A good friend of mine in Nebraska — who shall remain nameless unless he steps forward here — sent me a great email yesterday full of fascinating thoughts and feelings as well as the following riff on unsavory and selfish parents:

I have personally witnessed and heard stories about minivan moms. These are the women — who have one, maybe two kids — but don’t work regular jobs, and take their kids to school every day. They band together in packs, always drinking their morning coffee in the drop off lanes at school.

On the surface, this of course is a “Leave it to Beaver” scenario. But I have discovered that many are prejudiced against those of us that have jobs, and drop our kids off and go to work. If we are in a hurry, they bitch and honk at you like you ran a red light or cut them off on the interstate. They travel in packs, socialize at the school, and help out at the school like it matters to their son’s or
daughter’s education if they are there or not.

What I have read, later on in life, these parents, usually women but sometimes men, become “helicopter parents.”  Right now in the Lincoln paper, there’s another article how they follow their kids to college and continually intervene in the guidance of their children who need to start thinking and figuring life out on their own.

In trying to be protective and nurturing, these people don’t do justice to their own offspring and get a bad name for themselves. Like an alcoholic or
drug user, they deny a problem exists. Some of these parents I have run across at the elementary level are down right nasty to deal with.

Have you heard of the “Helicopter Parents” phenomenon before?

This is a whole new breed of creepy for me — right up there on the “Ew!” scale with the Mommy Bloggers and their “Look What I Made!” brood of infant hooligans.

What is the purpose of these Helicopter Parents?

Are they an American phenomenon or is this an international paramilitary campaign?

Who makes sure their helicopter rotors are in good shape so they don’t crash into other hovering parents?

Are they vicariously living second lives through the unrealized hopes of their children?

How can we ground them and take away their self-righteous license to blacken our skies with their overbearing presence?

70 Comments

  1. I’ll have to keep an eye out for helicopter parents.
    When our son was in Catholic school, I suspect that there were might have been helicopter parents hanging around because the school always needed parent volunteers to get all sorts of things done, such as the Market Day fundraising and school plays, etc.
    I haven’t really been around the public elementary school our son attends enough to determine if there are any helicopter parents there.
    You need to have a reason to be admitted to the school during normal school hours because of security concerns, so we only go there is there is some special event, open house, or parent teacher conferences. Our son rides the bus, so we don’t even go to drop him off, unless he misses the bus.
    I doubt there were any parents hanging out in the public school classroom because there was a student teacher from a local university helping out last year.
    I’m sure they would discourage that because of the logistics. There probably wouldn’t be enough room or anything for a parent to do. I could be mistaken, however.
    However, at the Catholic school, after undergoing some training and a background check, parents could volunteer to help the teachers and were encouraged to do so to meet their required volunteer hours.

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  2. Chris —
    Do you ever get resentment vibes from parents at your school that don’t work but somehow try to ostracize you and your wife for not being involved enough because the two of you do work?
    When I was growing up you walked to school. Even if it was a mile you walked it. And walked it. You walked in the heat and the rain and the snow. It built your character up to be self-sufficient and tough. Many times you arrived on campus, we, sweaty and exhausted.
    Today it seems all kids — even those who live a block away from school — get a ride to school from their parents or on a bus.
    Are children becoming lazier or are the “street threats” to the children getting more predictable and dangerous?

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  3. Hi David,
    Our town is pretty much a working class type of place — a lot of people work construction, at the steel mills, or at factories, so I don’t ever think that there’s resentment toward a working wife.
    The constant threat of steel mill and factory layoffs or the nature of the contruction biz means that working wives are a necessity.
    Ford is laying off people and that will impact families in my city.

