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The Bad News About Helicopter Parenting: It Works

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Replies to: The Bad News About Helicopter Parenting: It Works

  • colfac92colfac92 Registered User Posts: 305 Member
    "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child."

    I like that.

    I've heard the parents who do the child's homework and argue with the child's teacher about grades called "Snowplow Parents" rather than helicopter parents. These are the ones who plow through every obstacle in their child's way, clearing the path so to speak.
  • MWolfMWolf Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    The article seems to be conflating "involved parenting" with "helicopter parenting". Checking that your kid has done their homework, meeting with the teacher to discuss your kid's progress, etc. is not helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting is when you do your kid's homework for them, yell at the teacher when your kid fails, make sure that your kid has 35 after-school programs, but don't teach them how to make breakfast for themselves, etc. I find it very difficult to believe that these kids actually do better than kids whose parents allowed them to try things and fail.

    This article is, in fact, self-contradictory. It describe “authoritative" parents as parents who "emphasize adaptability, problem-solving and independence". Parents who emphasize these behaviors are NOT what psychologists mean by "Helicopter Parents". Helicopter parents suppress independence by doing everything for their kids, they discourage problem solving by spoon-feeding kids, and never letting them actually learn from their mistakes, and they suppress adaptability by never letting their kids explore different ways of doing things ("If you want to get into Harvard in another 12 years, you need to learn how to do math in this exact manner").

    This article is saying that "X is good, because people who did Y succeeded". It's like saying "overly aggressive driving is good for traffic, because people who plan their trips, focus on driving, and are very good a controlling their cars, have been shown to reduce the number of accidents and traffic jams".

    Gah, just when I think that the NYT has produced the biggest piece of BS as an opinion piece, they prove me wrong. The entire purpose of this piece is to make the readers of the NYT feel good about their parenting by claiming that their bad parenting is, in fact, good, because they're actually doing the exact opposite of their actual actions.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,202 Senior Member
    I have a friend who is a college professor and department chair. I was shocked to hear how many parent calls she gets from parents. In college!

    DH's last company also had a parent try to sit in on a job interview with their adult child. Bet you can guess if the applicant was offered the job.....
  • epiphanyepiphany Registered User Posts: 8,440 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    I agree with others that there's great ambiguity of terms and that the article is also poorly written. There are also many differences of opinion as to what constitutes appropriate, let alone "ideal." parenting. For some, it will mean full-on involvement and even "partnering" with their children (the latter is not my style; it's important to me that my children own their successes and failures). For others, appropriate parenting means teaching them self-sufficiency from the earliest possible age. I also think male and female styles of parenting differ, and this is why I believe (just my belief) that "helicoptering" is a term far more directed at mothers than at fathers. There is the occasional control-freak Dad, but overall, fathers, i.m.e., are "looser" about what might fall through the parenting cracks and tend to be more interested in teaching independence and confidence to their children.

    I have never done my children's homework or in other ways gotten involved in routine homework -- only when it came to actually purchasing materials for projects and being their additional resource and transportation for that. I have known of parents who literally do the projects for their children -- design the boards, do the lettering, etc. Even if I wanted to do that (don't), the knowledge that it would embarrass my children and make it obvious it was not their own work would be disincentive enough.

    In a word, I think helicoptering can be defined as utter lack of trust -- lack of trust in the child and in any environment outside of the home. Now, with regard to public education, I think that there's some legitimate cause for concern among parents of various States. In my State, the teaching of verbal skills is pathetic. Insufficient grade-level reading is assigned, insufficient test of comprehension, vastly insufficient attention to writing -- analysis, synthesis, interpretation -- three skills they will be asked to use in college. Therefore, parents turn to tutors because quality tutors will teach these skills and especially give students plenty of opportunity to write. The worse the educational system, the more parents will turn to a free marketplace to give their children the opportunities the children deserve.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 325 Member
    They'd opened two files with two different student numbers ...

    @twoinanddone One of those files was opened by your daughter and the other was opened by you... ha ha, j/k ;)
  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,950 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    Short endorsement of those who oppose conflating helicoptering with active support. For one thing, kids in the same family are likely to have very different personalities (sociability, inner-motivation, self-control, etc.) and very different skills (abstract reasoning, athletics, math, art, etc.).

    Our "goals" for our kids were above all for them to be physically and mentally healthy, sociable ("plays well with others"), and planful. But the kids had very different talents and very different personalities. So the job of raising them involved OUR adapting to these DIFFERENCES rather than molding the kids into the same form.

    For us it was wonderful to give the kids opportunities to discover their interests and talents, and then for us to nurture those interests and talents. Sure they both went to the same schools (until college), and had the same parents and standard of living. But they went to very different colleges (a multiversity and an art school), in very different locations. The "tests" they had to pass to be admitted to those colleges were very different. As young adults they are now about as different as a kid interested in math can be from a kid interested in art. There is no way #1 could do in his career what #2 does in her career. But they are both very successful.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,419 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    @Gourmetmom --"So, I've started to use the same techniques with my "fourth" child to try to whip him into shape."

    And the best part is that it is NOT too late if you have a willing student. Every kid needs a life plan--sometimes that's the main thing lacking. Many kids have no road map to get to where they want to go so they flounder.
    Authoritative parents provide the road map. They are the GPS. They don't do the hiking--they provide the map.

    Want to have a career in "X"? What does that involve? What are the steps?
    You need education ? How do we get there? How do we fill in the gaps?
    . Money? Short term goals or long term? Budget. Need a plan.
    Need certain specific skills to achieve your goals? How do we get there?
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,419 Senior Member

    Perhaps your "fourth" child--we used to say the "other" sibling unit--needs to realize that not everything is created in a day. You may be very wise in suggesting the military or another path etc. and they just don't see it Just map it out a bit further on a timeline and the benefits that can be reaped from following certain paths. That might be experience, resume building, increasing a bank account, getting education benefits, etc. Life is a journey with twists and turns. You don't get left behind, you just have different experiences.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,240 Senior Member
    One of those files was opened by your daughter and the other was opened by you... ha ha, j/k

    Nope, one was opened by the coach, but my daughter sent in a full application too (you know, like the school expected) and they opened another file and gave her a new number. It was too much for them to figure out that Mary Smith (and our last name isn't as common as Smith - not another in the school) was the same as Mary Jean Smith. It caused a lot of problems and I should have figured it out when she got 2 of almost every marketing flyer, one addressed to her full name and one to her 'short' name. There were all kinds of things screwed up like her meal plan choice, her merit award, her NAME. I spent a lot of time on the phone the summer before she started and they'd fix one thing and then something else would happen. All little things, just annoying

    I played the helicopter parent all summer because my daughter was 17 and away for the summer. It was also MY money we were talking about as there were missing scholarships and grant money.
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