I was walking in the grocery store a few nights ago and Time Magazine’s cover caught my eye. The title of the feature article, “Helicopter Parents: The Backlash Against Overparenting” by Nancy Gibbs almost got me to actually buy the magazine until I realized I could probably find it online for free! I’ve linked to the article above.
Here are the few opening lines:
“The insanity crept up on us slowly; we just wanted what was best for our kids. We bought macrobiotic cupcakes and hypoallergenic socks, hired tutors to correct a 5-year-old’s ‘pencil-holding deficiency,’ hooked up broadband connections in the treehouse but took down the swing set after the second skinned knee. We hovered over every school, playground and practice field — ‘helicopter parents,’ teachers christened us, a phenomenon that spread to parents of all ages, races and regions. Stores began marketing stove-knob covers and ‘Kinderkords’ (also known as leashes; they allow ‘three full feet of freedom for both you and your child’) and Baby Kneepads (as if babies don’t come prepadded). The mayor of a Connecticut town agreed to chop down three hickory trees on one block after a woman worried that a stray nut might drop into her new swimming pool, where her nut-allergic grandson occasionally swam. A Texas school required parents wanting to help with the second-grade holiday party to have a background check first. Schools auctioned off the right to cut the carpool line and drop a child directly in front of the building — a spot that in other settings is known as handicapped parking.
“We were so obsessed with our kids’ success that parenting turned into a form of product development. Parents demanded that nursery schools offer Mandarin, since it’s never too soon to prepare for the competition of a global economy. High school teachers received irate text messages from parents protesting an exam grade before class was even over; college deans described freshmen as ‘crispies,’ who arrived at college already burned out, and ‘teacups,’ who seemed ready to break at the tiniest stress.”