    Chicago Plant To Feel Ford Slowdown by Rick Popely/The Chicago Tribune
    We work next week, then we’re down the following week and back after that Ford Motor Co. will build 21 percent fewer vehicles in the fourth quarter as it tries to adjust to shrinking demand, a move that will temporarily idle workers in Chicago.

    http://futureoftheunion.com/?p=3092
    The bus is a necessity where we live. We’re actually closer to the elementary school in Merrillville than we are to our city’s school, which is on the other side of the city.
    I remember walking to and from school when I was younger. We didn’t have a bus assigned until I was in middle school because the elementary school was within a mile or so from where I lived. We’d walk along and stop at our friend’s houses to walk as a group.
    I wonder what our city’s rules are for bussing. I don’t know if they pick up kids who live close to the school.
    I don’t see our city as being dangerous — except for the possibility of bullies — so I’d encourage my son to walk if we lived closer to the school. It’s good excercise and fun if walking with neighborhood friends.

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  4. Hi Chris!
    I read bout those Ford layoffs. What a mess. I realize no job is guaranteed but when companies choose to cripple entire communities it is heartbreaking to watch something great die into a memory.
    I hope you will keep us updated on what happens to those hard working people who are going to lose good paying jobs and benefits.
    Walking to school was a great experience. It took a long time. You learned to carve the shortest route through the neighborhood to get there.

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  5. Reports say that Ford is going to offer buyouts to its workers.
    There’s a ton of construction projects going on for the foreseeable future. I’m sure many of the people, if properly trained, will be able to land on their feet with a good paying job doing the never-ending roadwork.
    Also, the ironworkers have been busy with all of the condo projects in Chicago.
    Writes Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune:

    Carl Sandburg got it right when he penned these words about an earlier Chicago building boom: “Put the city up / tear the city down / put it up again / let us find a city.”

    The key is to be versatile — in any occupation — to withstand the changes that always loom on the horizon.

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  6. HI All!
    I see “helicopter parents” all the time. I just didn’t know they had a label, other than the experlatives that run through my mind as their self-important lives interfere with my getting to work.
    I don’t feel I’m ostracized for working as most know i’m a single dad making a living for my kids, but these people are like the “hall monitor(s) from hell!” Yelling to slow down, intentionally getting in the way if they can, and even holding lengthy conversations in the middle of the parking lot. Go ahead and honk and see what 6 over-weight middle aged housewives can do to a vehicle. They’re like a school of lamprey eel’s slithering around each other waiting for a reason to attack. Maybe it’s a self-gratifying sense of power or control.
    Whatever it is; these are the people who are most dangerous. Due to their “courtship rituals” in the school yard, they tend to be the ones who don’t look when they back their SUV’s up or are easily distracted by the site/sound of another “hoverer.”

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  7. Boy that’s annoying when Akismet keeps catching you, Chris! Does your message just disappear after posting or do you get a message notifying you the message is being held or something?
    I find those buyout offers kind of strange. There’s money to make you go away but not enough money to keep you employed? Sad. It makes me think if they tried harder they could keep everyone.
    You’re right, Chris. We need to always be flexible in our work experience and ethic and I suggested in “Death of the Old Life” a year ago:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/05/30/death-of-the-old-life/

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  8. Hi David,
    When I hit submit, it disappears if Askimet gets it. If it is in moderation, the post is listed, but there’s a tag noting that the comment is being held for moderation.
    The buyout can be a blessing in some ways if someone gets enough money to pay off their mortgage and/or debt. Once you get rid of the pressing matters that force you to work someplace, then you can focus on other opportunities — maybe start a business or new career.

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  9. Where in the world are you located, Cryptic? I wonder if this is a regional phenomenon or a national one?

    Yelling to slow down, intentionally getting in the way if they can, and even holding lengthy conversations in the middle of the parking lot.

    Why are they yelling?
    Why are they getting in your way?
    What is the purpose of a lengthy conversation that affects other people?

    Go ahead and honk and see what 6 over-weight middle aged housewives can do to a vehicle. They’re like a school of lamprey eel’s slithering around each other waiting for a reason to attack. Maybe it’s a self-gratifying sense of power or control.

    Why do they think they can touch your vehicle?
    What do you think they need to attack?
    Control over what? You? That gives them five seconds of satisfaction?

    Whatever it is; these are the people who are most dangerous. Due to their “courtship rituals” in the school yard, they tend to be the ones who don’t look when they back their SUV’s up or are easily distracted by the site/sound of another “hoverer.”

