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Old 01-05-2012, 06:12 PM   #1
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Helicopter Parents

About the term:
Helicopter parent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Last summer we visted a local public playground and I notice how most
of the parents were following (and helping) the children through the
playground equipment. The playground seemed very low to the ground and
padded like a cell. There was enough rubber shreddings on the ground to
sink your sneakers.

The school where I work no longer allows students to play basketball or
even walk around outside during lunch. They must stay seated at tables.
We were told this was done because of safety issues and parent concerns.

A good link on the topic:
'Safety-First' Playgrounds Linked to Bored, Inactive Kids: Study - US News and World Report
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:16 PM   #2
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Agreed. Kids today have fucking amazing Lego (insanely jealous), but their playgrounds suck, and yes, kids should fall off things and bust things and whatnot.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Litigious parents is probably more like it, though there's some connection there.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
The school where I work no longer allows students to play basketball or
even walk around outside during lunch.
They don't allow them to play basketball at all, or just during lunch?

What age group is this?
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:32 PM   #5
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Phil's school lets kids play some games but they aren't allowed to keep scores.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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Phil's school lets kids play some games but they aren't allowed to keep scores.
Yes, that also seems to be a current trend.

Loosing a game might cause a loss of self-esteem


Also at the school where I work, any student who wants to join
the football team is automatically accepted. No try outs. No one
is turned down.


press>>>play

"Not every kid made the team when they tried We got disappointed and that was all right, we turned out all right"

~From the song "It was a Different World"
as recorded by Bucky Convington
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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I went to a class A high school (largest size group in our state, not sure if other states use the same system) and our football team was no-cut but I think it's because soccer was THE sport (won state champs, several always went on to play well in college). My gymnastics team was no-cut, as was swimming & diving and wrestling I think. In all cases it was because of numbers, anyone that showed up could be on the team so there wasn't a point to cut anyone, certainly not about people's feelings.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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My high school was so small the starting center on the basketball team was blind (she could see light and shadow). She was tall though, unlike all the rest of the players on the team. I swear they were the shortest kids in the school.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:57 AM   #9
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I hate what the 90s "we're all special, we're all winners" shitty parenting has turned youth into today.

Contributing factors also include grade inflation and the false promise of jobs for all those pushed into crushing college debt for useless social science degrees in lieu of vocational training.

Hopefully the post-college, recessionary job sinkhole will humble everyone a bit as they pack garbage cans more efficiently at Taco Bell with a big flat metal thing.

Not sure why anyone would reasonably take on 40K debt for anything other than a STEM degree these days.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:34 AM   #10
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Overprotective parents contribute to frustrated teens that grow up with a sense of insecurity, lack of trust, and a weak set of basic social skills. As these kids age, they realize how badly shaped they are due to their parents' overprotection, some notice it very early in life while others do until it's very late, talking past the age range of 30-40.

In summary, protection can always be welcomed as well as freedom, there has to exist a balance between both.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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Contributing factors also include grade inflation and the false promise of jobs for all those pushed into crushing college debt for useless social science degrees in lieu of vocational training.
I thought you were an economics major that didn't want to work for the government?

Quote:
Hopefully the post-college, recessionary job sinkhole will humble everyone a bit as they pack garbage cans more efficiently at Taco Bell with a big flat metal thing.

Not sure why anyone would reasonably take on 40K debt for anything other than a STEM degree these days.
My family doctor was born in New York, graduated from high school nearby Long Island, and then moved to Mexico to pursue an undergraduate degree on a pre-med track all the way through medical school until he got his M.D.

The medical school where he attended was bilingual, as soon as he graduated, he moved back to the US to start his residency and three years later after it was complete, he was already an internist with his own office; he did all of it in his native language, abroad, and paid a little less than $30K for the complete package.

I personally congratulated him for beating up the system, he didn't even take the MCAT's, nor paid thousands of dollars of nothing for nothing. And yet, he's widely known and recommended around the local area, lives on a $1M home, and drives a Porsche Panamera.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:03 AM   #12
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I think America is the only place that medicine is seen as a vocation that should provide a very high income.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:17 AM   #13
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not at all, it's just one of the places that doesn't seem to think that income should be remotely representative of effort and training put in.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:36 AM   #14
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What I see with Phil's students (elementary) and our students (college) is that they lack coping skills. They think they are so much more advanced and mature than previous generations yet they act like babies when told "no" or something bad happens to them. Fifth graders bring weapons to school but then when they are caught and reprimanded they scream and throw a fit like a baby.

