wrong.

Modern psychology has a built in guilt trip. If your son/daughter didn't come out right, it's YOUR FAULT!

In actuality, you do the best you can with what you got.

6:37 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Julian Morrison said...

Your kid will Google this and confront you with it. "Hey mom, remember what you wrote about not hovering, back in oh-six?"

7:31 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Pogo said...

Sending me off to college, my parents gave me $50 and a lift to the bus station. and I didn't call home for weeks on end. My daughter in college checks in once every week or so.

But college offers a few things that neither she nor I were prepared for. Her roommate had a clear personality disorder, and made my girl's life hell for 6 months (bad enough that she often slept in other girls' dorms). I stayed out of it, only advising her how to switch roommates.

But when the college refused to move her, I stepped in and called the Dean's office. She got moved. Is this helicoptering? I dunno. The school might say so. Does a good parent do nothing in such circumstances, and let her "deal with it"? I am still conflicted, but in the end, I could see depression then withdrawal setting in my daughter, and, well, the hell with that.

7:50 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helicopter parents don't even have to be present for their effect to be felt: my brother's son wouldn't take a turn on the four-wheeler because he didn't have his helmet and 'Mom will find out somehow' was his explanation.


7:50 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Nancy said...

Anonymous 10pm--you are absolutely right. Homeschooling, to me, is actually simpler (not "easier"--it is hard work for both schooler and school-ee) in that:
1. You know the work's getting done.
2. You know what's going on in the lessons. If Little Darling can't add, you don't go on to subtraction till she can.

We have one son, 13, and we've homeschooled for all but 2 years of his educational life. He's a great kid, but we're putting him into public school next year in an International Baccalaureate prep program. It's part of the Helo Parent Avoidance Cycle (wasn't aware it had a name till I read this.) Basically, he needs to be around other kids who challenge him academically. He's soaked up a lot from our homeschooling era, but there are other interests now conflicting with homeschooling for me: I'm entering grad school in January, a long-awaited and hard-earned goal. I have gotten some gasps from some of my hard-core homeschool friends ("But how can you put YOUR interests ahead of HIS?") but I figure he's gotten far more of an education watching me return to school at 38, struggle to study part-time while working part-time then while homeschooling him, and hearing me groan about how he should definitely get school over with while he's young. I don't feel guilty about having my own life. In fact, it's time he has his, too!

8:26 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anjali said...

These are the stories that make me want to beat people with their own dismembered limbs.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

(Seriously, what the hell?)

8:29 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous marion said...

Pogo: You said that you let her work it out herself for six months, only stepping in after the college refused to move her (i.e. after the system was unresponsive)? Doesn't sound like helicopter parenting to me -- sounds like emergency background parenting. College students are in a weird limbo between adulthood and independence. While I understand the need of colleges to provide some separation between parents and children, and applaud it, that doesn't mean that colleges, like many large systems/bureaucracies, can't be unresponsive at times and need reminders that they have some obligations to the people writing them checks.

Which, I think, is another factor here -- the higher and higher cost of college. The school I went to now costs more than $200,000 per student. Most of the helicopter parent types are in an income group that will be paying for most, if not all of the full tuition sum when their kids go to college. I think helicopter parenting is wrong, and am very glad that my parents weren't inclined toward it (to say the least), but I can see why parents would view certain colleges as a major investment and be concerned that their kids weren't maximizing said investment. On the flip side, colleges most definitely do not tend to view students as independent adults who just happen to be going to school, and that can make them unresponsive at times to legitimate concerns. They will, however, tend to be more responsive toward the education funder who has decades more knowledge in dealing with bureaucracies.

Which is something to keep in mind as colleges complain about helicopter parents. Yes, I can completely sympathize with them on this issue...however, they're not wonderfully responsive systems effortlessly navigating the waters of dealing with semi-adults. As they've gotten larger and had to deal with more, in many cases they have gotten less responsive to certain things, in my experience. They may respond more to students in groups, but their response to individual students isn't necessarily great, and the person making the housing decisions is someone very unlikely to ever meet the student involved. This really isn't as simple as the noble colleges wanting to be left alone to educate efficiently vs. the obstreperous parents wanting to coddle their offspring, IMHO.

8:53 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Mark Buehner said...

One of the symptoms of being a helicopter parent is not realizing you are a helicopter parent. Note- at most colleges a student can manage to find someone qualified to proofread their work that they dont share a gene pool with. Your kid has spent nearly two decades listening to your interpretation of their writing, it might be a good idea to let some fresh blood into the cycle. You plan on going over their business proposals when they land their first job too?

That being said i think its the interaction with professors that really defines helicopter parenting. Until the utter last resort (ie- you're failing out of school or having the profs baby), parents have no place in the student-professor relationship. Utterly inappropriate.

9:23 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger BeckyJ said...

I get the helicopterees in college. I've had students tell me outright that their parents WROTE their papers for them (then the parent gets upset when the paper gets a low grade or an F or has to be written so that it is actually the student's own work!) I've had parents e-mail me with wildly inappropriate information in order to try to guilt me into giving their child a better grade (Susie was assaulted a couple of years ago...could you raise her grade to a C? I'm not kidding). These students are hardly able to make the most simple of decisions without consulting their parents. I really don't know what's going to happen to them when they graduate. But, probably mummy & daddy will find a job for them. Gah.

