Society, the Helicopter Parent, and the big Failure

There are two articles that I’ve read lately that have me satisfied.  The first, Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD, discusses child rearing in France.  The second, Declining Student Resilience, addresses college students’ coping with everyday life.

When growing up, I remember a friend having a tendency to get into trouble.  From outward appearances, she was a good kid.   What always trouble me was the day her parents put her in a facility.  Like most kids in the 80s/90s, there was the prospect of being sent off to be fixed.  They were put in facilities like this if the parents had the means. Instead of good parenting, the quick fix was the chosen method.

She spent a few months there and upon her release, her parents had gathered all of us together to meet with her.  She seemed very careful with her words and deliberate in her actions.  The parents guided the discussion and laid down the rules.  We didn’t know what to say to each other because the parents were there.  It was extremely uncomfortable.  Perhaps the worst part was when her mother asked ‘so, how do you like the new Sherry?’  We all looked at each other and her good friend spoke up saying something the parents were looking to hear.

Knowing her back then, I knew there was nothing ‘new’ about her.  Even as young as I was, it was clear to me she wasn’t getting any framework or boundaries from her family.  Both parents worked; her father worked a job and owned a business.  Instead of addressing the family as a whole, the easy way out was committing her.

Now, kids have the opposite problem.  About twenty years after this fact, parents have swung in the other direction.  We have a new set of problems.  In some respects, we have the helicopter parent, the nightmare of HR departments around the country.  And, in some we have the enablers.  Each of these are causing their own issues.

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