Saturday, January 9, 2010

If you no longer have a curfew, you should pay for your own goddamn car insurance

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. When I was flying back to Albany for Thanksgiving, I picked up a Time magazine with this on the cover.

“Helicopter parents,” is a term coined for the mommies and daddies who hover over their precious angels, infantilizing them through college and beyond. Parents protesting exam grades with their kids’ college professors? Employers like Ernst & Young creating “parent packs” for recruits to give Mom and Dad, since they were involved in negotiating salary and benefits?

Are you shitting me?

This is a topic that’s made me want to puke for quite some time, and if the thought of people turning parenting into a form of product development makes you, too, roll your eyes clear back to your cerebellum, you have to read the article.

Not only are these nut cases obsessed with their kids’ success, they’re also off the wall about their safety. Strollers needing a warning label that says “Remove Child Before Folding”? Seriously?

The article also references a product that prompts me to suppress a horribly inappropriate joke: baby knee pads.

“Designed for the ultimate protection… because crawling on rough surfaces can be hard on baby’s knees…”

God help us, now I’ve seen everything. My parents were from the “You want something to cry about? I’ll give you something to cry about!” school of parenting, but I can’t imagine even they would make us crawl around on gritty concrete or broken glass.

The article also states that the percentage of kids walking or biking to school dropped from 41% in 1969 to 13% in 2001. (No wonder why kids are so goddamn fat these days.) And don’t tell me it’s much more dangerous now than when I was a 12-year-old back in ’69—kidnappers weren’t just invented in the 90s. Let children walk to school and to the store by themselves, for Christsake; it’s more dangerous to let them visit relatives since 80% of kids who are molested are victims of friends or family.

What is this world coming to, people? Who’s gonna be tough enough to protect our country and fight the wars if from day one we’re encasing our kids in bubble wrap? How will young people ever learn responsibility when their parents are paying for their cell phones into their 20s?

What do you think? Are we raising a nation of pussies or am I just sounding like an old bat?


classicrockforthesoul said...

Spot on, Linda!

My cousin, who is turning 32 this month, STILL lives off of her mom & dad's dollar.
They live in Houston, she moved off to NYC to pursue her art career.
They pay for EVERYTHING right down to the sheets on her bed and the food in her pantry.
I don't think my cousin has ever had to really work a day in her life.

It's really sad how parenting has changed. Kids don't respect their parents anymore, and parents probably don't spend enough time with their children (at least not as much as they used to).

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I should tell everyone that Classic Rock Girl, author of the comment above, is all of 19 years old.

Kudos to your parents, sweetie--they did a fine job with you!

Courtney said...

I truly feel blessed that you and Dad never spoiled us. You never gave us everything we wanted when we wanted it. Material objects were not given to us to show your love. THANK GOD!

As an "adult" I am able to appreciate the simple things in life. I have everything I NEED. A perfect husband, two loving parents, an adorable son, a baby cooking inside of my belly, a roof over my head, food to keep me full, a cute wardrobe purchased mainly from consignment shops and many other simple things. I am 30 years old and just bought my first computer. We bought the computer with the thanks of your generous contribution! - GREAT wedding gift! I look at that as a total treat and not an expectation! I don't need a blackberry, I don't need a big-ass television, I don't need designer clothes, I don't need the latest and greatest gadgets. I believe I have this simple living mind set because of you and dad. I don't think ANYTHING can compare! Material is material. Unconditional love and hard work is another. THANK YOU for teaching me that!

Kids/teens these days are spoiled ROTTEN and it makes me want to puke too. Kids are not appreciative of anything. They just expect to get what they want. The youth these days are not able to appreciate simple pleasures and that is sad. It's all about material.

I am lucky enough to pass on the values of life you have taught me to my children. The best gift - EVER!

I LOVE YOU!!!!! (and I don't just say that when I want something! I mean it!) xoxo.

p.s. - I WANT ANNIE SHOES!!! haha.

Fragrant Liar said...

Pussies. But I WOULD like those knee pads.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Ha--I'll never forget the day I threw Courtney under my arm and carried her out of the mall kicking and screaming, "I want Annie shoes!" (the patent leather Mary Janes Annie wore in the movie of the same name). She'll never live that down!

I love you, too, Court! XOXO

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Fragrant Liar: Of course you'd like those knee pads!

dle said...

If you think you sound like an old bat, we should start a chorus .I am so tired of getting phone calls each day from parents who cannot or will not control their children. If they had parented them in the first place we wouldn't have a generation of children who think they are owed something. I too had parents who used the line "you want something to cry about?" Ours was a military household and trust me, we learned responsibility!

Hurricane Mikey said...

Nation of Pussies, definitely. I see it every day--these punk ass kids who've never taken a beating in their life who desperately need one.

Seriously, there should be some sort of service you could call to arrange ass-kickings for people who have bad manners and never got set straight by their coddling parents.

A few good beat-downs and they'll figure out how life works.

Also, I saw the writing on the wall with bicycle helmets. Seriously, if you wore a bicycle helmet when I was a kid, it was only because you were a retard.

gayle said...

I agree agree with you once again!! I am so sick of parents babying their kids!! The latest thing is now they are putting labels on their kids like ...oh they have this......or that...when they really should just say ...I have raised a spoiled brat and now I don't know what to do!! said...

I couldn't have said it better, Linda. And you know what? We all wore those God awful, ugly white Stride Rite walking shoes when we were toddlers and there was no one making the kid feel bad that he didn't have on a pair of Nikes.

