Time magazine has an article about overprotective parents. The Title is appropriate:

The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting

Fair enough.

My problem is how the article is framed:

…we just wanted what was best for our kids. We bought macrobiotic cupcakes and hypoallergenic socks, hired tutors to correct a 5-year-old’s “pencil-holding deficiency,” … We hovered over every school, playground and practice field — “helicopter parents,” teachers christened us, a phenomenon that spread to parents of all ages, races and regions. 

(emphasis added).

Really? Do you have statistics to back this up, or are you just assuming that the average parent is the same as you and your friends?

Look at the parents cited in the article. We have parents in a class for “slow parenting” who are eating “non dairy gluten free coconut ice cream”.

Hmm…we make that all the time here in the Philippines, where we have a dozen coconut trees in our garden, but I never saw that product in the grocery stores in Portage Pennsylvania. Guess our coalminers didn’t like coconuts.

Even when she “proves” overprotective parents are all over the place, she choses Prairie Village, Kansas. For those who live in the centers of media culture, this is “flyover country, a foreign land where everyone is sort of vague. But those of us who have lived in the Midwest (or who know how to google Wikipedia) can find out that Prairie Village is an opulent suburb of Kansas City (96% Caucasian, median family income $70,000, which is pretty high for most of the Midwest).

Most of the experts cited are pushing their own books. My favorite “expert” goes into a house and cleans it up for you (I seem to remember a US TV show that does this). This expert claims the “average” children has 150 toys. No information where he got this number, or if this means 150 TOYS or if it includes counting each and every GI Joes or Starwars figure in the collection that is sitting in a box  in the garage, being stored  until next year’s garage sale.

Well, the toys will have to sit there, because selling those toys might now be illegal:

“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales,

Which brings us to the few “statistics” used by the author to make her point:

the percentage of kids walking or biking to school dropped from 41% in 1969 to 13% in 2001.

Was this due to overprotective parents, or because the bureaucrats, on the advice of “experts” decided to close community schools and send our kids into “consolidated” schools located quite a distance from home? True, these schools could offer more “enrichment” to our children, but I wouldn’t want my son to bike down I-176 to go to school each day to get there. And what about those of use who were told that our children  had to be bussed across town to satisfy racial quotas?

A lot of the “choices” that the author blames on parents choice are due to fear of lawsuits, or decided for us by small elite “consumer” groups who have money and political influence.

Or this part of the article:

parents lobbied to take the jungle gyms out of playgrounds, and strollers suddenly needed the warning label “Remove Child Before Folding.”

The impetus behind such things are from “consumer” groups and fear of lawsuit by liability attorneys. Like the law on garage sale toys, this is the result not of public pressure but a small and affluent elite that wants to tell others people how to live.

My problem is not so much as the article per se as it is that the author (by continually using the word “WE” to describe those with such attitudes) assumes such exaggerations are the norm for all of America.

No, ma’am, the article is about a small subset of parents (who live in posh suburbs or in posh city neighborhoods and have one or two children and a high income). Don’t include me in that bunch.

But for Time magazine, the article suggests a larger problem: that a lot of main stream media reporters are unaware that they and their friends do not represent America, and that such articles merely increase the perception of a “let them eat cake” isolation from most of the population.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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