Helicopter Parents

Helicopter Parents

Ah, Baby Boomers. They didn’t just mess up their generation; they’re actively working to mess up the next. Helen Reynolds links to a Newsweek article on “Helicopter Parents”, Boomer parents who “hover so long that their offspring never gets a chance to grow up.” From the Newsweek article:

Some boomer parents hang on, propelled by love (of course) and insecurity about how the world will treat their children. After years of supervising homework, they think nothing of editing the papers their college students have e-mailed them. A few even buy textbooks and follow the course syllabi. Later they’re polishing student résumés and calling in favors to get summer internships. Alarmed by these intrusions into what should be a period of increasing independence, colleges around the country have set up parent-liaison offices to limit angry phone calls to professors and deans. Parent orientations, usually held alongside the student sessions, teach how to step aside.

Reynolds adds:

Is it just one more selfish boomer characteristic that they feel their child is an extension of themselves and they try to live vicariously through them, or is it the fear that the kid will come home to live in the parent’s basement if they do not succeed? Either way, wouldn’t it be best to teach one’s child independence and how to care for themselves?

Melanie said she saw a “Dear Abby” in the newspaper the other day about a 24-year-old living at home who admits he doesn’t know how to use a checkbook or do his taxes and when he asks his parents about it, they laugh at him. I’ve been saying for a long time that we keep extending adolescence to later and later in life. It used to be that when you reached 15 or 16, you were considered a man or a woman, you got married, you set out in your chosen profession and that was that. I think that was about 100 years ago. Now you see people as late as 30 still living at home, acting like they’re still in college, having mom do their laundry and playing video games all day and night. This is adulthood?

But it’s not their fault alone; their parents have a lot to answer for. Yes, I know that there are many Boomer-age parents who are not this way, and there are many of their kids who are motivated and mature. I’m sure that describes much of my readership. But you’re the exception. Unfortunately, it seems that much of your generations are quite different.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli