Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Helicopter Parents

An interesting Washington Post article by a sociologist suggests that helicopter parenting (i.e., very hands-on parenting) is bad for children and for the middle-class parents doing it:

American parenting styles are starkly divided by class. Compared with professional, middle-class parents, parents of lower educational and professional status are more likely to impose nonnegotiable limits on their children's behavior. Rather than sitting down and watching television with their children, for example, they simply block certain channels. Rather than looking over a child's shoulder while he or she is using the computer, they rely on a software filter that prevents access to certain Internet sites.

Helicopter parenting is, to put it mildly, more time-consuming and more emotionally demanding than other parenting styles. And much of its work falls (as the work of parenting always has) on women. Since 1965, the amount of time mothers spend on all child-care activities has risen, even though the majority of mothers are now in the labor force; the increase has been particularly sharp among highly educated mothers.

Read more here.


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It doesn't seem to me that family courts should be favoring a particular style of parenting over another, when either one might be reasonable. It might be easy to simply say "more supervision = better parenting," but without a bit of nuance, taking that to its logical conclusion would result in parents following their children around 24/7 until they grow up. Nobody wants that, and nobody could seriously argue that it's good for a child.

Posted by: SmithCommaJohn | Jul 19, 2010 3:02:35 PM

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