Helicopter Parents

D.H. Lawrence, the literary giant, advised parents and teachers a century ago: “How to begin to educate a child. First rule: leave him alone. Second rule: leave him alone. Third rule: leave him alone. That is the whole beginning.”

At first glance this seems to be the worst parenting advice in the history of written words.  And to support that further, Lawrence had no children. However, there are situations in which this radical advice should be heeded: Helicopter parents. Paranoid teachers. Paralyzed administrators.

TIME magazine’s cover story (11-20-09) is a lengthy editorial, worth every bit of the 15 minutes it takes to read, especially if you are a hard-working, highly-committed parent or teacher under the age of fifty.  You may not be a hovering, smothering parent or teacher; however, you still might benefit from a good dose of reality about how we — sometimes in subtle ways — over-protect, over-nurture, over-schedule, and over-stimulate the kids in our care.

Sometimes, less IS more, when raising kids to be significant, successful adults.

Give it a read, and please feel free to leave a comment about it below (anonymous comments are welcome).  I’ll start it with my own comment.

The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting, by Nancy Gibbs, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009

4 responses to “Helicopter Parents”

  1. When I first saw this TIME article, I skimmed to the end first. When I read the final paragraph about how D.H. Lawrence advised parents to parent less, I about choked. Parent less? In this age of hands-off parenting? Really? Well, upon reading the whole article, I made a 180 degree turn on my initial outrage. Nancy Gibbs’ article is not written for the parent who is doing too little (there are plenty of articles out there for them, thankfully). This is for those of us who are guilty of rescuing our kids from the negative consequence that they need so badly. It’s for the mama who can’t bear to see her baby (or teenager) cry – ever. It’s for the teacher who never gives F’s. It’s for the Dad who over-indulges his kids with the material possessions he wished he had a kid. It’s for all of us who are over-protective at times. Kids need to make mistakes and learn from them. Our protection needs to be there, but perhaps not so close and so often.

  2. With both teaching and parenting, “what comes around goes around”. It seems that with every generation there is a change in how people parent. Maybe it’s stems from the books that people write and parents so wholeheartedly accept. Maybe it’s parents trying to “do it better” than their own parents. Either way, it would be nice if we could settle on a happy medium with parenting. I think that this article shows evidence of both extremes. Food for thought for sure.

  3. Here’s an excellent article that has some excellent tips: “How Not to be a Helicopter Parent” at http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/article_cf860e11-a76f-547c-9b4b-9a73948a2efb.html

  4. wildcatteacher

    Here’s another excellent article about “over-parenting,” written by a pediatrician who is all for protecting kids without over-protecting them. If we protect kids from all trouble, then we cripple them. http://www.parenting.com/article/Toddler/Development/Are-You-Overprotecting-Your-Child/2

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