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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Land the helicopter: Hovering parents and government need to back off

    In a rapidly advancing world, our parents’ generation seems to be moving backward when it comes to teaching children to be independent.

    Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect parent, but today more than ever, we seem to be facing an epidemic of “helicopter parents.”

    The UA Department of Communication is currently studying the effects of these over-nurturing and over-controlling parents on children. Led by department head Chris Segrin, the study concluded that overparented children often have lower self-efficacy and an exaggerated sense of entitlement or narcissism, along with less-efficient coping skills.

    If overbearing parenting techniques lead to a sense of entitlement and narcissism, our response should not be to extend the reach of authority even further. And yet, this generation has grown up with parents and even a government that coddle us.

    For example, the Affordable Care Act allows children to stay on their parent’s health care plan until they are 26 years old, a major increase from the previous age cutoff of 19 years old. We now have an extra five years to live comfortably under the wing of our parents without having to worry about that yearly checkup.

    According to surveys done by the Pew Research Center in 2012, 29 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds still live at home with their parents. In 1980, only 11 percent of this age group lived with their parents. This trend can be at least partially accounted for by the recent recession, and paired with the other coddling actions of our parents and government, it is raising a generation unable to fend for itself.

    This is part of a growing trend in America, as both our parents and our government extend the length of childhood. Humans already have one of the longest childhood development stages on earth; there’s no need to increase it.

    Likewise, in January, President Barack Obama proposed in his State of the Union address that states should increase the mandatory school attendance age from 16 to 18. This plan would force unwilling students to attend school for two years that could be potentially used for other purposes, like training in trade professions or working to support a family.

    In March 2012, the Senate approved a proposal to compel states to increase the unrestricted driving age to 18 nationwide. Some states currently enforce this policy, and many states, like New Jersey and Connecticut, have implemented curfews and passenger restrictions for young drivers as well.

    These modifications are being made in an attempt to shelter the younger generation from the harsh realities of the world. They are delaying their children’s ability to grow up and accept responsibility, thinking that we simply aren’t ready to handle it.

    But we haven’t been given a chance. We need to try, fail and learn for ourselves. And at some point, the older generation is going to have to realize that hovering does more harm than good.

    —Kimberlie Wang is a physiology freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions

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