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cocomax

Lawnmower Parents

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Please step aside Helicopter Parents there is a new, even worse form of parent taking the field. 

https://www.weareteachers.com/lawnmower-parents/

I know some scouts that are near getting their eagle that have their mom stepping in and speaking to the scout master and SPL on the their behalf, for easy things like if they were or were not going on the next trip..

I have seen moms acting as a buffer between between merit badge councilors and scouts, to really help speed things up.

I have been to Camp-O-Rees where at 2am Saturday morning a group of dads were busy building the award wining pioneering project while the boys slept.

So I have seen these take charge parents in the wild. . .  I just did not know it was such a wide spread thing.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Horizon said:

It exists, and we created it. Let me provide some examples.

..........

We can be the ones in the way, insisting on only working with the youth. BUT. We also must ensure that what we require is appropriate for the youth we are mentoring, and that we are not adding to the requirements in such a way as to make it impossible (or improbable) that a youth can complete on their own.

What a strange post, Horizon. I understand you to say, "Don't do for your kids what they can do for themselves, but don't let them do to much for themselves because it may be to much"?  :huh:

This texting generation is a challenge for me. 

Barry

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What I am saying, apparently not clear enough, is that when you force adult requirements on children - don't be surprised when they turn to adults to get it done.

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21 minutes ago, Horizon said:

It exists, and we created it. Let me provide some examples.

Pinewood derby - when the winning car comes from the kid whose family has the tool set at home to build the perfect racer or art object. They get the awards, while the kids who actually did it himself goes home discouraged. The next year, other parents learn the rules of the game and take over.

Campsite pioneering projects - where the camp rewards the 2:00 AM dads, while the Troop of boys whose gateway is a lashed collection of random poles and lines (but with proper knots) does not place. The next year, adult leaders either take charge - or the Troop votes to not bother with that part of the contest.

Eagle projects - where someone at the Council starts adding requirements until the only way to get approved is to have a parent used to running RFPs, procurement, or large-scale construction projects involved. Eagle being marketed as the most important thing in the world means that parents quickly realize the only path forward is to take control.

I can give similar observations for science fair, the dreaded California Mission projects, or other ways the school issue homework that can only be completed to the teacher's satisfaction when parents become heavily involved. 

We can be the ones in the way, insisting on only working with the youth. BUT. We also must ensure that what we require is appropriate for the youth we are mentoring, and that we are not adding to the requirements in such a way as to make it impossible (or improbable) that a youth can complete on their own.

The parents are stepping in to make sure their kid has an advantage over the other kids and to make sure their kid wins. They end up spoiling things for everyone else. As a kid the victory is not as meaningful when you know your parents did it for you.

In our troop the boys have to do almost everything themselves and we loose the contests most of the time,  but the boys can see with their own eyes what is going on. The boys in my troop would rather do things themselves and loose than have it done for them.  

I do not understand why some scouter parents behave the way they do.

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Interesting that the illustration was a parent bringing a child's water bottle to school. In our school, kids were using them to smuggle alcohol, so they were banned (for a while).

I'm pretty sure we scouters didn't create this style of parenting. But as Americans, we've instilled a post-modern nomadic* worldview. Part of its implication is that our families are seen as caravans in a strange land. We must be equipped with our own devices to avoid "contamination" from our environment. If we feel a threat of "contamination", our first reflex is to call on our families to resolve it.

Case in point: not paying attention to how much son #2 left in the tank, I ran out of gas on the road last week and had to call the auto club for assistance. It delayed me 45 minutes, and Mrs. Q was already at the destination about 45 minutes away. I got in just a little past bedtime no worse for the wait and a $10.

Next morning, I explained what took me so long, and she asked, "Why didn't you call? I would have come and brought you fuel!"

I replied, "That's precisely why I didn't tell you what was happening until now. You would have wasted an hour and a half of your time and more than $10 in gas."

But, you see, for a post-modern nomad, it is better to hazard helping your own than rely on the services of a stranger.

*Feel free to use that term instead of that wretched label, millenial :mad:. Tell them some stranger on the internet set you.

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

*Feel free to use that term instead of that wretched label, millenial :mad:. Tell them some stranger on the internet set you.

Thanks because post-modern nomad sounds so much better. :huh:

Barry

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18 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I'm pretty sure we scouters didn't create this style of parenting. But as Americans, we've instilled a post-modern nomadic* worldview. Part of its implication is that our families are seen as caravans in a strange land. We must be equipped with our own devices to avoid "contamination" from our environment. If we feel a threat of "contamination", our first reflex is to call on our families to resolve it.

