Helicopter Parents and Overparenting
The cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine delivers yet another indictment on Generation X: the overparenting, hyper-parenting, helicopter parenting has got to stop. Please, for the sake of the kids, right?
I have long asserted (and who can dispute the thesis?) that Generation X has overparented their children partially in response to their own childhood neglect.
But, to put all the blame squarely on Baby Boomers is unwarranted if not utterly ridiculous. It’s a convenient over-simplification of a major trend. Two things that also deserve closer examination is that Generation X has more college educated parents percentage-wise than any generation that has gone before us. As such, we have greater resources with which to provide for our children — things and experiences our parents and grandparents could not afford. Having said that, the author of the article, Nancy Gibbs, does a great outlining the fact that helicopter parents are not limited by zip code or socioeconomic class. We run the gamut, folks.
I also think Generation X has been particularly sensitive to the realities of a global economy. We sprang from college and struggled to find good jobs. As the years rocketed by, the globe grew flatter and smaller fueling fears that our children would not be fit for global competition. (The article delves into this.) Essentially, we learned firsthand, a college degree would not be enough. It wasn’t for us and it wouldn’t be for our children.
Today, we are plagued by the fear that our children’s lives will be emotionally and financially worse than ours. Unfortunately, many statistics back this up. From oceans dying to markets crashing, we can’t undo the damage that has been done. In the absence of workplace leadership opportunities we thought we needed to effect world change, we abandoned (if we ever possessed) passion for the macrocosm and shifted all attention to the microcosm, that tiny world inhabited by our precious children.
For more on Gen X moms and hyper-parenting, check out Anne of Carverville’s blog post Over-parenting, hyper-parenting: For sane children and better marriage try slow parenting. She includes a bevy of important statistics.
In what ways have you overparented your children? What positive or negative things have resulted in your so-called overparenting?