Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm SO Using This New Name!

Helicopter Parents!

I thought this Newsweek article was really interesting, considering the debate we all enjoyed about sleepovers recently.


WendyJanelle said...

I hope that means you're in the "safe camp." I don't want to start this over again...(especially with the whole sleepover thing,) but the SUBWAY alone to Manhattan is INSANE. Stupid, irresponsible. It's called "parents being so selfish and self-absorbed that everything BUT the kids must come first." Who has time to watch and make sure they're safe? This camp of people believes that children are merely little adults, not children at all, and they just need independence not nurturing and protection. WRONG. God gave us a job as parents and we will be held accountable for how we do that job.
Speech over.
And, girl, I think you like to get people up on soap boxes. Heh.

WendyJanelle said...

PS1 You can now call me Helicopter mom.

PS2 I like your shelfari!

Alice said...

I missed out on the sleepover debate. I guess that was before I knew you! My friend and I have been using the terms "hover mom" and "helicopter parent" for ages. I gotta say I'm with Wendy on this one. There is a difference between scheduling your kids to death or not letting them breathe or find independence and doing your best to ensure their safety.

For example, I let my girls play outside in the backyard by themselves as long as I can see them from somewhere inside the house. They're not allowed to go to the front yard by themselves. Too many kids have been taken from their own front yards. the heartbreaking news story I read last year about the 4-year-old boy sitting on his front steps waiting for the church van to pick him up when somebody else picked him up, and his body was found weeks later.

Now I'll get off my soapbox. But that NY mom sounds like she's trying to prove some bizarre point. At the expense of her kids.

XXOO from...another Helicopter Mom

Ann-Marie said...

Actually, I'm not in either camp.

Since I don't have kids, I can't speak from a specific platform on this one. I just find the differences in parenting (albeit extreme, in this case) interesting to examine and discuss.

My parents were very open with my childhood, and I was definitely a free-range kid. We (the neighborhood kids) rode our bikes to the store, library, and abandoned railroad tracks all the time. We'd play at each other's houses, hopping fences from backyard to backyard, and our moms would just holler out the door when it was time to come in - or sometimes come looking for us. I lived in a mostly urban/city neighborhood, but I always felt safe. Also, I was rarely alone, as we had a whole gaggle of neighborhood kids my age. I don’t think Mom and Dad were irresponsible parents, however. But, that's just my own experience twenty years ago.

I can’t claim either bias, just to say I think both sides have pros and cons. I'm glad you guys have opinions - the more viewpoints the better!

Ann-Marie said...

Wendy - I love my new shefari! Just guess who I stole it from!

Alice said...

Ann-Marie, I grew up the way you did. We walked to school 8 blocks by ourselves every day; we rode our bikes to the park district over a mile away; we walked to the nearby grocery store, the library, whatever. No big deal. (I did live in a very "safe" town though.) I definitely think times are different now. The world is gradually getting worse.

Another example--I don't ever remember worrying about pit bulls when I was kid. I never even heard of them. Now I know at least two people who live near us who have them. So, another reason I wouldn't let my daughters wander around by themselves...

It is a delicate balance though--doing your job as a parent, yet not living in fear. I live too much in fear too much of the time. I'm working on that!

Alice said...

Oh, one more thing (hey, let's drive up the comments in your thread!)--while I do believe the world is getting worse (that's even biblical!) I also think that parental fears are due somewhat to the media saturation. Our parents pretty much had the newspaper, the TV news at night, and the radio. Now we can get every single news item from anywhere in the world to scare us with--every snatched kid, every mauled baby, every molested child, you name it. It's like a tsunami of horrible news.

Heidi said...

I don't know if I would fit in either camp. I don't let my kids play in the front yard if I am not out there, but they can play in the fenced back yard to their hearts content. I wouldn't have a problem with sleepovers (dont' worry, I am not going there again) as long as I knew the parent really well and we were good friends, have been in their house, know they don't smoke, do illicit drugs, drink, etc... .
You have to realize that God is in control of all things and He will protect them if you can't. You have to be willing to let them go if need be. I hope I can practice what I am preaching when the time comes for me to have to do that.
I rode the transit bus from school which included two transfers when I was about in 4th grade to the time that I could start driving to school (17). Granted there were kids that I knew who did the same, but that last transfer, I was all by myself. I then had to walk the 5 blocks or so home. I was taught to always be observant to what was going on around me and that survives with me today.
So many kids of today are so into their ipods, texting, cell phones, playing games as they walk, that they have no idea what is going on around them.
My kids are only 4 and 1, so I haven't even come to that point where I have to decide about their transportation.
I believe that parents have to be smart in what they have their kids do and not get them to involved where transportation is an issue; but also, I believe that parents should teach their kids street smarts and to be observant to the world around them so if they are in those situations, they know what to do.