    I don’t understand “courtship rituals.” Who is getting courted and why?
    I am really having a hard time getting this behavior into my head. I can’t imagine these artificial plays for power would be tolerated in NYC. The “moms” would be yelled down and attacked back!

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  10. From the Detroit Free Press:

    Cathleen Gross is counting up the cost of quitting her hourly job on Ford Motor Co.’s assembly line in Saline. At night, the 30-year-old mother of five crunches the numbers with her husband to see if they could afford to accept the company’s buyout.
    This isn’t the life she planned. The petite woman with soft hands who screws in parts on instrument panels and dashboard consoles for a living, was supposed to have finished college already and now be earning more money doing something more rewarding, such as assisting patients in a hospital.
    “I don’t like this type of work, never have,” Gross said. “But it pays the bills.”
    Ford, in an effort to shed more workers like Gross, is offering 5,000 hourly workers up to $15,000 a year in college tuition in exchange for leaving the company. Ford says that 1,500 already have accepted buyouts.

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  11. So Chris, the 15g buyout is ONLY for tuition? Workers can’t take the money and run?
    After reading your link it looks like there are 3-5 buyout plans and some are having a hard time between deciding between taking the tuition deal or taking a flat 100g.
    15,000 x 4 years = 60,000 — Ford wouldn’t pay more than that for a tuition buyout would they?
    Why wouldn’t everyone just take the 100,000 offer and then pay your own way in school and have 40,000 left when you’re done?

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  12. “Helicopter parents” ……………. shudder
    Sadly an all to common phenomenon here in the UK as well. Very much the *in crowd* the social clique – and they are breeding and training another generation as well.
    I worked tooth and nail to provide my kids with a decent education – this meant fee paying education. One of the downsides of this was having to deal with these parents and unfortunately their parents as well.
    I think this ties in with your recent post and discussion on *child beauty pagents* and the whole sense of people living their lives through their children.

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  13. Hi David,
    If it was me, I’d take the $100K, pay-off the house and credit cards (I hope the balances aren’t too high). That would allow someone to work a transitional job while going back to school or looking for a new job without worrying about paying for housing.
    This is a little off-topic, but I’m going to incorporate it right into the helicopter parent discussion! 🙂
    The people in this Smirnoff advertisement that has been getting a lot of attention on the net remind me of the kind of people who would be the worst helicopter parents.
    From CBS News:

    “I first saw the video this morning and laughed out loud,” Virginia writes at Brains on Fire. “I went to school in the northeast and recognized the archetypes from the video from there. I’m laughing because Smirnoff nailed it.”

    If the “tea party” folks weren’t so laid back from their fifths of vodka, they might be harassing their children’s teachers and fellow classmates’ parents.

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  14. Heya Nicola!
    Thanks for the view from your corner of the world. I guess there’s no way to avoid the boors of entitlement.
    I don’t have much tolerance for those sorts. Bother other people with your pretend importance but me leave out of your drama. I’m not interested!

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  15. Hi David,
    I didn’t factor in the nanny once you get to a certain economic level.
    Is helicopter parenting a function of the second generation upper-middle class?
    I don’t see most middle class having the ability to afford to have a parent stay home, and poor families can’t even think about taking time away from work to hang out at their child’s school.
    Plus, it seems to me that most solidly middle class folks think their kids should struggle a little so they can learn about the real world to make them stronger, instead of spoiling them and making them weak. Their kids do their own homework and the parents might check it, but they’d never think of doing their kid’s homework so the kid could be lazy.

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  16. What a coincidence!
    We were talking about ‘accountability in education’ in the class last evening when this discussion came up about “helicopter parents”.
    The first time I heard this term in an e mail from one of my friend a couple months back; he forwarded me the following links:
    http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/workfamily/20050729-workfamily.html
    http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/workfamily/20050826-workfamily.html
    I think my friend was a bit alarmed/panicked about someone asking for help/protection from him but later in course of conversation he mentioned that if his kids didn’t get back home by 8:00 pm (or something similar) he would call 911 and initiate a full fledged search.
    I was a bit baffled by the contradiction.
    In my opinion, “helicopter parents” have nothing better to do/achieve in life and “protecting their children” is their full time job. There is a difference between “helping” and “being a crutch” – people need to understand this.
    I have seen a lot of “helicopter parents”, sometimes even whined why I didn’t have one – but in the end I am happy that I learned to stand on my own feet! 😀

