The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting

by VK

My column about helicopter parenting is up at Pajamas Media. A taste:

With the school year well under way, helicopter parents are spinning into overdrive, hovering over their children and micro-managing their lives. But where did it come from, this belief that good parenting is synonymous with doing everything for one’s child? What makes so many otherwise sane and rational parents believe they need to confront a “mean” teacher to demand a better grade for their child? To rally against school bans on the cell phone they gave their kid so they could keep in touch throughout the day? To fill up a child’s schedule with piano lessons, soccer, football, Scouts, and additional tutoring, then spend their evenings chauffeuring them to each?

Read the rest here.

4 Comments to “The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting”

  1. I’ve left my comments elsewhere, but I want to say here… Yay!! A voice of reason!

    Donna B.s last blog post..Happy Birthday Marines!

  2. Must tell you, my husband’s first experience with American helicopter parents was when he was a graduate student at Duke. All incoming freshemen must take a writing course. Sections are divided betweens arts & sciences, engineering or pre-med. Maybe even more divisions, but they are taught by graduate students in the same programs. The goal is to overcome all the creative writing, and make sure that every student understands how to reasearch and write a fact based paper at the level expected for college and for potential publication. The course is only offered in the fall of freshmen year.

    Now, being a foreign student, my husband would sometimes show me a paper and ask if I felt he had graded too strictly. Was it as bad as he though? Was his traditional British Grammer School education, followed by Oxford, causing him to mistake good enough for college as not good enough for a 12 year old? No, it wasn’t him, it was them. By the end of his years of teaching this, my 12-year old could write a better paper than some of his students with their oh-so-expensive private educations!

    At the end of his first year teaching the course, he was astounded at the number of parents who called OUR HOME to complain that their darling had gotten anything less than an ‘A’. “But precious always gets A’s, s/he was #1 in their class, had a GPA of 5.2 (on a 4 point scale)!” He would inform them that college was different: EVERY student at Duke had, in high school, gotten nothing but A’s, etc. (not true, but…) That was the end of it for some. He soon learned to give the rest the phone number of the Dean’s office.

    • That’s an excellent point: at Duke, and at many other universities, the students there are ALL “cream of the crop” who often learned they could still excel while making only a half-hearted effort.

      Then when they’re no longer the big fish in a small pond they find success requires more effort, but they haven’t learned how to actually make that effort themselves.

      It’s easy enough, I think, for the students to recognize this eventually and work to acquire the skills needed to do well. Much harder for their parents, though, who’ve never learned to accept that perhaps their babies AREN’T true geniuses.