Helicopter Parenting

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On Wednesday Night, May 18th , we will be discussing “Parenting.” Not long ago, I was listening to a radio program featuring Dr. Denise Pope who is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. During the interview she referred to “helicopter parents” who micromanage their children. They “hover and they swoop in and they don’t want their kids to make mistakes or get hurt or have any real freedom to mess up.”  She describes the results of this micromanagement to be freshmen students showing up at college who are stressed out with no real desire to learn – their only concern is to make good grades and get a high paying job which will give them success and happiness. They are so pressured that they “believe that getting a B in a class is equivalent to failing.”

Dr. Pope described a time in earlier years when mothers would send children out to play and remind them to be home for dinner. But now, her research shows that most students who come to Stanford are overscheduled and stressed out. They come from homes where the children are scheduled with activities from early morning to late at night. They are required to take Advanced Placement classes in school with tons of homework – plus extracurricular activities such as  music, art, sports and clubs to make the student more attractive to “Ivy League” colleges. Children are growing up with very little “free, unstructured time to play, to make mistakes, to tinker around.”

This helicopter parent phenomenon seems to have grown in the last 20 years or so. The first factor is fear – as the media carried more stories about missing children. Second, news stories reporting that American school children weren’t scoring well academically with children from other nations. A third factor is thought to be guilt of “working mothers” wanting to spend “quality time” with children which meant more parental supervision of children’s “free” play time.

To quote one of Dr. Pope’s book titles, children raised in this “helicopter environment” are really not learning, they are simply “Doing School: How we are creating a generation of stressed out, materialistic, and miseducated students.” She said “instead of kids and parents striving for perfection (on tests), we should be striving to be healthy – mentally and physically and spiritually. We need to slow down, re-focus … I would rather my kids be happy and healthy above all else, even if this means not going to the “best” college or not being the “best” athletes, artists, etc.

This will be our topic for the evening. How should Christian Parents parent? Should we be permissive parents who tell our children to go out and play and come back home by supper time. Or, in our current circumstances – do our children need more close supervision?

Should Christian Parents be:

  • Somewhere in the middle (Please Comment) (89%, 8 Votes)
  • Permissive Parents (11%, 1 Votes)
  • Helicopter Parents (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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