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  17. I agree with Nicola. At my daughter’s school, you were either with in “in” crowd, or not at all. What made me angry was the fact that said parents kid took my daughter under their wing and looked after her (because of her hearing disability) but those parents looked down their noses at both of us.
    One woman learned to keep her mouth shut after I overheard her muttering comments about me and my daughter to her friends. She never bothered me again after I turned round and unleashed a scathing attack on her. She and her friends were left in no doubt as to exactly what I thought of them.
    It makes me angry to see these women. Children go to school to get an education, so they can better themselves and hopefully work towards a good career – school is NOT a social gathering place for these women to stand and gossip about anything under the sun.
    They should go back to school themselves. Then they’d have a legitimate reason to stand and gossip. Maybe the reason they don’t work is because they never applied themselves in school as a child in the first place.

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  18. Well done Kathakali for saying “There is a difference between “helping” and “being a crutch” – people need to understand this.”
    Children are not accessories – they are individual human beings who we get to nurture and care for in their infancy and childhood.
    I resolved long ago that I wanted by children to be happy, independent, responsible members of society and tried to give them as many choices and options as I could to afford them that opportunity. ( Besides I have always had better things to do than spend all day gossiping! )
    Dawns idea is interesting …….. send them all back to school and see if they can cope !

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  19. Thanks for those links, Katha!
    I realize now I was bombed by a helicopter mother a couple of years ago at Rutgers.
    We were heading into the Winter Session and I was on my way home after a long day on the last day of the Fall semester when an elderly mother knocked on my office door.
    She told me her daughter attended Tufts but she needed an extra class to graduate early and she wanted me to sign a paper to get her daughter in the class. It was a standard waiver form, but not for our department, so I knew she’d come from general registration and not from our department office.
    I told her I could not allow her daughter in my class because it would hurt the other students. The acting class had a hard cap of 18 students and to add one more student hurts those who registered before the course closed. The course had been closed for over three months.
    She said, “But my daughter attends Tufts.”
    I told her I was sorry I could not help her. I knew my department would support me — because while the department leaves the final decision up to the instructor to let students in or not — when a course is closed we are strongly urged against letting anyone else in because the classes are so intimate and performance-based and the more students you have the less time you have to give to each student.
    The woman became red-faced and ran off a list of people she would send after me to force me to let her kid in my class. I told her to go ahead and try but that she would fail because the only person who can put her in my class was me and I was going home and wasn’t returning until the start of the class in two weeks.
    She left shaking the paper at me.
    Her daughter did not get into my class.

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  20. Oh, your story angers me, Dawn!
    I guess these women grab power to control and judge people because people give them that power?
    If you think about what they are doing — belittling others to give themselves false importance — you would pity then, which would shock them, but their behavior is so venal you can’t even begin to sound an ounce of sympathy for their pathetic games.
    They get their power in packs. Alone they are nothing.

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  21. Nicola —
    Your comment makes me wonder about these helicopter parents — they can’t think they’re going good in the lives of their children in helping make them strong and independent, can they?
    Or are the children only a means to an end to higher parental self-esteem?

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  22. You’re SO right David.
    “I guess these women grab power to control and judge people because people give them that power?”
    That’s it exactly! I don’t think I EVER saw anyone else ever say anything to these women at my Daughter’s school. When I’d done venting at them, I saw a few of the other moms hiding smiles behind their hands, but I was past caring. However, on the way home after the kids had gone in, another mom walked up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and asked what had happened for me to unleash like that. She said she’d never seen me so angry before.
    I told her the story, and she laughed and said “Way To Go! It’s about time they were brought down a peg or two.”
    It’s all very well to say that, but if they’re going to stand there and not open their mouths then they have no place to say that. The control these women have over others can only be eradicated if other women open their mouths and stand up for themselves and their beliefs.

