(UPDATE: Now, apparently, there is a new threat — “Lawnmower Parents” who don’t just hover, but clear a path.)
A number of recent articles have addressed the widespread problem of Helicopter Parents, those who are overinvolved and overprotective to the point that their college-bound children suffer from helplessness when confronted with everyday obstacles on their own. Even before such behavior had a name, educators among themselves identified these parents as impeding their children’s education, as preventing kids from the pain of struggle and the joy of discovering their own competence.
However, educators can be guilty of helicoptering, too. In revisiting her revolutionary paradigm of “Growth vs. Fixed Mindset”, Carol Dweck bemoans the flawed implementation that growth mindset is only about effort or that fails to claims to value growth mindset but fails to follow through. Even teachers with good intentions can fail to provide students with challenges that allow them to become truly confident and self-sufficient. Sometimes they water down their curriculum because of parent complaints. Teachers need to hold fast to what they, as professionals, know is sound educational practice; parents need to trust them.
Let’s all do better for our children!