NEW AND IMPROVED

This blog is now sugar FREE, fat FREE, gluten FREE, all ORGANIC and all NATURAL!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Helicopter Parenting


Helicopter Parenting

Well the big storm is gone and it left a couple of feet of snow in its wake.   The news on TV was loaded with pictures of kids sledding in the aftermath.  The hills were crowded with kids with at least one parent per child.

This started some talking-head conversations on how, back in the day, after a big snow all the kids would trudge to the closest hill and fly down on sleds and saucers unsupervised.  The question was raised, “Would you let your children sled alone today.”

So I started thinking about “back in the day.”  Yes I did go sledding without parental supervision.  We were not, however unsupervised.  In my neighborhood there were about 100 kids of various ages.  I only saw about 10 of these kids on a regular basis, but on a snow day hundreds came out of the woodwork.  The hill was either on a golf course, or before it was sanded, the street hill down the block.

Supervision for little kids was taken over by older brothers and sisters.  There may have been a parent or two watching, but mostly it was older brothers and sisters.  The older brothers and sisters had to answer to their parents, and if anyone got hurt doing something stupid there would be hell to pay. 

I do not remember anyone ever getting seriously hurt.

So yeah, for the most part we sledded unsupervised by parents, but our older children “back in the day” were more responsible.  When many families had four, five, six and even more children parents did not watch over them like hawks.  There were few “Helicopter” parents, because it was simply impossible.  Instead of helicopter parents, older siblings learned responsibility and we had helicopter brothers and sisters.

Little kids learned responsibility from the older teens.  If little brother was being bullied, big brother dealt with it quickly.  If anyone did get hurt, a brother or neighbor would race home to get help.

Most families today have one or two children both within a few years of each other.  Older neighborhood kids have been taught to leave the younger kids alone and neighborhood kids are not as prolific.  The helicopter parents we hear about today are watching their under teen children for a simple reason, there is no one else willing to watch them.

Yes, back in the day we raced to the hill with our sleds and saucers without parents following, but it was not because we were crazy, or parents didn’t care, or kids today are coddled.  We raced to the hill on our own because in those old neighborhoods children were never alone.  There were siblings and other older kids who were taught responsibility and who were instructed to “Keep an eye on your brother, and the Swartz kids down the block.”

Back in the day, mom and dad did not tag along, but we were not unsupervised, and when you heard your dinner bell ring (and every child knew the sound of their own parent’s bell) you went running home.

15 comments:

  1. It's a good point Joe and I think you are probably right. Certainly when I was growing up we were out all day every day and our parents didn't worry (but then, there were 4 of us!). But I do think that parents worry more these days (I know I did/do) because of the availability of information on social media. When I was young you would only hear about local problems so instances where there were problems were few and far between. These days everything that happens everywhere is reported in great detail so it feels like the world is a more dangerous place. Our instinct to protect our children is almost in overdrive these days which is a huge shame and it sometimes means their freedom is restricted. I don't think parents have change at all just the world we live in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. rather sad summation, but probably all true.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There were "big kids" who helped us and "big kids" to avoid. In our turn we became the "big" kids". On days of mass fun, though, there generally was a parent or two out watching. I think they just enjoyed the general fun.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was indeed a different time. Less hectic. Technology wasn't even a word back then. We went outside to do whatever we wanted to do. I so remember. Parents were not around as much. It was indeed an older brother or sister who watched out not only their siblings but often other kids in the neighborhood.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was seldom supervised by parents growing up. We were sent outside and told to amuse ourselves or a chore would be found for us to do. I only saw snow twice in my childhood and it only stuck once.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I try to recreate my own carefree childhood and my children's by allowing my Grandchildren some freedom to roam and play. The rule is not to go off the property alone. That way, if someone is in trouble, another can run for help. Also, they tell me where they're headed, and it's usually not far. I warn them about not getting close if they see a moose, but they all know that anyway by now. When they sled on a trail in the forest, I can see them from a distance and use a loud bell to call them home. I think children who never experience freedom from parental scrutiny are missing chances for self-discovery and for the use of common sense.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Back in my day, we left home early and only came home to eat or warm up, then back out till dinner time. Now that you mention it, our parents really had it easy. What did they do with all that free time?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good post, Joe; that kind of 'communal care', and the sense of mutual responsibility that lies behind it, just doesn't happen any more. . .

    You also remind me of an old post of mine. . .

    ReplyDelete
  9. Everyone has already said it for me!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I could wish until the moon exploded but those peaceful days of yore, with neighbourhoods full of kids all looking out for each other would never return. Things are just too different now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. We didn't have much snow but my mama's policy was if I did something stupid and broke my neck, she'd beat the crap out of me when I got home. In summer we'd range for miles without a grownup in sight. But we knew when it was supper time and I was NEVER late for supper.

    ReplyDelete
  12. These days, if you sent your kids out, even with older ones to watch, you'd probably be charged with child neglect!

    ReplyDelete
  13. In the summer, we were allowed to sleep outside on cots, and nobody tried to abduct us!

    ReplyDelete
  14. We played for hours in the fields near home, but not close enough mum could see us or that we could hear her call either. If a parent was out with us for whatever reason, they were probably playing right in the middle of things and enjoying it with us. Good times for sure. Another thing- NOBODY drove their kids to school. We walked, rode our bicycles or rode the bus. The majority rode the bus or the big yellow limo's as they were called.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Funny how my Dad was questioned by the cops for going to the park to supervise us back in the 70's (accused of having ulterior motives) and now he'd be questioned and maybe arrested for NOT following us.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, especially some of my commenters are funny as heck!

Oh, and don't be shy, Never miss a Cranky Post.

Sign up for an email of every post...over there...on your right...go on!