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  23. Right, Dawn!
    When good people stand around and silently let the bad people insult good people like you then those good people really aren’t good at all are they?
    In fact, they’re rather bad as well because if you choose to let the bad people hurt others just because they aren’t hurting you — right now – you’re even guiltier than the bad people because you know better.

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  24. I think they are convinced that pushing their children to be “better” than others is helping their children ……….. nothing but the best (school, friends, social circles, ) . This applies to bigger cars, houses, TV’s, holidays, and of course having the “best” parents and being seen to be the best parents.
    This is what the BBC has to say on the subject.
    The Daily Mail outlines the problems ahead.
    The Times.
    I am sure there is an element of being a means to an end – I am also sure that there is an element of *designer* children.

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  25. Hi David,
    I wonder if helicopter parents both people because we let them?
    If we ignore them, they lose their power.
    I was trying to think if there was any helicopter parental units that I’ve experienced since my son started school.
    I can’t think if I’ve detected any or not, but usually I am not necessarily impressed by any particular social caste that might develop someplace.
    I saw some people who struck me as being the type at a school open house, but I steered clear of whatever they were doing and haven’t noticed them since.
    It might be a function of me not being “plugged-in” enough to pick up on it.
    I drive out of my county and state to do the bulk of my work, so I’m usually just dropping into a community for a few hours while I’m there to do my job. But, I’m also outside of my home community as well, so I end up being my own autonomous person for the most part.
    The same thing goes for home.
    I don’t really completely feel connected to the place where I live because of growing up an Army brat and moving every couple of years.
    I feel more connected because I’ve lived where I’ve lived for a relatively long time, but we attend a church in another county, I work in another town, and have friends all over the area, not just in my city. Because nothing is dependent on my city, my roots aren’t very deep.
    I could pack up and move to another city in my region and not interrupt much of my life.
    It might be a function of my work as well.
    After doing debt collection for a while, you really don’t care too much what people think. If you did, you’d get out of the business and do something else.
    I wonder what would happen if people ignored the helicopter parents? Would they go away or would their buzz increase?

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  26. Excellent link, Nicola, thanks! I’m printing out all these articles for Janna so she can know what she might need to anticipate from her students at NYU in the future.
    “Designer children!” Ha! I love it! Can the “Infant Handbag” be far behind? Or the “Toddler Tweed Tie” hanging around daddy’s neck?
    Why even allow the children continue to live into adulthood? Use their fresh skin to form your leather shoes and cape. “Today I’m wearing Jenny as at hat at three-and-a-half. Tomorrow I think I’ll wear my “Timmy Loafers’ when he was seven.”

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  27. Chris —
    My feeling is they don’t care what you think unless you directly challenge them to break up their pack-mentality power. Even if you do that — you shuck them off your back — they’ll likely stay together and begin to pick on someone else because that’s what weak people do. They combine power with each other to give the illusion of a cacophonous majority. They live to create something they cannot create on their own.

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  28. Nicola – thank you for the compliment and thank you for those excellent links! I truly believe in your point, as a parent our responsibility is to provide options to our kids not the solutions – spoon-feeding doesn’t help!
    David – I fully understand! Both of my parents are teachers, I have heard lots of stories like those. The only thing I don’t understand is what do they get in the long run?

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  29. I am sure it all starts with *babies* first trophy – Bonniest smile, first ballet shoe, Little Miss Butlins ( Holiday camps in UK) – these parents have walls and rooms devoted to their childs achievements, every cup, photograph, certificate and trophy. All of which they have to pay through the nose for of course ……….. which brings us back to commercialism and greed.

