Monday, March 20, 2006

Telling the 'rents to back off

From the Washington Post a good piece about teachers getting fed up with the "helicopter parents," the Millennial Moms and Dads who interfere too much. Blame it on the cellphone, plus the relentless overprotection and micromanaging these parents have done with kids born since 1982. You know what I'm talking about. Back off, buckos.

I have five plays to review this week and I'm now teaching the film studies class to 55 eager and energetic students, so I may not blog much until after Sunday. In the meantime, I've discovered two wonderful bloggerians to recommend. Elyse Sewell is the only girl I've seen compete on UPN's deliciously awful America's Next Top Model whose IQ exceeds her weight. In the first season she came in third and now is modeling her exceedingly bony ass off in Hong Kong, where her beautiful mug is on every billboard and public kiosk. She has a writing style full of jazz and juice. Check out her online journal. Dave White writes about film and TV for and has a new book out called Exile in Guyville. I want to be this kind of H'wood writer in my next life. Good reading at Dave White Knows.


Anonymous andrea said...

On the affluent side of things, we have helicopter parents. On the not-so-affluent side, baby daddies who disappear after the sixth month of gestation and moms who should probably be institutionalized, not parenting, leaving grandma or kids' older siblings to take up the slack. Both more prevalent in the last 20 years. Why do we keep going to extremes in this country and forget that it doesn't all average out?

9:07 AM  
Anonymous KSR said...

Thanks for the link to this article, Prof. I sent it to my sister-in-law who is a retired high school teacher and now supervises student interns about to launch themselves into the wide world of teaching.

She thanked me for providing her with the discussion topic for today's intern class (which is why I'm thanking you, in turn). Upon first reading, she realized that most of her interns ARE those pampered kids, so wondered if it would be useful. Upon second reading, she decided it would be the best thing she could do, to expose these young teachers-to-be to both sides of the story -- what their parents did on their behalf, and what their future students' parents are likely to be doing.

Sounds like a powerful psychotherapy session about to happen in a college classroom, to me ;-)


11:15 AM  
Blogger SuperHolmie said...

Thank you so much for the tip on Dave White. I had never heard of him and after reading that one AI thing, have fallen in love. His writing kind of reminds me of David Sedaris. His description of Stevie Wonder looking like a giant roast beef was a scream.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, companies seem to be giving in to these kids. A recent WSJ article (sorry, no link) noted that many companies are bringing the parents into the recruiting process. Parents are allowed to help negotiate salaries, are sent offer letters, and sometimes included in interviews. Call me crazy, but I would be mortified if my parents were involved in my job negotiations and worried about my evaluations. If I were an employer, having parents involved would also raise a red flag.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous alicia said...

i'm 23 and my parents still do my taxes. and i seriously didn't know what my dmv registration form was, so when i got it in the mail this year, i just threw it away, thinking it was nothing, and that was confused when the dmv sent me another notice saying i hadn't paid my registration. my parents had always taken care of that for me, and had never bothered to tell me that this was something you had to do.

for the most part, i'm a well adjusted person. but then things like this happen, and i realize that i know Nothing about being an adult.

the verdict: helicopter parents aren't helping at all. they're producing people like me, who apparently don't know the simple fundamentals of being a citizen with a car.

i wish i knew more about how to file my taxes, what an ira is, how to get my oil changed in my car, and a million other things, instead of always having parents doing it for me.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to get your oil changed?! How hard it can it be? Drive to the Jiffy Lube, ask for an oil change, and -- voila! -- they do it. It's harder to get them to make your chocolate-mocha-venti-frappulatte the way you want it at Starbucks than it is to get your oil changed.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous lucille said...

Alicia -- your comments are more powerful than any ranting a teacher could do. But try, for how-to instructions on many things. I like the "For Dummies" books too...

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I think there is a fine line between Helicopter Parents and supporting parents. One handicaps a kid and one supports a kid. I know my parents are very supportive of me financially but they have never ever helped me which school work, my love life, or even hygeine and safety. Call it lazy, call it intended, but I came out alright.
These kids are going to learn what a powerful tool 'rebellion' is going to be. You cannot alter the natural course of every child, which is to grow apart (even past the umbilical cord) from their parents. These people don't mean harm but they are going to seriously hender their children.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alicia - Don't roll over and let your parents do stuff for you. There are some great books out there. Google and a good reference librarian can get you started. You might also try telling your parents how you feel. There's nothing wrong with guidance, but there's a big difference between doing it for you and answering your questions.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous b said...

rant on ::

Aww what's this? Teachers getting fed up with parents taking an active supporting role in their students' education? Oh the horror! I mean all the parents do is foot the bill of $35000+ for college, but how dare they get involved!

:: rant off

Anyway, parents do these things [insurance, bills, car work, ect.] for their children because they know it's a big pain in the ass process and know how to handle these things thanks to experience and the fact that they're takin more seriously than someone younger.

For example, all it takes one angry phone call form a tuition paying dad to get anything done at a slow, inefficent, eduocratic univeristy while a student complaint would go on deaf ears. Professors know this, that's why they hate parents...

Plus, it all evens out in the end. All this 'overprotection' means is that these kids will learn painful lessons the hard way when they're on their own or will have listened and not make the same mistakes of a generation ago.

4:38 PM  
Blogger fahren said...

Get your hands on a copy of Joe Kahler's "Out On My Own... Now What?" Written for just your situation.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous lucille said...

B's comment is so bizarre. Of course a University is eduocratic. What else would it be? It's like saying the church is theocratic: um, yes. And how helpful is it for a parent to send the message "You won't get taken seriously, so move over and let me do it?" And professors don't hate parents -- I've had some lovely conversations with supportive parents who are grateful that I pushed their kid or went the extra mile, and concerned parents whose kids are struggling with drugs or having learning problems or working to contribute to their families' income. We hate the thundering dads who call the President of the university because their kid got a well-deserved C, or the whiny moms who call to tell us that their daughter is really a genius and we can't see it.

10:25 AM  
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8:48 PM  

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