My friends just dropped their freshman son off at a top university. When they opened the door to his dorm room on move-in weekend they were surprised to find that his roommate’s mother had already moved in herself, and she was asleep in his bed. She moved in for the week.
Being gracious, my friends found an unoccupied room for their son to bunk in. This looks a lot like overly protective hovering, sometimes called helicopter parenting. It would be easy to throw stones here. Better yet, let’s take the opportunity to consider how to optimize involved parenting, because it is just not going away.
Take the original helicopter mom, Thetis. She dipped Brad Pitt, I mean Achilles, into the river Styx, making him invulnerable to attack, except for the heel where she held him (Brad Pitt was great in the movie Troy). That kind of paints the whole modern predicament, doesn’t it? Helicopter mom does right by her son, except for one teensy weensy little issue. Achilles had a pretty good run, all things considered.
Back to reality, mega-entrepreneur Ted Turner insisted on driving his kids around his vast properties in the winter in an open jeep without much warm clothing on – just to toughen them up. Is that the recipe for creating a world-beater?
So if we accept that helicoptering is a given, how far should parents go if they want to raise the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg?
Check out what Robert has to say here.