I've had parents chew us out because we won't provide them with their son or daughter's password, because our online portal contains confidential information like health records. I want to scream into the phone, "Your kid is 18, cut the cord!" Even with the kids who don't like the helicoptering and are quite fine working things out on their own, the parents are still going at it. They come to our info fair tables and in the background the kid is rolling his eyes acting embarrassed by his mother while she is rambling on and on to us about this or that. Two summers ago my aunt had an issue with a parent who threatened to pull all his kids out of her school because one of his daughters did not get her choice of three best friends in the same classroom. I see parents doing everything for their adult children sort of actually dressing them. It's just so weird and kind of gross, really...
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:58 AM   #15
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I thought you were an economics major that didn't want to work for the government?
Banks, banks, banks. Plus I might be going out on a limb here, but I think I am taking a wee bit more calculus and statistics than my friends in Sociology.

Should have gone for a STEM degree, in retrospect.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:45 AM   #16
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I want to scream into the phone, "Your kid is 18, cut the cord!" Even with the kids who don't like the helicoptering and are quite fine working things out on their own, the parents are still going at it.
At the college level this feels like a very recent development--when I first started teaching in the late 90s I can't recall intrusive parents ever being an issue, but as of the last several years, yeah, every year now at the beginning of the semester I'll have parents coming by my office "just to introduce themselves" (which usually quickly turns into them grilling me about my grading system, teaching philosophy etc.) and sometimes at semester's end I'll encounter them again, typically with a far less pleasant tenor, if their child hasn't done as well as expected. (And, yes, their children very often are the "But I included all the elements you said our paper had to have, so I deserve an A!" type.) I don't really mind this per se; it's just that it all feels so infantilizing towards the student, who after all is my first obligation, not them, so I feel uncomfortably caught between. Also, ask any prof who takes students abroad and I can virtually guarantee you'll hear at least a few exasperated anecdotes about students who were too preoccupied with their 'digital umbilicals' to get off their butts and throw themselves out into Paris or Mumbai or Mexico City and actually have the experiences they presumably came there to have. They're born networkers and that's something, for sure, but perhaps a bit worrisomely passive in other ways.

When consulting at universities in mainland China a couple years back, I many times heard complaints from profs and administrators about a somewhat similar-sounding phenomenon, where all kinds of student life issues are cropping up on campuses now that they never had before--students' traditional deference to elders remains largely intact, but their social skills with peers seem much weaker in certain ways; for example, fighting, from protracted verbal spats to violent physical confrontations, has apparently become quite common, whereas it used to be unheard of. Over and over I heard this attributed to the one-child policy--that kids were arriving in college psychologically ill-equipped to share space, time and possessions with peers because they've never really had to do it before. I can't vouch for that myself though.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:11 AM   #17
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I don't really mind this per se; it's just that it all feels so infantilizing towards the student, who after all is my first obligation, not them, so I feel uncomfortably caught between.
I feel this too. Often the student and I are giving each other subtle glances and winks that communicate "My mom is freaking out because I'm leaving the nest!"...." I know, I get it, just let her say her piece".... In their defense, quite often the kids aren't really that bad, they don't depend on the parents like the parents seem to think (or want). We recognize that during the times we have contact with them (over the summer when they are required to do orientation, and at the start of the school year), it is a hard time for the parents giving up their "baby" so we try to be sensitive and hear them out at these times of the year. However I lack patience when the parents are calling all year long about this or that, when the student is capable of calling us or even coming over since we are open all day every day, and I can't resolve issues or do any sort of troubleshooting through a parent that might be 1500 miles away and has no clue what's actually going on, not to mention that I am often bound by FERPA and HIPAA and any number of laws that protect a student's right to privacy.

It just amazes me because I am 27 an started college in 2002 so our current students are not a different generation. My mom never did these things for me. She never even came to the parent orientations and only came to help me move in b/c she wanted to chat with my roommate's mom. The thought of my mom coming to the computer HelpDesk with me and my laptop just makes me laugh. I did print out my grades for her but would never give her my password to the online portal. This was just fine for me, college was my gig. She would have just been in the way. I have noticed she is a lot more involved in my younger sister's college life (sister is 5 years younger) though that's probably also because she is the youngest and she's always been more clingy/dependent.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:13 PM   #18
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This is a really interesting topic and I've enjoyed reading through it.