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  30. My answers are all speculative because I try not to engage these freightening creatures..
    “Where in the world are you located, Cryptic? I wonder if this is a regional phenomenon or a national one?”
    This has been my experience all over the United States.
    “Why are they yelling?”
    It’s to bring attention to themselves, which gives them a sense of control. I don’t get yelled at personally and because it’s a school yard I’m super cautious and vigilant.
    “Why are they getting in your way?”
    They’re in a rush to get back to the soap opera’s and snacks.
    “What is the purpose of a lengthy conversation that affects other people?”
    If they’re in the way, standing in the parking lot, they’re in control of the parking lot. These people also use the “I’m a pedestrian” laws in a manner that suggests- “Hit me and I’ll sue.” I have a large 4×4. If I run someone over, there will be no sueing so they tend not to stand in my way too long.
    Why do they think they can touch your vehicle?
    That was a metaphorical beating.
    What do you think they need to attack?
    They have no lives outside of parenting. I’ve been in this mindset myself and I used to get edgy and felt trapped at times.
    Control over what? You? That gives them five seconds of satisfaction?
    Apparent control is control for someone not trained in the art of control. Umm. Yea! 5 seconds of control is more than they had 6 seconds ago.
    I don’t understand “courtship rituals.” Who is getting courted and why?
    greetings, salutations, how’s YOUR Husband.. gossip.. gossip.. gossip. Did you know what so and so did in the lunch room yesterday? etc.. “(2) : to act so as to invite or provoke” not in the relationship sense.
    I am really having a hard time getting this behavior into my head. I can’t imagine these artificial plays for power would be tolerated in NYC. The “moms” would be yelled down and attacked back!
    Well, fortunately there are those like ourselves, who when confronted, choose not to engage these “rotor mouths.” But, this in turn often negatively reinforces the self-rewarding feelings that the “moms” have power and control. Like a dog barking out the window at a passer by. There was no danger, but the dog is self-rewarded by the fact the person left the area.

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  31. HA!
    Note to self: Celeberity moms have “Designer children!” AND a market oportunity for a “Infant Handbag,” and the “Toddler Tweed Tie” has presented itself.
    I claim all copyrights to David’s idea!!! hehehe
    WOW, David!
    I think you should be very careful. You sound like your on the threshhold of being converted.
    “Why even allow the children continue to live into adulthood? Use their fresh skin to form your leather shoes and cape. “Today I’m wearing Jenny as at hat at three-and-a-half. Tomorrow I think I’ll wear my “Timmy Loafers’ when he was seven.””
    Sick.. Note to self: “NuLeather Corp” 😀
    Joking of course.

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  32. Katha!
    There are helicopter parents in India? It’s an international phenomenon!
    They do it because they think the rest of the world thinks the same way about their child as they do.
    The woman with the daughter was begging me with her eyes to say, “Tell me about your daughter” so she could open the floodgates of merit badges and proclamations appointed to her offspring.
    And when I didn’t respond in any way to her “But she goes to Tufts” strong-arm tactic — which implied her daughter was smarter and better bred than my Rutgers-Newark students — I knew I didn’t want to play her game or delve into her world of codes and norms and belonging by association.

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  33. Thanks for those detailed answers, Cryptic! What lonely lives they lead! They should get some company and start a blog or something. Oh, wait! Many of them do! From helicopters to WordPress and back in a day!
    😀
    I think we should have a “Child Stitch and Sew Fashion Show” just to show there’s a little Jonathan Swift left in all of us.
    My philosophy is: if we can’t eat our children, let’s at least wear them instead!
    :mrgreen:
    http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

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  34. Indians parents are over protective David, – those who can afford to be – all of them – no questions asked.
    Probably they are the grandfather of the “helicopter parents”.
    They think it is their “sacred duty” to take care of their “adult children”. There is a fine line between preparing the kids for the real world and creating a “real world” in their own courtyard – Indian parents are famous for doing that – again, those who can afford it.

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  35. Absolutely right!
    Attimes enjoying the privilege is pretty tempting but ultimately fatal in terms of becoming a grown up, not physically but mentally.

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  36. When I was in high school the extent of my parents involvement was talking on the phone once or twice a week – this was when I was in Peddie. When I was in public school I biked to school or went with my brother and they helped me only when I asked for it.
    Same when I was in college – no helicopter parents for me. I’m relieved that this was the case.

