Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher had a long yet very interesting piece in the paper this weekend about the battle between helicopter parents, toxic parents, and the teenagers caught in the middle. Toxic parents get shunned for allowing their kids to be bad influences, and helicopter parents irritate everybody by asking too many questions. And they all are pointing fingers blaming each other when little Johnny goes astray.
I suspect homeschoolers, given our willingness to take control of the education question, probably tend more to the helicopter side of the equation. It’s a tough balancing act. On one hand, if you parent by fear, your kid will never ever call you for a ride home if he or she is out somewhere drunk. On the other hand, if you aim to be the cool parent, your kid may need that ride home every weekend. Neither situation is healthy.
What some parents don’t get, several kids said, is that “nobody cares if the parents are cool.” What they do crave is parents who act like parents.
The baby boomers take a lot of heat for permissive parenting due to their alleged fear of being hypocrites. After all, most of them smoked, drank, and screwed their way through high school, and most survived to be responsible adults. I wonder how Generation X, whose kids are just approaching the teen years, will be different? We grew up with exploding divorce rates, AIDS, and a whole slew of issues that the boomers never had to deal with.
From my admittedly small sample group of college friends, it seems like we are trending less permissive than our parents. Certainly, my children will suffer extreme consequences if either one of them behaves like I did in high school.
What say you?