I too work in a school (high school, junior through to senior) although with not quite two years under my belt am relatively new to it all. I am also a parent with one of my kids due to start her senior high school years this year and two boys about to commence in their first year of high school.

The point made a little earlier about resilience is the one that really strikes a chord with me.

I am constantly struck dumb by the number of parents who want to hold teachers, peers, anyone except their child, responsible for any disappointing grades their child may have received.

You expect to hear from parents of students in their early years of high school as some of those kids do have a hard time adjusting to the new routines that high school introduces.

But once your child is in senior high school, to my mind that child should be a good way towards finding their own voice and working out how to navigate the relationship between teacher and student to maximise their learning and their grades. How else are they going to find their way in the bad ole world if they don't learn to deal with all different manner of people? Parents should be a last resort once the student has explored all of the other options open to her / them.

One of my daughters (now) favourite teachers, and subsequently one of her mentors, is a woman my daughter was terrified of initially ~ my daughter begged me to ask for a different class for this particular subject but I refused because I knew this woman was a fantastic teacher who, despite being a little gruff, always elicited great results for her students. This woman is tough, granted, but her students all come to realise that she is fair ~ she doesn't demand a class room full of A grade students, but she does demand that each student produce her best work and pushes them to that goal and she pushes the girls to take responsibility for their work, good or bad. We usually receive a bunch of phone calls from complaining parents in the first few weeks of the year about this teacher but most parents see the results and stop their whinging eventually! Most.

I do know that the more money a school charges for tuition etc the more the parents seem to feel entitled to push their weight around (some of my colleagues have worked in schools that charge upwards of $15 - 20 k per year in fees and have regaled me with numerous horror stories about over zealous parents trying to manage every aspect of their proteges lives ) ~ maybe this is part of the reason for the upsurge in the number of parents who are continuing to micro-manage their kids lives through to the College years as well?
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:28 PM   #19
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I do know that the more money a school charges for tuition etc the more the parents seem to feel entitled to push their weight around (some of my colleagues have worked in schools that charge upwards of $15 - 20 k per year in fees and have regaled me with numerous horror stories about over zealous parents trying to manage every aspect of their proteges lives ) ~ maybe this is part of the reason for the upsurge in the number of parents who are continuing to micro-manage their kids lives through to the College years as well?
I certainly agree this is part of it. I work at a small, private college. Costs about $30K/yr to attend. The school my aunt works at (where the dad insisted his third grader be in the same classroom with all her best friends) is a private elementary school and costs $6080/yr (price for one kid, grades 1-8). My husband Phil teaches at a different private elementary school and has had parents come in and try to teach his class. He has parents who e-mail him every day.

These kids have great educations with every opportunity but are almost helpless on their own. Phil says he sees it in his classroom in things like working out basic math problems. The kids have zero problem solving and critical thinking skills, they expect the teacher to spoon feed everything.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:17 PM   #20
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At the college level this feels like a very recent development--when I first started teaching in the late 90s I can't recall intrusive parents ever being an issue, but as of the last several years, yeah, every year now at the beginning of the semester I'll have parents coming by my office "just to introduce themselves" (which usually quickly turns into them grilling me about my grading system, teaching philosophy etc.) and sometimes at semester's end I'll encounter them again, typically with a far less pleasant tenor, if their child hasn't done as well as expected. (And, yes, their children very often are the "But I included all the elements you said our paper had to have, so I deserve an A!" type.) I don't really mind this per se; it's just that it all feels so infantilizing towards the student, who after all is my first obligation, not them, so I feel uncomfortably caught between.
I can't think of a single person who I went to college with whose parents insisted on or even attempted to personally meet professors for any reason whatever (it might occasionally have happened the other way around, in the case of exceptionally bad behaviour by a student), except maybe in the context of the informal setting of graduation celebrations. When I went to college, in the early 1990s, if your parents were sighted entering into conferences with lecturers, you'd be the target of instant slagging from classmates. It just wouldn't be viewed as a good look at all.
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