Perma-parenting, or helicoptering from home?

April 20, 2010

I started off reading this article in Psychology Today nodding in all the right places, but after awhile it got a little shrill.  Quick summary: Page 1, introducing the phenomenon of boomerang children, or kids who go back to live at home in their 20s and beyond.  Page 2, it’s all the parents’ fault for getting too chummy with their kids.  Page 3, we finally get into some societal reasons that people are landing back home in greater numbers than previous generations; but no, it’s really the parents’ fault.

While a lot of what is said resonates with my own feelings about over-invested parents, especially those who continue “parenting” their children long after they’re developmentally mature, this article appeals to authority (“experts”) rather than providing actual evidence so many times it’s not even funny.  The evidence it does provide is mixed–even the anecdotes aren’t really that compelling.  The people interviewed are happy to have their kids home–so where’s the “detrimental effects” that parents can endure?  Do those parents not really know what is good for them, and this happiness is false?  Do the sociology and child-development “experts” in the Ivory Tower know better than the actual people out there, living their lives?

The helicopter/buddy parent phenomenon is only a reason that people faced with financial difficulty can land in their parents’ nest when they’re displaced.  It’s not the reason that they’re displaced.  Unemployment or financial difficulty is glossed over in this article as a secondary cause, when it’s probably the primary cause–at least with kids who boomerang home after college graduation and finding their first job.

I wish I had more time to write about this.  I’m sure I’ll use this tag again.


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