Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nerd Notes: the 5 Main Kinds of "Helicopter Parents"

"Helicopter parents," the bane of academia, have now invaded the post-graduate world.

Do we really need further infantilization of...well, everybody? Helicopter parents, nanny statism...Pretty soon there won't be any real, responsible adults in my generation, much less the generation currently in college and university.

The trouble with "helicopter parents" is their constant interference and obsessive "supervision." The worst ones are those who ruthlessly promote their own children and insist that rules be bent or broken for those precious little snowflakes. The ones who phone repeatedly are simply anathema to any sane person who works on campus ("Why did my child get this grade? Why wasn't my child allowed to _____? I demand that my child be accepted into this closed class, etc. etc." Uh, hello, your so-called child is 20 years old, and he/she will never learn to be a functioning responsible adult if you keep on doing this kindergarten-coddling behavior.)

Anyway, one British campus dweller has identified 5 main kinds of "helicopter parents." I'm sure there are more than 5 types, but I do like his definitions. Take a look!

Helicopter parents - the five most common kinds

The Agent

Operates like a footballer's agent: fixing deals, arranging contracts, smoothing out local difficulties. It's the Agent's job to represent his or her client at events which, for whatever reason, the client feels are simply too tedious to attend. Having an Agent helicopter parent is like having Max Clifford working for you round the clock. For free.

The Banker

Accessible online, face to face or via personal hotline, the Banker is unique in the world of financial services for charging no APR, asking few if any questions, expecting no collateral, and being psychologically inclined to say 'yes' no matter how illogical or poorly articulated the request. The Banker is also resigned to never seeing loans repaid.

The White Knight

Imbued with an almost semi-mythical status, the White Knight parent appears at little to no notice to resolve awkward situations. Once resolved, the White Knight will fade anonymously into the background. Intervention is accomplished silently and with minimum fuss.

The Bodyguard

The primary function of the Bodyguard is to protect the client from a range of embarrassing social situations - such as cancelling appointments and soaking up complaints on behalf of their client. Particularly skilled in constructing elaborate excuses. When not protecting life, limb and reputation, doubles up as a chauffeur and personal assistant.

The Black Hawk

Named after the military helicopter, and dreaded by teachers and educational administrators, the Black Hawk is unique among helicopter parents due to their willingness to go to any lengths - legal or illegal - to give their offspring a positional advantage over any competition. Particularly lethal when elected to parent-teacher associations.
I also love how the writer calls the cellphone "the longest umbilical cord in history." Too true, that.

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