Absurd Normalcy

Ever notice how, amidst any crisis or issue, life of course goes on, and everyday occurrences can take on an absurd quality? For example, World War Three may be breaking out at home but people gotta eat, so let’s all stop fighting for a minute and gather ‘round for a bite… 

I love the scene toward the beginning of the movie, Little Miss Sunshine, when the seemingly dysfunctional family is trying to have a discussion, albeit an awkward one, with the newly arrived depressed uncle and the teenage son who has taken a “vow of silence”, and in the midst of it all, the mom is moving feverishly to get dinner on the table. She sets out a bucket of KFC, plates, side dishes…the meal added a touch of “absurd normalcy” to it all.  I’ve thought about that a lot these past few days, that when everything seems to be going haywire, good moms try to keep things as normal as possible… 

As expected, our teenage daughter did not like the new house rules we established for cell phones and TV watching last week, but what we didn’t expect was the degree to which she decided to blame it all on our foreign exchange student. Sparks flew between them all weekend, and things were not pretty.  All I wanted to do was go cry into my pillow, but instead I needed to help out at talent show practice, drive Girl Scout cookie forms to the cookie coordinator’s house, drive kids to practices, pick up kids from tutoring, plan this week’s meals, grocery shop, and offer guidance to Emmie and her friend as they put together their science fair board. I stole a cry when I could.  At the grocery store, I ran into my younger daughter’s math teacher rounding a corner near the applesauce and wondered if she could see that my eyes were red and swollen.  Glad I wear transition glasses a lot that are always either tinted or smudged.  I squinted as I read the nutrition facts on the box of Frosted Mini Wheats…

Late last evening, things got to the point that we called a mobile crisis intervention team to stop by the house, a free local service that provides trained counselors to help sort out difficult situations. As we sat and talked, I had to excuse myself a minute to head outside to the grill— well, I couldn’t let the jalapeno bacon cheddar burgers just burn…

And this morning, still reeling from the events of the last few days and functioning on only three hours of sleep, there I was pushing a grocery cart again, this time in a different store, staring at the meat case.  Yeah, life may feel like it’s falling apart, but, hey, fresh chicken tenders are on sale, and mom’s still gotta feed everyone and keep a sense of absurd normalcy around here, right? (or is it normal absurdity?) I was actually grateful for the overly friendly dose of cheer this time when the checker asked, “And how are you doing today?” It forced me to smile, which felt good.

“I’m hanging in there,” I replied.  “Hoping to grill again tonight before the winter storm hits.”

“I’ll Do My Homework Later”: Helping Kids Battle Procrastination

It’s tough sometimes being an anti-helicopter parent, who seeks to help their children learn life lessons by not jumping in and taking over everything.  It’s like standing by and watching a train wreck, after you’ve warned the engineer several times of danger ahead.  To borrow again from the train metaphor, lately our house is like “Procrastination Station”, and even though I keep warning my kids, the trains keep wrecking. 

“Emmie, get your schoolbag packed before you go to bed,” we’ve told her many times, but no, she decides to do that two minutes before she’s supposed to leave for school in the morning.  Often, lunch money and/or needed supplies get left behind, and unless I happen to be going by the school during the day, I won’t bring the gear to her.  “Allison, break your reading assignment down into small chunks and do a little bit every day,” we tell her, but no, there she is a month later, the night before the book report and its accompanying poster and Power Point are due, panicked because she never finished the book, and staying up until 5 a.m. to try to complete the assignment (and true to Murphy’s Law, last-minute children will always have technical difficulties trying to load that Power Point onto a USB flash drive or print that report on the printer, adding to the panic). “Emmie, your science fair project is due in a month and you’ve got to get started now,” we tell her.  One week later: “Emmie, your science fair project is due in three weeks—don’t wait until the last minute, since your experiment involves people, and they may not be available when you think they are.” This week: “Emmie, your science fair project is due next Tuesday, and you only have a couple free days until then to conduct your experiment. I’m not going to buy your supplies until you’ve written down the procedure and invited your subjects to come over to the house.”  I’m mentally biting my knuckles.  Even our 17-year-old exchange student from France has issues with procrastination—she’d much rather text or go on Facebook than do homework, and she’s still putting off studying until late in the evening, then sleeping too late and having to rush almost every morning in order to make it to school on time.  What’s a parent to do?

