How Love was Defeated in THE PARENTING WARS

  • Wealth and a perception of child endangerment have made parenting tougher
  • By now, most people are aware of the concept of `helicopter parenting.'
  • It's a phenomenon on display at every middle and upper class school, where parents whisk their children off to some special class or activity to give their kids that edge for one competitive exam or another.
  • The rise of the helicopter was the product of two social shifts.
  • The first was the comparatively booming economy of the 1990s, with low unemployment and higher disposable income.
  • The second was the public perception of increased child endangerment.
  • No parent wants to be accused of pampering
  • But the thought that one's child may be left behind in the race for college admissions or highsalary jobs as a result of something the parent could have done, places a tremendous amount of pressure on parents.
  • This is only possible for those who can afford it, but it has made the practices of a wealthy elite the norm that society has to aspire to.
  • That most Americans never lived this way was irrelevant.
  • It was clear, given the high-earning, high-achieving progeny of the new winners, that they should.
  • As a result, the average parent ­ the one who cannot send her children to the `good' schools and may have to leave kids unattended to earn a living that cannot support increasingly more expensive child-care ­ has become an outcast.
  • It's no longer enough to love one's children ;­one has to `provide' for them.
  • The sidelining of `love' is one of the cruellest legacies of helicopter parenting.