20 August 2009


I've been reading a lot about "helicopter parenting" and other modern phenomena where parents are over present and over cautious (see FreeRangeKids).

But the term "helicopter" is bothering me. My understanding is that it is used to refer to the parent who hovers over their children; constantly intervening, assisting, fussing and so on. The only trip I have ever taken in a helicopter was a quick fly by tourist trip over some gorges. It did not include any detailed involvement with the amazing natural surroundings. It didn't include a chance to get to know the area in detail. It didn't include even touching the ground. So what does that say about the helicopter parent? Are they disengaged? Are they parenting from a distance?

Then there's the other sort of helicopter ride. On outback cattle properties in Australia, helicopters are often used for the yearly muster. You just fly round and hustle the cattle back to the yards to sort, check, treat and sell some off. What does that say about helicopter parents??

Aside from that, my boys would be absolutely delighted if they thought I was being referred to as ANY sort of vehicle! Perhaps we have chosen the wrong term for this strange evolution in parenting technique. Ah semantics.

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