The Neurotic Parent Institute has completed an important study for moms and dads who have not reached full-on helicoptor status, but still cannot keep themselves from hovering.
Recently, in the press we have heard about velcro parents and spider web parents. But, at a recent book signing, we spotted many other kinds of parents who are overly involved in their kids' lives:
- Safety net parents - lets them fall, but catches them before they go to jail
- Dustbuster parents – no need to rationalize this kind of behavior; necessary to deter bed bugs
- Scrapbook parents – can't let go of all those homemade pencil holders and smelly sneakers.
- BFF parents – shares clothes; dispenses too much infomation about premarital adventures
- Spellcheck parents – "I never read Helen's essays, but I do go over her punctuation."
- Little League Peter Pan dads – they attend every all-star game, even after their kids are in college
- "It Takes a Village" moms – they do double duty in carpool, then gossip about how the other parents are not involved enough.
And…aren't we all:
- ATM parents
We live abroad, so our parenting metaphor options are limited. I think we’re J.K. Rowling “pride of authorship” parents.
When my son first sat down to look at colleges, he had no idea where to begin seeing as he doesn’t have a U.S.-oriented guidance counselor. My wife and I, about 30 years out of our own college searches were mostly ill-equipped to guide him ourselves. But we did think we could provide useful knowledge on one front: identifying which colleges tend to produce the kinds of people we respect, admire, enjoy being around and exhibit the kind of character and other qualities you want your child to be known for.
There are quite a few such colleges that we started nudging him toward. One, in particular, was pretty much at the top of both of our lists. When each of us think of that one college, 100% of the alums we know of from there are the kinds of people described above. There may be some snakes, boors and toxic personalities — but, to our knowledge, we’ve yet to encounter one.
We realize we can only get him to look and give these schools some consideration. And, in the end, he alone can decide whether he will like the food we won’t have to eat, sleep through the classes we won’t be registering for, and smell the funky smells that only exist in the dormitory we won’t be assigned to crash in.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there’s a tangible, selfish reason for taking this “alumni of quality character” approach to where we steer our son. If he ends up matriculating at the one college with the perfect record for terrific people, I will sleep better at night. That’s because I’ll be much less afraid that, years from now, he’ll seize the first opportunity he gets to lock us up in the cheapest assisted living center he can find as far away from our grandchildren as possible. It’s a deep, dark fear I would definitely harbor if he matriculates at the University-that-must-not-be-mentioned.
We didn’t raise him to screw us over like that and I sure don’t want to be eating cat food these next four years only to have his college unravel all of that and turn him into a big turd.
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