I was horrified to read that an annual Easter egg hunt in Colorado Springs has been canceled this year. Was it because the kiddies misbehaved? Was there some egg-throwing that got out of hand? Well, not exactly. Apparently, it's the parents whose behavior was out of hand.
"Too many parents determined to see their children get an egg jumped a rope marking the boundaries of the children-only hunt at Bancroft Park last year. The hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of eggless tots and the rules-abiding parents.
Recently, the news has been filled with stories of "helicopter parents" - those parents who hover above their children and are a tad, shall we say, "overinvolved" in their kids' lives. Those are the parents who demand that teachers recognize how special their child is. (Aren't all children special?) They argue with teachers if their child doesn't get the high grade they'd hoped for and make such a habit of speaking for their children that their children may get tongue-tied when expected to speak for themselves.
Actually, the children sometimes become so unable to do anything for themselves that Mommy or Daddy may end up doing the homework, the science project, and even write college papers! Happily, I haven't seen that at Granite State College, but I know it happens.
What I do wish is that these clueless parents would take a course in Child Psychology. (We have them at Granite State College - both in the classroom and online...that's my plug for our wonderful college.) Often, at the end of that course, my students say they wish their parents had had a course like that, and they might have been raised differently! Many of our students are adult learners and people who have returned to school for a college degree. But we do have a philosophy that the ideal target audience is a "lifelong learner." So that should include everyone!
It's easy to express dismay over how "different things are now." One thing that does give some strength to that argument is that parents are having fewer children than ever before. Might that make a difference in how involved parents are? Parents may have more time to be involved in their childrens' lives. But there's another factor to consider: Both parents are likely to be working now, so that cuts down on how much time both parents have to devote to "helicoptering" their children's lives.
These are the interesting kinds of things you can learn in a course on Child Growth and Development or Human Development at Granite State College.