Monday, August 23, 2010

Helicopter Parents

I think I'd still prefer the standoffishness parents than the kind that are always in my shit.
Since the New York Times never gets tired of running "Kids these days!" stories, I geared myself up for yet another one when I saw the headline "Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home." But this time it was a twist on the usual narrative. Instead, we got a "Parents these days!" article. The article comically addresses the various ways that universities have tried to convince overly clingy parents to leave when they drop their kids off at college, but for once, the kids themselves are portrayed sympathetically.

Most articles I've seen in the past couple of years about "helicopter parents" address the anxious parents of very small children trying to get their kids into the best kindergartens and making sure that their coloring books get them diagnosed as geniuses. Boy, those kids aged faster than the kids on a soap opera, because now we have an article about parents of children 12 or 13 years older. But for all the hyperbole, the writer Trip Gabriel actually paints a touching picture of parents who've just spent the past 18 years making their offspring the center of the lives and now, having to set their cubs free, they don't know what to do with themselves. And so they find excuses to linger, even as the kids are eager to get on with it.


Bag Blog said...

This topic is a sore spot for me, but I will try not to rant. Back in the day, I taught regular classes of high school kids. On parent/teacher night, out of 150 kids, I might get 5 parents. The honors and college prep teachers would have classrooms full of parents. This proved that parents who are involved in their kid's lives have kids who do better in school. Yet, teachers, schools, and colleges don't want to be accountable to parents. It is as if they want your money, but not your imput. When Jes was 18 and looking at colleges, we visited one that would not let me ask questions or look around with her. While I twiddled my thumbs in the student union, some dean she had just met wanted to tell her what she should major in and even gave his interpretation of the Bible (long story). We took our money elsewhere.

Kath said...

I was glad/annoyed that my parents were always on me, bec. it also was an excuse to get out of stuff I didn't want to do -- "Oh, I can't go, my parents will kill me!" Darn, can't go to that stinky party with that bunch of drunks!

If they hadn't started yelling at me when I was young about grades -- "HOW are you going to get into college?" I'm 12, I don't care. "Well, you WILL care one day, young lady." (Insert major eye roll here.)

Kind of a mantra in our house, but it worked!! Off to college I went -- thank goodness I believe was said by both sides.

Wek said...

BB- wow, that does say a lot. I had a weird situation growing up. I slacked, so my folks stayed off my back. My sis was the house genius so my folks were on her azz all the time. Kinda like "sliding scale" parenting.

K- as one of those "drunks" I'm offended you didn't want to hang out with my kind. ;)