Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Operation OVERBEAR

Parental-unit Air assault
The phenomenon of "helicopter parenting" is well-known - parents who, rather than empowering their children to make decisions and become functioning adults, make sure that Junior never struggles with or fails at anything.  Ever.  One of the most severe problems with this parenting philosophy is the un(?)intended consequence of grown children who simply cannot function as adults; who are dependent on Mommy and Daddy fixing all the boo-boos of the mess we call real life.

One of the great things about Scouting is that it's stated goals are to give kids the skills they need to be functioning adults.  Unfortunately, that message often gets lost in the patch-race:  Mommy and Daddy make sure that Junior gets all his badges; Junior doesn't really have to do anything.  Boxes checked, mission accomplished.

This morning's Deseret News has a really good article about this very real problem.  It describes helicopter parenting as having a "... contradictory nature: It features 'high levels of warmth and support, as well as excessive limiting of autonomy that is not at all consistent with the age of the child.'"  In other words, smothering a teenager, or young adult, with the same kind of praise, attention and hand-holding normally given to the accomplishments of a toddler, or a ten-year old.

So, what about it?  Do you know a Blackhawk or two who could benefit from reading this?  How would you broach the subject? Is it even our place? Why, or why not, and under what circumstances?

It is an axiom of Scouting that we "never do for a boy what he can do for himself, and a Scout can do anything."  To paraphrase William "Green Bar Bill" Hilcourt, Train 'em, Trust 'em, Let 'em go.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Related Link: FreeRangeKids as mentioned on the Scoutmaster Podcast

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