Thursday, August 7, 2008

Helicopter parenting

I found this story in the Flint Journal to be interesting, but not surprising.

It's about summer camps and how counselors have to spend a lot of time these days preparing certain people for camp - that would be the parents of the campers.

"The time and energy camp directors put into preparing parents for camp is now equal to the time they prepare children for camp," says Peg Smith, head of the American Camp Association, which works with about 2,600 camps nationwide.

In the old days of my youth, I think parents saw their kids going off to camp as time they could spend together, which I gather becomes in short supply once you starting having children.

John Carlson, executive director of Camp Copneconic, said he frequently receives phone calls from parents who want to find out how their children are faring at camp. Parents can pay for the opportunity to e-mail their children and view pictures of them engaging in activities on a Web site offered by the camp, he said.

It's called "kid-sickness." According to the story, it's a condition of today's "more involved style of parenting," which is being exacerbated by the ability of parents to be in constant contact with their children via cellphone, email, etc. And the fact that parents perceive the world to be a more dangerous place.

I don't know about that last one. When I was growing up, the national news was 15 minutes, and I don't think the local news was any longer.

Nevertheless, all this kind of stuff that happens today happened then.

And I can't help but notice, that whereas all the children on our road in Clio, MI, had to walk up to a mile to catch a bus as soon as they were out of elementary school, I don't see that many kids here walking to school, at least not alone.

And also whereas, there is a large body of relatively safe water within easy walking distance from my place of residence, you rarely see neighborhood kids out there without one or both parents.

Not to mention my favorite part of increased parental involvement, the play date.

I don't see all this parental hovering leading to independent children, which goes back to people showing up for a job interview with Mommy in tow.

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