9:30 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Nick (South Africa) said...

On the helicopter parenting thing. A few Months ago I went to a talk by a child psychologist at my son’s school – it was pretty much all boiler-plate stuff that didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t know, but it’s always interesting to hear what the current ‘take’ is amongst the pros. Anyway during his talk he mentioned that he would never ever allow kids out on a ‘sleepover’. I picked him up on this and said that whilst I understood his concern, it’s possible to be over protective and to mollycoddle one’s kids too much I don’t see as healthy and that I think he is way over reacting. He gave me short shrift. I still think he’s wrong, my son goes on sleepovers and I often have other kids on sleepovers at my place.

I’d be interested in Helen’s take on the concept of kid’s ‘sleepovers’.

On a slightly different tack, Glen's TCS article – ‘The Parent Trap’ that sort of links with Helen’s point of ‘helicopter folks’, is excellent. I'd go further still and point out the pressure on the 'nuclear' family these days, rather than having it spread over a, mutually supporting extended family is a factor too.

These days wider families often move apart leaving no local family support structure. I’m a good case, my folks and sibling - are in the UK and I'm in South Africa.

The lack of stability in relationships and marriage, with relationships and marriages breaking up so readily is another. A reality that I have no doubt, gets factored, consciously or subliminally into people's decision as to weather to have kids, and if so, how many.

If kids are deemed by society as worthy, the torch holders of our future, and we don’t want to outsource the problem entirely to immigration, there is no reason that the power of markets should not be used as an incentive for folks to have kids through the tax system or in other ways. Putin has I posit quite a legitimate point here.

A good deal of thought needs to be put into it though; lest it generates a baby boom of delinquent, welfare dependent trailer trash.


9:41 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger George said...

Let'em sink or swim. These parents ( alot of them seen in the above responses ) are controling and doting. These children do not know how to take care of themselves.

This is a real problem. I only wish more were aware.

10:15 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Svolich said...

I'm a proud Helicopter dad.

Last year my 7 year old daughter found a rusty razer blade on the playground. At home, she would have picked it up, thrown it away, and come back into the kitchen to chop onions. But she knew that that the schoolfolk are insane about weapons. So she set her friend to stand watch on the blade, and ran and got a teacher and pointed it out.

They took her to the principal's office and began the paperwork to suspend her. When she was finally allowed to use the phone she called my cell. She said our family code word, lawyer, principal's office, now.

I was in her principal's office 15 mintues later with our lawyer on speakerphone. The principal didn't dispute my daughters version of events, but claimed she had endangered other students by pointing out the razer blade to them.

So I called the local newspaper, while he called his superintendant. He put a stop to it.

I'll stop helicoptering if the schools get rid of the insane people.

10:16 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Rick Skeean said...

Well, Helen, I see I have to take you to task for the same sin I upbraided your husband over a short while ago.
When you were in school, did they skip history and literature?
Why is it that whenever people in their thirties encounter some trait that is universal and unchanging in human nature, but which they wish to denigrate, they postulate that it is unique to, and a necessary component of people born between 1946 and 1964?

10:28 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger David said...

ainta...this isn't helicoptering. It's calling in an air strike to support your daughter when she is under attack by superior forces.

It's entirely appropriate to defend your kids from abusive action by authorities...the threshold needs to be set fairly high to avoid undercutting the kid's ability to take care of herself, but in your case the threshold was exceeded by a mile.

Perhaps there needs to be an educational version of Sarbanes-Oxley, making school administrators liable for long prison sentences in cases of blatant abuse of power.

10:32 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous grad03 said...

One of the reasons we won't see parental incentives in the U.S. any time soon is the first generation of helicopter kids. These twentysomething singles do not understand why parents might need additional sick leave if their children are sick. They want extra time off for themselves, to spend as they wish, and don't see the difference between the two types of leave. They view parenting as an individual choice and parents as workers who don't put in enough overtime to get ahead. Their line of thought: "Why should parents get extra benefits for choosing to be parents? The workplace suffers when parents are hired, then, doesn't it? Why are my desires for free time left unmet, while those parents can go home to take care of their kids and slack off at work?" Weak arguments, I know, but they aren't getting sufficient counterargument. Until parents force the issue politically and within corporate circles, parenting will not be seen as anything necessary to American society. Instead, it will continue to be viewed as an "individual choice" that requires no more support than the choice to get drunk on a weeknight and want to take the next morning off, with pay.

10:32 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Melissa

I homeschooled my youngest from third grade through junior high. It was the best time! She's in private high school part time now and absolutely the most independent and confident of my three. She serves on the leadership and services groups at her school, and will be the junior class president next year. Her range of interests are broad, she had time to learn the skills at home to care for herself, and she had the time and opportunity to pursue her creative gifts in music and art. In fact, at 16, she has some photographic work displayed at an art gallery this weekend via a friend of her adult brother who took an interest in her talent and has been taking her along on various photo shoots to learn the craft.

Math, I believe, was the basic academic class that helped her most to study at home because I was able, by seeing her daily work and actual tests instead of just a score, to see precisely were the deficiencies were. When a chapter was hard, we stuck with it until she had it mastered. When we encountered easy chapters, we tested past them and moved on.

