walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

helicopter parenting epiphany

I've seen a small handful of articles, and read some blogging on the subject of helicopter parenting. While consistent readers of this journal know I despise the people who raised me, in my youth I wished only that they would pay some attention to me (altho even then I was picky enough to prefer not getting attention to being beaten, which value probably was instrumental in how my adult life has turned out). Being all enthused about Attachment Parenting myself (or, at the very least, fostering attachment within the family, and within my larger kinship network of close friends and chosen family), it's been very difficult for me to understand why people think helicopter parenting is bad. I can see there are boundary issues, but people seem upset even when the kids want the parental involvement. That is to say, people aren't just appalled that parents are showing up to dress drown the professor for giving the offspring a less-than-ideal grade. People are appalled that parents are talking to their college-attending offspring about their homework in detail.

Honestly, even my mother was involved with my college-attending oldest sister's homework. She edited D.'s papers for grammar, spelling, etc. Altho I was stuck editing the papers due in science classes like Physics (who the fuck assigns papers in a Physics class? I still don't get that, but I remember being stuck proofing the paper), despite being seven years younger than my college-attending sister.

I was recently watching Naomi Klein be interviewed by Franklin Foer (I'm probably spelling something wrong, because I long ago gave up attempting perfection at matters linguistic) on CSPAN's BookTV (the wonders of Tivo). I've been toying with the idea of reading _Shock Doctrine_, but the reviews are somewhat ambiguous. As I listened to her describe the early post-Saddam years in Iraq, I had a little epiphany about helicopter parenting. It's not _just_ a boundary problem, which is how I had previously tended to think of it. The problem arises when a parent really and truly believes they can live their child's life better than their child can -- and that that somehow is relevant. This is the parent who picks the kid's major for them. Etc. And yeah, that's bad.

But I'm sticking to my ground that either it isn't helicopter parenting -- or it's not bad helicopter parenting -- to be there when your kid wants an assist. Any more than it's bad to be there when your friend, spouse, parent, aunt, cousin, niece, etc. wants an assist. It's even okay to share decision making, as long as everyone is very clear just whose life this is, and therefore whose decision it is.

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