Sand in the Gears

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Marionette parenting

January 6th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there’s a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., “helicopter parenting“). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, hovering about their children’s lives. That’s their bloody job, after all — to supervise, counsel, protect. You can’t do that from a beach a hundred miles from the action. You have to be in that helicopter. But you shouldn’t be pulling strings to make your children jump to satisfy your every hope and whim, whisking them away from every sign of trouble, hurling them into every situation that you think is a good opportunity for them, regardless of their wants. Helicopters aren’t the problem, marionette strings are. Pass it on.

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