Posts tagged “helicopter parenting”

Mamas, don’t let your babies…

With Occupy Oakland confrontations behind us (I hope), Halloween ahead of us, and technology all around us it seems increasingly challenging to navigate the complexities of parenting. Here’s a little taste of what some moms and dads are grappling with today:

For Children’s Sake, Taking to the Streets [] – Children continue to be a familiar presence in civic unrest in this piece that takes a look at the intersection between protesting for economic justice and parenting. Some supporters believe exposing children to such controversies helps to teach them critical thinking skills and introduces them to fundamentals of civic engagement. Others express concern for children’s safety and fear potential trauma.

And so it goes in the second month of Occupy Wall Street, where children are becoming an increasing presence as parents try to seize a “teachable moment” to enlighten them on matters ranging from income inequality to the right to protest- A group called Parents for Occupy Wall Street, headed by Kirby Desmarais, a Brooklyn mother and record label owner, even organized a sleepover at the park for more than 80 parents and children on a recent weekend night. (The families had to be moved at dawn to make way for new police lines and barricades.) Spin-off parent groups have sprung up in other cities like Denver and Seattle.

‘We’re a culture, not a costume’ this Halloween [] – The Ohio University organization, Students Teaching About Racism in Society, have launched a campaign to get people to think twice before donning a costume that reduces an entire culture to a stereotypical caricature. Proponents contend that confronting stereotypes helps combat racism, while opposition in editorial forums has touted that fun and lighthearted nature of the holiday, indicated it’s nothing to be taken too seriously.

It’s a seasonal point of controversy, but even after widely publicized controversies such as the “Ghetto Fab” wig at Kohl’s and Target’s illegal alien jumpsuit, costumes of stereotypes abound. On Google’s shopping section, several pages of “Mexican costume ideas” are available, from “Mexican donkey costumes” to sexy serapes and tequila shooter girls.

Tiger Moms and Digital Media [] – A psychotherapist specializing in internet and video game addiction offers 9 guidelines to parents who wish to help their children develop normally, with a healthy relationship to digital media. I find myself particularly challenged by number 8, Model what you preach. “Ouch of awareness” from this parent of an 8 year-old who has more apps on my iPhone than I do and yes, he installed the entire entertainment system when we recently relocated.

I’ve been specializing in this problem for many years. For reasons I cannot explain, I saw the approaching flood, when internet addiction was only a trickle. Now, that flood is upon us. Statistics tell us that between 6 and 13% of the general population meets criteria for Internet Addiction. In the college age population, that number stands between 13 and 19%! That’s a lot of young adults who are addicted to digital technology. In S. Korea and China, the problem is growing so rapidly that those governments have declared Internet Addiction to be their #1 public health threat.

Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?!

Joan Acocella looks at a a few books about child-rearing and explores the zeitgeist through the lens of our current parenting practices. The piece looks at the complex relationship between shifting behaviors, norms, and pressures, the products and services that emerge to serve them, and the medium- and long-term societal consequences. Fascinating stuff.

When the student goes off to college, overparenting need not stop. Many mothers and fathers, or their office assistants, edit their children’s term papers by e-mail. They also give them cell phones equipped with G.P.S. monitors, in order to track their movements. In Marano’s eyes, the cell phone, by allowing children to consult with their parents over any problem, any decision, any “flicker of experience,” has become the foremost technological adjunct of overparenting.

Students provided with such benefits may study harder and, upon graduation, land a fancy job. On the other hand, they may join the ranks of the “boomerang children,” who move straight back home. A recent survey found that fifty-five per cent of American men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, and fourteen per cent between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four, live with their parents. Among the reasons cited are the high cost of housing, heavy competition for good jobs, and the burden of repaying college loans, but another factor may be sheer habit, even desire. Marano and others believe that, while hovering parents say that their goal is to launch the child into the world successfully, the truth lies deeper, in some dark dependency, some transfer of the parent’s identity to the child.


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