She gained experience in civic responsibility by participating along with me in the neighborhood group, and in that connect attended various city planning and zoning meetings, and worked with me as a volunteer at the Bush campaign headquarters in 2000.

My older children are wonderful, interesting adults. They haven't always made the choices I would have made for them, but I couldn't ask for any better. But via homeschooling, we missed all of that preteen angst and drama that goes along with junior high so my youngest didn't enter high school with her confidence already beaten down by attempts to cram her into a mold, either by peers or the district. I can't wait to see what she accomplishes as an adult: will she major in music? will she pursue the visual arts? will she pursue her interest in politics? So exciting!

11:10 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

grad03 - Excellent point. The company I work for solicits input from all other employees, and specifically asks for imput from those you worked on a project with during the past year. One year someone complained that I left work early one day to pick up my sick child at school. I had done this only once during the entire year.

My company explained to them that parents have to do that sometimes. But, the fact that someone (I was never told who) would even bring up such a complaint astounds me.

BTW - I'm on the honor roll in the quiz for not being a hovering parent. My parents were even less hovering than myself.

11:24 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Jeffus said...

"Anonymous said...
Helicopter parents don't even have to be present for their effect to be felt: my brother's son wouldn't take a turn on the four-wheeler because he didn't have his helmet and 'Mom will find out somehow' was his explanation.


Dude, if you were willing to put your kid, or especially someone else's kid on a four wheeler without a helmet, you just helped justify helicopter moms, childrens' protective services, and plaintiff's lawyers, not to mention personal general liability insurance.

12:14 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

I have a hard time even thinking of depriving my teen age daughter of sleepovers. It may be part of her going to a (private) school where the bulk of the kids have hovering parents, but they seem to give her some type of psychic release. They aren't something that happens ever week, rather maybe once a month, so are a treat, even a bigger one than dropping her at the mall to shop with a couple of friends.

Things have changed a lot since I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. We started running throughout the neighborhood at maybe 6 or so, but then moved when I was 10 and my next brother was 8 to an area with a huge open space right next to us, and shortly thereafter, would venture there. By the time we were both in junior high, we would often range upwards of ten miles away from home every afternoon (esp. when we had horses). Things have changed.

1:09 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[[Anonymous 12:56 has it right about kids going into the military. One of my officemates was in full-time hover over her sons for 18 years. Then one went into the Air Force and the other into the Marines. Especially with the Marine, no contact during training. Both are overseas now and married and about to be and acting pretty grown up. Some institutions do a much better job of creating adults than others. Unlike with universities, the military does not churn out selfish children full of unrealistic expectations.]]

The military's not a magic bullet, there's a lot of military and ex-military that seem to think they're entitled to other people's property - can't get more selfish, dishonest, and dishonorable than that. There's also some that think they can order people (who aren't in their command) around.

[[I really don't know what's going to happen to them when they graduate. But, probably mummy & daddy will find a job for them. Gah.]]

Yeah - then they'll go around saying that everyone else is lazy, like certain congresspeople.

I think the Boomers and oldeer need to lay off the genXers, genYers, and younger. Education, with some exceptions, is often worthless nowadays. It used to be only engineering, accountanting, computer science, and nursing students made money out of school. Now, in many cases, its down to nursing. So in many cases you work hard for something that's less than worthless - it's now a liability.

The funny part is going to be when the Boomers and the other oldies go to rip off the genXers and younger for more entitlements because they didn't save enough for their own retirements - hopefully, there won't be anything left to steal.

Yeah, we're all "lazy" and "whiny." But funny - you irresponsible jackasses don't seem to have a problem with stealing our future from us. Maybe you like to justify it by thinking we're "lazy" and "whiny" - blaming us for natural responses to your misconduct, malfeasance, incompetence, and dishonesty.

1:36 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should be "oldies" above, not "oldeer".

1:38 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I am the oldest of three kids. The difference between the way my youngest brother was raised and me is amazing. My brother just graduated from college in December and is currently living with my parents looking for a job, besides Target. My mother wrote his resume and his cover letter. She searches for jobs and interviews. She reminds him to pay his few bills, fills out the remit slips, puts the checks into the envelopes, and mails them. She nags at him to do this stuff, but then just does it all herself. He knows that if he just lets it ride long enough, my mother will do it for him. She just paid a late fee for him at the video store because he just wasn't getting around to it. He functions at my parents' house as if he were a high school student, but he is 23. Needless to say I did not receive this treatment and I am glad. I'm not sure what happened between my birth and his, but we were not raised the same way. I had chores and responsibilities; he never did. It may be because he is the youngest or the only boy. I don't know. But I fear for my brother's ability to function when he is finally on his own.

1:53 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I called my mother to tell her the date for my graduation from college, and to invite her down for the diploma ceremony, she asked me what I was going to do after graduation. I told her that I was going to grad school for an advanced degree in chemistry.

She asked me if I had enough money to pay for it, because an undergrad degree was all she could afford. I wasn't surprised.

I laughed, and explained that I'd be paying my way teaching freshman labs and working on grant money for research. She raised me right.

2:13 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Grad03 you are basically saying I should have to work longer harder hours than you because I am single and do not have kids.

