Now that the first wave of helicopter parented kids has reached college and been put under a social science microscope and found to be not exactly world beating, it makes sense that the pendulum of parenting theory might swing back toward something a little less … intense. But everything that’s old is new again, because the idea that maybe you shouldn’t be thinking of your kid as a mini CEO-in-training has actually been around for a while.
In a recent piece on Psychology Today, Dr. Peter Gray resurfaces a 1987 book called A Good Enough Parent, by a child psychologist named Bruno Bettelheim and highlights a few things that might hit a little close to home for today’s parents: “Good enough” parents don’t think of themselves as the “producers, creators, or shapers” of their kid. Your only job as a parent is to get to know the kid and make sure their childhood is as satisfying and happy as possible. Rather than scheduling your kid into a 60-hour work week in hopes of a Harvard-bound college track, let the kid’s future belong to the kid. Provide guidance and abandoned any concept of perfection because, news flash, you ain’t perfect and you turned out ok, right?
Then again, maybe you’ve already gotten this memo, since apparently 92 percent of millennial parents think they’re doing a better job than their (presumably helicopter pilot) parents. Now, everyone just has to sit back for 15 years until the next generation hits college and can be dissected by the next generation of social scientists (who, presumably, were raised by helicopter parents. That should be interesting).