We got banged up, scratched up and we got a band-aid and went back outside to play.

Girl, don't let me get on my soap box! LOL

Julie D said...

When my son was 15 1/2 and got his permit, a week later I went out of town for a weekend and left him home alone. On Sunday afternoon he got the brilliant idea to take my car to the Taco Bell drive thru ONE BLOCK from home. To his horror, my best friend happened to pull into the drive thru behind him. BUSTED big time. He had saved money to buy himself a car and when I got home I took him to get the car....and promptly took his permit away until he turned 16 five months later. Meanwhile his car that he paid for sat in the garage, undriven. It was a hard painful lesson for him but the message was clear...break the rules about driving and pay a hefty price. He never screwed up again.

He's had to pay for his own gas and car insurance from day one. I do pay for his cell phone because frankly it's my lifeline to him and I have no problems doing so. When he moves out, the cell phone bill is his. But while he's living at home, I will take care of it.

I have always taught him independence and responsibility. Parents who don't will face a lifetime of bailing their kids out.

I Hate to Weight said...

i'm still troubled by the baby knee pads.

helicopter parents are truly annoying people -- every spend time with them? or get stuck with them at a party. get a life guys!

i will say this though. i was raised permissively and my mother babied and coddled me, and i do have a very hard time standing on my own two feet as an adult. on the other hand, my boyfriend was raised the good old fashioned militaristic way, with lots of "i'll give you something to cry about." his parents and the nuns gave him lots to cry about, but of course, he wouldn't cry.

he's a pretty angry person these days. (of course, he's wonderful and open to working on stuff.)

i guess there's a middle ground somewhere. but truly, helicopter parents are creepy.

Perplexio said...

I've heard of schools where the teachers are encouraged to NOT use red ink because it causes emotional distress in children... Gimme a flippin' break!

My mother and mother-in-law have both mentioned that when my wife & I were babies (respectively) the conventional wisdom was to let us sleep on our stomachs. Now we're told as parents with our daughter to have her sleep on her back. We were out of car seats at age 4. Now kids are supposed to be in car seats until they're a certain height and weight (which most children don't reach until about age 8).

I'm a big fan of hockey and one of my least favorite players (thank God he's retired!) was Eric Lindros. His father was his agent. Talk about a coddled overgrown crybaby!

I understand parents want what's best for their kids. Heck, I am a parent now so I'm really starting to get that. But I also tend to believe that experience is the best teacher. I believe that the best way to teach my daughter is to introduce her to as many positive life experiences as possible so she can be the best judge of the differences between her own positive and negative life experiences. Life isn't always fair and you can't always get what you want... the sooner she learns that the better adjusted she'll be.

As for helicopter parents... I don't mind them because when my daughter is competing for jobs in the work force with their kids... she'll be much better adjusted and I believe much more attractive to potential employers as a result.

Tara said...

Well, here I am late to the party as usual.....

I struggle through all this on a daily basis with my kids. Them being 13 and 12, they constantly tell me about all the things other kids parents do for them and buy for their kids. I can't stand it. My kids WILL NOT be the 30 year old living in my basement.

I grew up in a house where once you hit about 11, you were pretty much on your own. Not in the sense that I had a parent that let me walk all over her, but she worked ALL the time so we could have a roof over our heads. If I wanted clean clothes, something to eat or anything else, I did it for myself. I can't imagine being let out into the real world without these skills.

My kids do their own laundry, though I do help them out with switching stuff over and all of that. They're plenty capable of getting themselves something to eat, and many times when I'm cooking, they'll take an interest in what I'm doing and help out.

I have friends with kids that are my kids age who ask their parents to get them a drink. I would probably smack one of my kids if they asked me to get them something when their little legs can carry them out to the kitchen to get it themselves. When they're sick and need a little TLC, yeah, I'll be a doting mama, but they need to learn about these things and about how harsh this world really can be, without going over the line.

And P.S. they walk both to and from school every day.....

The Vegas Flea said...

Good freakin' lord, I don't even know where to begin. Actually, I don't have to, you've summed up my exact feelings quite nicely.

And, the response from Hurricane Mikey is spot on! Especially the bike helmet shit. It was exactly the same way when I was growing up.

Anonymous said...

Ok fellow readers - there has to be a happy medium right? I agree with 99% of what was said with a few exceptions.
My kids (10 and 7) walk to the bus stop at 7:15am (DARK DARK DARK.) They do not ride the bike to school or walk because while it is just over a mile, there are no sidewalks.
My kids always buckle up in the car - when they were smaller, if it required a booster seat to fit properly then we used it. They wear a helmet when they ride their bike. Keeping a kid safe is not the same as coddling them.
I completely agree that kids should be taught responsibility, but I would never put their life at risk to do so.
Does that make me a helicopter Mom? If so I will wear the title with pride.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Julie, you're absolutely right--I forgot that up in Idaho it doesn't get bright out until 8 a.m. Probably later in the winter, right? Yeah, keeping kids safe is one thing, but knee pads on babies is just nuts!

Bar L. said...

You're damn right. SOME things are common sense safety (carseats and those plastic things that keep your 2 year old from drinking Clorox like my bro did - I was four and will never forget him puking all over the place, he's fine today, just a bit cranky).

Anyhow, I agree. I remember my friend freaking out when I let Keven drop something on the floor and then put it in his mouth. My mom always taught me dirt and germs made a kid healthy, and he's always been healthy kid (physically!)