2:38 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son's only 2, so I may yet turn into a helicopter, although I will try very hard not to...But I think it's a shame that people stunt their childs growth by not letting them grow up. We have absolutely extended adolescence well into the mid- to late-20's. No one grows up until they have to, ( and some never have to) and I think this is a direct result of being parented to death. A couple of years ago , my doctor said something really funny: It was around the time that the supply battalion of U.S. soldiers had been ambushed in Iraq and the female soldiers, along with their male counterparts, were taken hostage. When one of the young woman (who was 18 or 19) was eventually rescued from an Iraqi hsopital, she told the story of how they tried to evade capture and all the things they tried to do, which ultimately failed, but they thought of things and tried them anyway. My doctor said she was amazed, that her 17 year-old step-daughter didn't know what to do if you took her gas card away. She didn't think the kid would ever have been able to function in this other situation. While I don't think it means we need to send all our kids off to war, I do think it means we underestimate what young adults- 17,18, 19 year olds- are capable of. They are adults, we should leave them alone to be adults ( force them out of the nest if necessary) and let them get a taste of life; no laundry, well, wear dirty clothes. Missed orientation? Well, don't forget next time. Didn't finish the paper? Maybe next time you'll organize your time better. Can't make the payment on the credit card? Pay the collection agency and next time don't buy something you can't afford. Need a job? Uh, OK, go get one. Childhood is great, but it needs to end at some point. Guidance is good, and we should all seek out guidance from people who have been there and done that through out our lives, and parents are a natural choice. But guidance isn't decision making. I think a lot of parents blur that line.
Barb ( hoping never to hover)

3:56 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous 240z said...

We are raising ours old school.... to be able to go out into the world and support themselves but to also realize that when we get to the age of acting like teenagers, they are going to have to repay us by taking care of us.

4:16 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous grad03 said...

anonymous 2:38,

I'm suggesting that some single people who do not have kids treat parenting like it's a party instead of a serious set of obligations. I'm not saying single people should do the work of parents and work "longer harder hours". I'm saying that single people should treat parents with the same respect and flexibility that they would treat co-workers with a second job. That is what parents have that single-career unmarried singles do not, but they do not receive the same respect. A working parent's "second job" trumps a single person's social life because one is giving back to society by taking the time and effort to raise kids, while the other is seeking individual pleasure/fulfillment. One is altruistic, the other is self-centered. One is something that society requires to continue, and the other is not. (No more kids= no perpetuation of a society.) No parent should EXPECT their co-workers to pick up slack when they have a family emergency; they signed up for a job and they should do its duties. However, in a functioning society (or workplace for that matter), people value co-workers who support them in emergencies and are willing to provide quid pro quo for their co-workers in similar situations.

4:39 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grad03 and anonymous 2:38: I think you two are a bit off the mark.
As a former 70 hour a week 20 something single and a current 50 hour a week almost 40 something with kids I can say I contributed just as much to society. As a 20 something I volunteered a LOT more. As a mom - I have less time to volunteer and it is usually connected with my kids' schools.
My 70 hours of work comprised a lot of grunt work. Now I'm at a higher level due to my experience and so the time I give to work in 50 hours is every bit as valuable as the 70 I used to give to the business.
To the point of this discussion though, I hope I'm raising my kids as I was raised - to be a clear thinking, discerning adult who can make decisions for themselves; to be selfless and look beyond themselves; and to have a work ethic that encourages working hard and smart and encourages them to see how they can improve their little corner of the world.

6:01 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Mark Buehner said...

"I'm saying that single people should treat parents with the same respect and flexibility that they would treat co-workers with a second job."

Mmm, ok, but if my coworker had a second job and it was consistantly affecting the job I was involved with, i'd have a problem. It becomes my problem, which isnt right.

"That is what parents have that single-career unmarried singles do not, but they do not receive the same respect. A working parent's "second job" trumps a single person's social life because one is giving back to society by taking the time and effort to raise kids, while the other is seeking individual pleasure/fulfillment.

Giving back to society by making sure the kids YOU decided to have dont run wild? So if i get a Rottweiler puppy i should get to leave work early to go take care of it lest it rampages the neighborhood, and this is an altruistic act?

"One is something that society requires to continue, and the other is not. (No more kids= no perpetuation of a society.)"

Ok, but thats a value judgement. Society cant continue without policemen either, but i dont skip work to go out crimefighting. Why should those who don't find value in propigating the gene pool be forced to subsidize it? This is America right? If i want to be selfish and sit on a cliff eating weeds and not do a darn thing productive for society, i can do that right?

Secondly, part of being single is often doing extra things to find that mate and make that family. So if a single person is out at a club late looking for that special someone, do they get to roll in late brandishing their benevolent quest for societal continuity via appletinis?

"However, in a functioning society (or workplace for that matter), people value co-workers who support them in emergencies and are willing to provide quid pro quo for their co-workers in similar situations."

I agree with this completely, and its how good companies work. If you have an issue- whatever it is- go take care of it. If you abuse that priveledge its likely to go away. But i dont like the idea of automatically endowing those who manage to stick object A into socket B with all kinds of special and quantified benefits.

6:02 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the bottom line seems to be... if you constantly feel the need to check on your kids papers in college, you are hovering loudly...

if they come to you to ask what you think about something, or read a paper, then they know the value of your experience...

and some kids just wont fall in to either group...