Where did you get this stuff? I would have thought a post-modern nomad just meant the Airstream trailer was replaced with a teardrop camper trailer.

Barry

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Forgive my opinion, but I think this is a reflection of how our generation has been taught to parent by the public schools.   

  • Teachers that praise parents that are involved in their kids schooling.  
  • Teachers that assign 10 minutes of homework per grade level. 
    • It's okay for kids that are already at that level (and probably don't benefit from the homework much).
    • It's a nightmare for the families who's kids are still struggling. 
    • It stresses situations at home and forces parents to be detail involved in their kids achievements. 
  • From what I've seen, following what our kid's teachers said we should do really is bad advice and produces bad results.  

What I'm saying is giving homework to 1st and 2nd graders when many are just not ready yet causes parents to be involved in their kids homework.  Sitting next to them.  Erasing answers and helping them re-write the answers.  Parents having to initial communication packets sent home each night and kids having to return it to prove to teachers the parents saw the packet.  It's forcing the parents to be intimately involved in their kid's achievements.  IMHO, it's a bad pattern.  And, it prevents kids from developing the confidence that they can leave the nest and do it themselves. 

In hind sight, I'd take a much more passive approach to parenting.  Show empathy.  Provide food, paper, clothing and maybe a clean and quiet environment.  Beyond that, homework is their job, not mine.  Their achievements are theirs and should come when they are ready and not when I think they are ready.

When I think about my schooling, I did the work.  I did the assignments.  My parents were involved a bit at times.  Beyond that though, I did my assignments and my parents were mostly out of the picture.  

Edited by fred johnson
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I found another interesting link, it is a book review on a book about safetyism:

https://quillette.com/2018/09/02/is-safetyism-destroying-a-generation/

Here is a quote from the book review:

The dangers of safety culture

"Haidt and Lukianoff focus on the unintended consequences of safetyism – the idea that people are weak and should be protected, rather than exposed, to challenges. Safety culture has the best of intentions: protect kids from danger. It began with a focus on physical safety – removing sharp objects and choke hazards, requiring child seats, and not letting children walk home alone. Safety, however, has experienced substantial concept creep. It now includes emotional safety, that is, not being exposed ideas that could cause psychological distress. Taken together, the focus on physical and mental safety makes young people weaker."

It looks to me that good old patrol method scouting is going against the general direction of society.
It makes scouting less popular to people that see it as too dangerous.

On the positive side any boy that takes part in a good scouting program is going to be light years beyond his non-scout peers in ability to deal with problems and complexity.
When I see a young scout go to scout summer camp for the first time I almost always see a huge change in them for the better when they get back. 

I hope scouting does not adopt safeyism to the point that it is no longer a life changing experience and is just a glorified one stop babysitting service for today's busy parents.

 

 

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I did a talk on this at our latest University of Scouting.  The best way I have found to deal with this in a positive manner was to sign them up for leadership positions but tactfully assigning them duties where they ran stations or merit badges for groups of kids and were not following their son around.  At camp, assign them a location to be at like the first year program or aquatics.  Have them take pictures and report back to the leadership about what happened.  At meetings they should be in back observing only.

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1 hour ago, cocomax said:

I hope scouting does not adopt safeyism to the point that it is no longer a life changing experience and is just a glorified one stop babysitting service for today's busy parents.

Scouting is far away from overly safe.  Are we drastically more sensitive to safety now then 50 years ago?  Absolutely.   Are we too safe?  Very debatable.  But we are bringing kids we know relatively little out into lightening storms and sleeping in sub-zero weather.  Giving them knives and fire.  Teaching them to shoot.  At the same time, leaders are napping and trying to sleep through the night while we trust our urchins are also sleeping.  

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21 hours ago, Eagledad said:

What a strange post, Horizon. I understand you to say, "Don't do for your kids what they can do for themselves, but don't let them do to much for themselves because it may be to much"?  :huh:

This texting generation is a challenge for me. 

Barry

No, he's saying that we shouldn't add on unnecessary rules because of the parents that are doing things for their kids.

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21 hours ago, Horizon said:

What I am saying, apparently not clear enough, is that when you force adult requirements on children - don't be surprised when they turn to adults to get it done.

The current requirements don't require adults to do.  My two Eagle sons did it with minimal help from me (other than transportation, and doing things they were not allowed to do per the rules) 

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