Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Helicopter parents and backseat children

My father and mother had their own business in the countryside village where my brother and I grew up. They were unable to spend much time with us. Both our parents come from large families and were (probably) used to receiving little parental supervision. My brother and I wandered around in our village and spent time with friends. Sometimes, we made mistakes and received an evening lecture.

I remember my father’s monthly drive to the Big City to buy supplies for his shop. Sometimes, my brother and I were allowed to come along. We were proud backseat children, who enjoyed opening the new (shop) supply of liquorice during the ride back home. It was rare for my father to drive us to school. If it happened, it was on a Monday. My mother never got her driving licence.

As a parent, I didn’t really see my children during the week, following a demanding job. I made up during the weekend and visited most of their sports games. I cannot recall that my father or mother ever visited me during my soccer games because their shop was open on Saturdays. However, every disadvantage has its advantage because they were unable to see that I sucked at sports.

Nowadays, things are different between parents and children. Hence, the title of this blog: helicopter parents and backseat children. The consequence is that these children are unable to make mistakes and learn from these mistakes. This increases their vulnerability (my blogs) and/but not in a good way.

According to Professor Dr. Jan Derksen from Nijmegen University, this is why there’s an explosion of burnouts and/or depressions amongst young (Dutch) people (eg, 18-25). In 2015, he gave his (confronting) views in a 34 minute episode on Dutch TV. I’ve noticed this behaviour is not limited to Dutch people.

I suppose there is a relation between decreasing family size and increased parental attention. Moreover, this relation is strengthened by the increasing number of divorces and subsequent parental guilt tripping.

Below please find two interesting quotes of which the first shows that the above is an ancient issue.

“The one to whom nothing was refused, whose tears were always wiped away by an anxious mother, will not abide being offended.” A quote from De Ira (ie, 2.21.6) by Seneca the Younger (4 BC-65 AD), a philosopher and Roman statesman.

“If we give our children everything, we deprive them of aspirations.” A quote by Frank Sonnenberg from Listen to Your Conscience: That’s Why You Have One.

Teach Your Children (1970) by Crosby Stills Nash & Young
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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