6:39 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Hmmm... my son is a crew chief on a Chinook in the Army. I think that makes my husband and I "helicopter parents". *grin*

Sorry I just couldn't resist.

11:02 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Bill said...

Here's the part I can't figure out: what kind of kid wants his parents bugging him when he's off at college? I'd have gone crazy.

My parents were loving, attentive, involved in my life and demanding of such things as doing well in school, character issues, etc. When it was time to go to college they put me on the train and said "See you at Thanksgiving." That's how I, and obviously they, thought it was supposed to work. Which is how it did, to the apparent satisfaction of all concerned.

I'd have cringed at the idea of their phoning every day and mortified at the prospect of their calling the Dean's office on my behalf.

I was in college from '74 to '78 and I think my attitude in this regard was substantially similar to that of the other students.

I can understand the changes in parents' attitudes since then. But in the students? Can human nature change all that much in just 30 years?

11:53 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like there are some single people who have forgotten that someone is going to have to reproduce if they expect to be taken care of when they get old.

If you're pissed at the mom who has to leave work early because her kid got sick, while you have to keep working and pick up her slack too, well then you should just suck it up and think of it as an investment in your own pension fund.

2:18 AM, May 18, 2006  
Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

while there is something to be said for having kids while young, being older has a beneficial effect, too.
My wife and I were in our early thirties when the twins showed up. We simply didn't have the energy to micromanage our kids' lives.
We were involved. If they wanted to play organized soccer, we helped, but we didn't actually suggest they take up something that would end in our having to DO MORE STUFF. So we were a step behind.
We stopped making their school day lunches and breakfasts at about third grade. We made sure we had the necessities and it was up to them to take care of business.
While I can say we consciously tried to have them become independent, our advancing age was a big help. We could do no other.

Slight change. Until about a hundred and fifty years ago, most of the world's work was done by adolescents and early-twenty types on account of older folks being mostly dead or crippled by work, injury, and disease.

We know the kids have the capacity. I wonder if some of the trouble with kids is a kind of septic buildup resulting from unactualized capabilities and natural desire to get things done.

A hundred years ago, a kid came home from school and shoveled out the stable. Got a pat for it, knew it was necessary, something useful had been done. Today, he goes to his room and slaughters a million invaders from the Planet Mongo.

I know a number of teachers who think kids who grow up on farms are the best demographic. Respectful, used to work, self-reliant, don't complain, good work ethic, cheerful.

4:58 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Kip said...

If I heard one of my employees saying such repulsive things (as the anonymous above) about a parent co-worker, I'd be tempted to sack them on the spot.

Anyone who hates parents by extension hates kids, and anyone who hates kids has no moral sense and is a threat to their employer.

8:37 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Kip said...

...and to address the topic...

The other thing people often forget is that the first half or two thirds of the 20th Century in the settled, English speaking world were highly unusual. In earlier centuries life outside the home was very dangerous - from the extreme of the early outposts of Christendom surrounded by murderous barbarians (or hostile Indians, vikings, wild animals, you name it) to the later 'normal' situation, where large parts of the countryside were infested with brigands and highwaymen and a well-to-do parent wouldn't turn their back on their child even in town. During most of this time, no relative would have been permitted to leave the oversight of the family patriarch without an armed guard. Absent an ameliorating force (and only one springs to mind in Western civilisation) this is the natural state of Man!

Finally, by earlier last century (and perhaps in the late 19th Century), in most of the English speaking world life actually became safe. You could let your children (and your adult children) out on their own confident, thanks to a pervasive moral code (as well as strict law and order), that they were actually very safe in most places.

Meanwhile however (particularly since the 60s), busy social revolutionaries from left and right have been hell bent on creating a new barbarism, undermining moral codes and laws, weakening the bonds of trust and restraint. Drug dealers, perverts, porn, sleaze, unrestrained fraudsters and unpunished violent criminals are everywhere. Within many Universities young adults are at the same sort of risk of being seduced into self destruction as poor Oliver Twist in Dickens' East End.

Helicopter parents are the smart ones.

10:19 PM, May 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a link to some real, live helicopter parents.

12:41 PM, May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Pete said...

If you mean by "Helicopter" parents, being pushed out of one like you're a member of the Viet Cong, then yes I had Helicopter parents. We had 8 kids in the house at one time. I think my Mom would be crazier then she already is if she had worried about each one. 8 Kids: No felons, no addicts, no bums.

2:02 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Catherine Johnson said...

Helicopter parents don't exist.

The "helicopter parent" is a meme created by school personnel and popularized by the media, much like the far more toxic notion of the "refrigerator mother" (who was said to cause autism) or the "schizophrenogenic mother" (who caused schizophrenia), concepts I was taught in college.

Hostile school personnel, who invented the term "helicopter parent," use the expression in a couple of different ways.

For one, parents are easily mau-maued by the phrase (I'm thinking of Radical Chic and the Flak Catchers). In my experience, the minute a school administrator brings up "helipcopter parents" moms fall all over themselves assuring the authorities that they aren't helicopter parents. (I have the sense that the stereotype of the helicopter parent is used primarily against mothers, though I could be wrong.)

