Sunday, November 22, 2009

Helicopter Parenting Piece from Time

Might not appeal to all, but as a parent of two (man, that sounds wierd), I found intriguing the the cover story from the latest Time Magazine.

Written by Nancy Gibbs and titled "The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting" the feature examines the question of "how much is too much" in relation to parental involvement.

Two basic concepts the story could be boiled down to... (1) it's counterproductive for your kids to hover over them and (2) it's not healthy for you as the parent.

The idea behind letting kids figure stuff out for themselves, and fail at times, is not a new one. In fact, David Von Drehle wrote a Time cover story in November 2008 on the topic titled "The Myth About Boys" basically saying "the kids are alright." If you want to go further back, you could view Mark Twain's Huck Finn as a good example of detachment parenting appearing to work out fine. And, oh yeah, both the Von Drehle piece and Time's cover story on Twain are linked to in this blog post.

In terms of how overparenting impacts the parent themself, the Gibbs piece was likely inspired by (or at least related to) her Time commentary piece "Parenting Advice: What Moms Should Learn From Dads." The generalization contained within is that parents shouldn't be so hard on themselves... and that Dads in general seem to do a better job of this than do Moms.

Some interesting "additional reading" stuff from the Gibbs cover story would be on Lenore Skenazy... the Ivy League educated New York mom who let her 9 year old son ride the subway alone (and has now built quite the writing and speaking industry around that)... and parenting websites such as (with the heading "celebrating the imperfect journey of parenting).

It's not mentioned in the Gibbs story, but also of interest would be the wave of wilderness exploration programs for kids.


Also from this issue of Time was this short piece on the most excellent website which apparently now has a mobile app.