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  37. Fortunately, I had a different life which was rare. Exception proves the rule? 😀
    You know it, but those who don’t know – I started my school-life in a residential boarding school at the age of four. So I learnt to lead my life in my own way from a very early age. Thanks to my parents, they could ingrain some ethics and values in me that helped me to take the right decisions.
    Even if I made some wrong choices, I knew how and when to correct those.
    They were there, with a tendency to hover (being influenced by other parents…? :D) but restrained themselves at the right time.
    I can ask for assistance, any day I want – in fact they always check with me if I need something – because they know I am the last person to ask for help and they know if I really do – then it’s my last resort and it’s serious.
    I am lucky enough to have some people around me who understand whether I need something – without a word – that’s a blessing!

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  38. I hate the idea of my poor Katha alone and abandoned in school at age 4. Learning is your lifelong helicopter! It hovers over you always!
    😀
    How do people know what you need without your telling them?
    Do you communicate every day with your parents? Via phone? Letters? Email?
    I know some American women — fully grown and with children — who are in touch with their mothers by phone every day. That has always seemed to me to be a bit much.

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  39. That’s a good question David! I don’t know how people can read, but they really do. Not everyone, but some of them are there – real. Very rare, though!
    Most probably because I operate the same way. I help people without asking. My in-built radar system is pretty strong – I understand. I don’t over protect, but I help.
    I communicate with my parents on a regular basis, mainly via e mail – that’s how we keep the connection alive!
    You are right about learning being my life long helicopter! Probably it will be for the rest of my life!

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  40. What’s really interesting about the article is that it seems to be even more true than ever now.
    The Peddie School has its own alumni web site where you can log in and keep in touch with fellow allumni. Why bother with classmate websites that charge fees when you can have this for free?
    As well last year they published an alumni directory which we could buy for a low low charge of $85 – with all sorts of information like (then) current address, phone number, e-mail, and web site.
    On top of all that they send a quarterly magazine that contains news about the school and has a healthy amount of space for alumni to give updates – every graduating class has two people selected to receive updates from the rest of the class and they collect it and put it together for the magazine.
    Talk about keeping track of the alumni!

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  41. I think you have a rich vein to explore in your Peddie experience, Gordon. You know many things most of society does not know. The question is: Are You Aware of What You Know and What Are You Going to Do About It?
    Columbia has the same sort of alumni “let’s be best friends forever” scam but it’s free so far. Princeton will give you a free email address for life, but I think you have to “buy” it.
    Columbia gives you an alumni email address for free. I like being wanted by my school — but I know they’re only waiting for the moment I die so they can get all the money they hope I will give them in my will.
    😀

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  42. I take back what I said about my son’s school not wanting volunteers.
    At the open house tonight, the teacher invited parents to volunteer to be “room parents.” One of the enticements to volunteer is the ability to keep an eye on your child.

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  43. My wife is interested in volunteering so she can keep an eye on our son.
    Since she’s self-employed, she can arrange her schedule. I think she’ll probably sign up to help out a couple times per month.
    I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t become a helicopter mom. 😉

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  44. Heh! David! I will be honored to be your helicopter…any day! Thank you for considering me as capable enough!
    Are you sure it’s not going to crash? 😀
    My parents don’t have a high speed internet connection back home and it takes ages to read to 2 e mails and reply…
    They know I write but asking them to post a comment is torture – 😦
    Forget about “forcing” someone to do something, that’s not my forte!

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  45. Hi Katha!
    Thank you for the protection! I have great faith you will handle your rotors in your usual magnificent way!
    You should write a piece for publication here about the differences in communication forms for you and your parents with an emphasis on the internet. It’s wonderful you have such great speed in connections here but it is sad your parents cannot equal your ability from India.

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  46. David!
    Thank you for having faith in me!
    I will surely write about the differences in communication forms here and India.
    If I was not here, I wouldn’t have met any of you in my entire life!
    Subscribing to a high speed internet connection at home would have been out of my reach. Accessing high-speed internet in cafe regularly is doable but not more than 1/ 2 hours.

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  47. Hi Katha!
    You all of us better with your thoughts and shared values, Katha. Thank you!
    Oh, good! I will look forward to your analysis of communication and cost between the USA and India. Is it is technology problem? A price problem? A people problem? A political problem?

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