School personnel also use the idea of helicopter parents to triangulate parents against each other. This happens constantly in my own town. Administrators & guidance counselors make references to other (unnamed) helicopter parents, inviting us to share their disapproval.

Finally, the phrase "helicopter parent" allows school personnel to control the discourse. Instead of parents talking about poor curriculum and teaching, school administrators talk about poor parenting.

I no longer take the bait. When school personnel raise the issue of other people being helicopter parents, I say, "I'm a helicopter parent," and redirect the conversation to the questions I'm trying to get answered.

I've also purchased a helicopter mom t-shirt at cafepress.

8:39 PM, July 18, 2006  
Anonymous Catherine Johnson said...

Laurence Steinberg has quite a nice summary of 50 years of research into U.S. parenting styles in the book BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.

My sense is that the "helicopter parent" meme is inconsistent with the 3 modes of U.S. parenting that have existed for half a century at a minimum. I think it's pretty unlikely that we would suddenly have a brand-new parenting style pop up on the scene in the past couple of years.

This is parent-bashing.

Think what the image "helicopter parent" actually means.

A helicopter, in American popular culture, doesn't just hover. A helicopter carries soldiers or bad guys who shoot people.

"Helicopter parent" is an image of angry, dangerous parents attacking vulnerable school personnel.

8:47 PM, July 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Truthfully, I would rather have a young adult who could care for themselves and had no college education (or attended a state school) than I would one who went to Harvard..." Since when is going to a "state school" in the same breath as 'no college education'? Perhaps that's the reality in TN; in any event those of us with kids in state schools are quite proud of our children just as parents whose kids go to Harvard are. That comment was an unnecessary slight on your part.

12:07 AM, July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

finally, i know what this is called. my older sister who is turning 50, is definitely a helicopter parent, and maybe some other things too for which a psychiatrist might diagnose. she has a 23 year old daughter living with her, her daughter's husband, and their baby girl. she manages EVERYTHING for all three. it's the saddest thing I've ever witnessed. her daughter does not pay her bills. her daughter gives her mother her paycheck, and my sister writes checks for her. while at the hospital, forms were given to my niece to fill out for her daughter. my niece handed the papers to her mother after completing a question or two. my sister completed the medical forms for her. when my niece and her husband had their first year anniversary, my sister ordered a special cake for them, and purchased a bunch of happy anniversary balloons for them. i have to wonder if she too is married to these kids. it's painful to watch, and i sometimes avoid talking to her. i don't know how to help her. And I do know that while my niece and her husband may have their own issues (as we all do), they are a lot worse off because of the constant interferring by my sister. one good thing has come out of this. i am certain that I will make mistakes as the parent of two young boys, but one mistake that I will constantly strive NOT to make is living my children's lives.

4:34 PM, November 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At my children's school, there is a mom who "comes by" the classroom to check up on her fifth grader FOUR TIMES a day! Her husband is a cop, and I actually didn't even realize until THIS YEAR (after three years at the school) that he was not actually the school security guard. He's there so much I just assumed he worked there!

They are both over at the kid's school multiple times every day -- eat lunch with him in the cafeteria every single day, and every year this mom is the class mom and she does all the work herself and doesn't let any other parents participate in the classroom. She even holds meetings with the teacher about the class mom stuff AT HER HOUSE! not at the school! Is it just me or is this bizarrely abberant behavior? How should a parent confront the school about this? I feel this mom's interference is hurting my child's classroom experience.

12:53 PM, November 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A working parent's "second job" trumps a single person's social life because one is giving back to society by taking the time and effort to raise kids, while the other is seeking individual pleasure/fulfillment. One is altruistic, the other is self-centered."

"Sorry, this argument doesn't wash with me. Many people have "given" back to their society in so many different ways and that having kids could be construed as selfish. Especially when you add in the fact that one American uses up so much more in resources than one person of almost any other country. And there are plenty of parents who aren't altruistic in the least.
Also you have no idea if that other person is using her/his time "selfishly".

"No more kids= no perpetuation of a society" Sorry, we have so many people on this planet this is not going to happen!

I wonder why so many parents think of non-parents as selfish? Some are, but some aren't - just like with parents.

6:56 PM, March 16, 2007  
Blogger Kelien Roberts said...

Im not a Baby Boomer. Im a member of the First X - Generation. I have 6 kids and I homeschool. One woman commented that more than two and you lose control. I found that to be far from the truth. Three were a handful because you always had one without a partner. So was Five. But Even numbered children make life much easier. Once I hit four, my life was golden.

I homeschool because I want self motivated, self educated, self understanding children. Not robots who come out of school having been taught to a test and lacking the ability to think for themselves.

Im not going to college with my children. I left College to my husband. Thanks to my own years in this nations public schools I suffer with a bit of Agoraphobia. I can go out in public just don't ask me to have to get involved in a confrontation.

My children will tell you they are on their own to a certain extent. They decide how they will handle situations. They live with the consiquences there in. Im just here to run things by. I make sure they have everything they need to live their lives and then I get out of the way.

It drives my husband nuts that I don't micromanage but Hes learned to get use to it. Im not his mother. He asked me once why I let our oldest argue with him so much. My answer was you like to argue, she likes to argue. She gets a chance to develope debating and negotiation skills and you get to argue with someone.

I believe that healthy children are the ones that go out and get dirty. I believe that at least one broken bone is neccissary to prove you lived a full and happy childhood. I believe in tree climbing, risk taking and standing up for what you believe in.

My kids will learn all of that from me. Then they will move out. They will go away to college and they will call Mom at least once a week to say hey Im still alive. They will call when they need money or have car problems or what ever because thats what I called my Father for. They will come home to do laundry. But, I will not do it for them. I haven't done their laundry since they were big enough to understand how to sort clothes.

My kids are living the life my grandparents did. Only instead of a farm with no phone, we have 11 achers of woods with satalite, computers, internet and cell phones.

My second oldest daughter has spent most of her childhood trying to identify the different types of plant life we have growing out there. Built in science lab.

Helicopter Parents are Parents who put so much into their children they forgot how to live themselves. They don't know how to deal with the empty nest syndrom and if they are still married to their childrens other parent, they no longer know how to communicate and have a full relationship with their partner.

I am happy to say when my oldest goes off to College in about 2 years I will be ready. She will be ready and my marrage will be there to hold me up through the harder parts of it. When my last one leaves home, Im buying an RV and traveling the country. Grandma will be home when shes good and ready. LOL

Letting them live their lives is not the problem. You can do that wihtout ever letting go. My Father passed away two weeks ago tomorrow. But, he was always there when we needed him. So is my mom. But, we are there when they need us too. Thats what being a family is all about. It can be done without driving the rest of the world insane or smothering your kids.

My best advice, let them tell you no. Let them tell other people no. Don't correct them on things that are strictly opinon. Teach them that even facts can be twisted based upon the view of the person who thinks its a fact. Only math is concrete and even that is ever evolving. Give them the basic understanding of how gravity works, how their bodies work, what hurts and what helps then get out of their way. You have to let go sometime. Better to do it while they are young and still have you around to run too. One day you won't be here to take care of them anymore. If they can't take care of themselves then you didn't do your job.

1:24 PM, February 04, 2008  
Blogger Justin said...

Hi there. I am a 29 year old. A late Millenial or an Xer, depending on how you slice it.

I was a high school teacher and coach in Massachusetts.

I got suspended with pay because I confronted a drunk referee at a lacrosse game, demanded his name in protection of my students, and the little alcoholic wuss ran away and cried to the Helicopter Parents.

Then I lost my job in a room full of administration while the union rep set on their side of the table.

Political Correctness is for losers, whimpering simps, and morons.

Helicopter Parents are this nation's disease, not ADD.

Here is my gripe with the Helicopters: You're making your kids into weaklings and whiners. You are also destroying the teacher's credibility and ability to do their job effectively.

These days, if you're a young white male teacher, everyone thinks you're a pervert.

Guess what? Yeah, your daughter is cute. No, I'd never touch her. Get a life. I can get laid in a bar.

Teaching is the ONLY profession in the USA where someone from off the street can walk in and tell you how to do your job.

I was a Spanish teacher and it was particularly comical for me when a parent would come in and instruct me on how to speak Spanish.

Hey Baby Boomer Helicopter Parent: Do you speak Spanish? No? Oh, ok. Then BUTT OUT. You're not welcome. You don't have the skill or ability to speak Spanish. Stop being such a provincial, paranoid nut-job.

Terrorists aren't everywhere and your teachers aren't evil. Neither are foreigners or people who speak different languages. The Latinos are not talking about you. They are talking about groceries and soccer games and the news, just like anyone else. Amazing, isn't it?

I had a mother come in who was an attorney in Boston. She hit me with her negotiation tactics. I told her: "Mrs. X, this is a school, not a courtroom. Maybe your son just doesn't want to study Spanish or has no aptitude for language."

She threatened to sue me.

So, my conclusion for the time being is SCREW THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

Until the Helicopter Parents have all crashed and burned at parenting, which, in this teacher's opinion, most of you have, I don't want any part of you or your children.

I am not going to risk my life (as kids are shooting each other in schools these days); nor am I going to put up with the abuse from the Politically Correct Posse and risk being dragged through courts because of a swear word. 15 year old boys don't swear? HAhahahahaha. What the hell kind of self-delusion pills are you taking this week?

My prediction: This education system will get worse and worse until it fails completely.

And I don't blame the kids.

All kids want to learn something: about life, about work, about poltics, about people in general.

I blame the unteachable "perfect", Politically Correct Helicopter Parents.

It's not worth the money to try and inspire kids who have been programmed like robots by their PC parents.

Way to go, PC people.

You destroyed imagination and innocence in children by teaching them that free speech is off limits.

And for what?

So you could feel better about being vapid voids of human beings.

PC is the racist white person's apology to other races.

Well, I was born in 1978. I don't feel the need to apologize to a black person for slavery. I wasn't there. I didn't cause it. I understand that racial slurs hurt people. PC didn't teach me that. Common sense did.

Enjoy your IKEA and your Mac Laptops.

I will take my fancy degrees somewhere else and maybe your kids will be educated by people who went to night school and not schools like Tulane (ranked #25 in USA when I graduated) and UTexas (ranked #3 for the MA program I studied) and Vanderbilt (ranked #1 in the USA in Spanish and Portuguese... I left because of the PC advisor I had. He was a complete moron.)

So, from the Xers without kids to the Helicopters with kids:

We abandoned you, not the other way around.

Let your kids jump off a rock into a reservoir like we did; let them play in the woods and have acorn fights, let them have wonderful and strange dreams and imaginings.

If a kid gets in a fistfight, don't sue anyone. Go to the other kids' parents house with your son and talk it out like human beings.

If you can't do that as a grown adult, then I don't know what to tell you.


Enough is enough.

Oh, and it is COMICAL how much you insist that Spanish isn't an important language in the USA.

Maybe if you live in a cave, it's not important, but I would challenge you to go to Miami, to Washington, DC, to New Orleans, to Boston, basically to ANY major city these days and NOT have Spanish.

You must feel left out of a lot of conversations.

I will never teach Spanish on the Helicopter Parent's terms nor on the terms of the Nazi-esque Bush Admin. No Child Left Behind Plan.

Maybe someday in our lifetime, things will get better, and maybe they won't.

Until teacher's unions are dissolved and parents learn that the school is for the kids and not for them, there will be no satisfactory American public education.

One last message to the Helicopters:

STOP living vicariously through your children. It's disgusting to watch. Too bad you pissed away your life climbing the corporate ladder, buying things, and mowing your lawn.

Too bad for you.

Not too bad for us, the Xers, and not too bad for the Millenials.

Leave us alone.

We're done with you. You have blown your credibility. You belong to a medieval world, lost to the pages of history.

Maybe your reward will be no health care in the future.

You already have all of our social security money.

How's the medication working out? Still feel inadequate and depressed? I think it's funny at this point. I love watching you all squirm on the subway when people like me walk by. Their just tattoos, you idiot. Any if you haven't noticed people from gasoline station workers to doctors and lawyers have them.

Read John Gunther's "Inside Europe", if any of you read at all any more, and you will find that Bush's Ed. Plan bears STRIKING similarities to Hitler's Ed Plan during WWII.

Also, you will learn how Hitler mobilized private funds of German citizens for purposes of making war via the insurance companies.

Sound familiar?

Every time you take a Paxil or a Prozac or someother mind-numbing, brain-chemistry altering pill, you are paying for a bomb.

Way to go.

And you thought you knew everything, Mr. and Mrs. Helicopter parent.

How embarrassing.

We need to build good, strong parent and teacher relationships again where the parents ASSIST.

The parents aren't teachers. End of story.

I don't come into your workplace and tell you how to set up your Power Point presentations, even though I probably should.

Stay out of my workplace and your reward will be that your kids will begin to rise and fall on their own MERITS again.

No special treatment for ANYONE.

That's the only fair way to educate, especially in a country where the currency grows more and more worthless by the day.

And, no, parents, don't be naive.

Most teachers don't fret about the future of YOUR kid.

Within 5 years of teaching, your average teacher will have met and taught about 1,000 students.

Just like any other job, part of it becomes mechanical after a time.

The kid came from you. It's not my kid.

It's YOUR JOB to parent YOUR KID.

If YOU screw up your kid, then that's all on YOU.

And all the divorcing... wow... whatever happened to fidelity?

I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the message.

So, I am happily unemployed right now and loving it.

A school system in Mass. offered me a job and I said: "No, thanks." I'd rather dig ditches than teach the children of helicopter parents.

It's not even worth the effort because neither the kids nor the parents can accept a healthy criticism from the teacher.

And, yes folks, that's part of a teacher's job: To tell your kid which subjects they are not so good at.

That's how it was for us in high school in Winchester, MA and we respected our teachers because they showed us the path. They didn't walk it with us. Kudos to them.

Now, teachers are nothing more than glorified baby sitters and this arrangement is most shameful and will never do.

I have this gut feeling that the winds of change will eventually blow through the USA and take away some of this absurdity.

So, to recapitulate:

Teachers aren't against you. They are for you.

Teachers need the leeway to express their opinions of your child openly and honestly.

Parents need to toughen up and take some criticism and then pass that criticism from teacher to parent to student in a way that is honest yet doesn't damage your children's already strained psyches.

If your life is too busy for kids parents, then guess what: DON'T HAVE THEM.

You do your children a disservice to bring them into the world and then not love them enough to put your life on the back burner.

That's the deal with children. There is nothing more complicated to say about it, no studies, no facts and figures.

Be a parent. Or don't be one.

Your kids are not little versions of you. They don't want to be. I have spent 8 years of my short life listening to stories from children where they express themselves very concretely on this issue.

I have also talked 5 high school students out of committing suicide.

That was a typical day as a teacher for me.

Who do I blame? YOU, Helicopter Parent. I didn't make that kid feel so inferior and worthless that he wanted to take his own life at 15.

The world is a complex place and should be presented to students as such.

These kids have inherited all your problems: global warming, overpopulation, unending wars, world-wide injustices and global economic meltdown and the teachers of today can prepare them to confront those challenges and be victorious in the future, for all our sakes.

You just have to get out of the way and let us work.

Stop being a bureaucrat and start being a person again, Helicopters.

Until I see those changes, I'll be off breaking bricks somewhere and out of the schools.

The bricks aren't as obnoxious and self-righteous, self-delusional, and self-absorbed. They are just bricks.

Good luck in the Brave New World, Helicopters.

You're gonna need it.

10:48 AM, September 04, 2008  
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