I checked online to read what the “experts” have to say, and it turns out I have already been doing, or at least thinking about, some of the things they recommend:

Help Kids Break Things Down Into Small Parts.  Check. 

Model Positive, Self-Regulatory Behavior.  Also known as “Set a Good Example for Your Kids”.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this one lately.  Yeah, I juggle a lot of things in my life, and some people are impressed, but I’ve realized lately that my kids often see the downside of that: me running late to my own appointments, and being late in picking them up from school or activities; me having a desktop that can rarely be described as “organized”, me waiting until company is coming over before I do a major house-cleaning, then it’s an all-day, crazed and panicked effort; me being too busy to fill out parent paperwork on time and getting reminder emails from the teacher…yes, there are definite areas where I could be a better time and organization role model for my kids! 

Limit Electronic Media. Those who read this blog a lot know we already do that, and it just so happens that a few days ago we decided to set even more limits. Our house rules now include, in addition to “all Internet shuts off at 11”, more limits on TV watching and cell phones.  Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., who specializes in the study of procrastination and writes a blog called “Don’t Delay” at psychologytoday.com, calls the extensive use of electronic media by students “cyberslacking on the procrastination superhighway” and likens it to a serious compulsion, such as gambling. I agree.

One piece of advice I hadn’t thought of, at least lately, includes Help Your Child Set Up A Daily and Weekly Planner (I see hand-written schedules and To-Do lists often sitting around the kids’ rooms but I’ve never shown them other “systems” they might want to try, to prioritize and get organized).

Of course, as much as we parents may bite our knuckles, the best time planning teacher is a tough mistake.  Kids need to be able to feel the gut-wrenching panic and anxiety that are usually the outcomes of poor planning (and what it feels like to get a poor grade as a result) in the hopes that, on their own, they won’t want to repeat that and will be motivated enough to “plan ahead next time”.  (There are great resources to help them do that, which speak directly to them.  PBSkids.org has a section for older kids called It’s My Life, with lots of tips on time management.  A funny book for kids entitled See You Later, Procrastinator, by Espeland and Verdick, gives kids “20 Ways to Kiss Procrastination Good-bye”.)

But what if your child is, in the words of clinical psychologist Linda Sapadin, a crisis-maker? “Crisis Makers like to live on the edge, and tend to get bored unless they perceive an ‘emergency’,” she says in her book, Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade .“Crisis provides motivation, so Crisis Makers will frequently choose to wait until the last minute to meet deadlines, only to then heroically pull it off. They don’t like to tackle projects in pieces, over time. They prefer to do it all at once, and their ‘mad dash to the finish line’ can be very disruptive to family life.”  Umm, has she been spying on my family? I can think of at least one of my children who fits this description to a T. For this type of child, she suggests setting “fake” or “family” deadlines for a project, i.e. an earlier deadline than the real one, the point at which family members will no longer be available to help troubleshoot with the printer, answer questions, etc.  Or, the point at which the child must be done or else they don’t get to do something they’ve been looking forward to—an outing, a party—parents can fill in the blank. “Rather than fight your child’s need for an adrenalin rush… use it as a motivator,” she says. Expanding on this idea, I could even see purposefully scheduling something fun on the very night before a big project is due, so that the child will try hard to get their project done at least a day earlier in order to participate.  Sounds like something all my kids might like. 

But I think for next Tuesday’s Science Fair turn-in, I better make the family deadline three days in advance. Because Emmie has decided to do her project with a fellow classmate…who is also a fellow procrastinator, only with a busier schedule.

(Is that a train whistle I hear in the distance? )

(Follow what happens by checking the Twitter box on the left-hand side of this blog, or on Twitter (name: uncoolmomdotcom).

“Valen-tinies” No More: Cards With A Heart

Gee, I never realized how many “lasts” happen when it’s the last year of elementary school for the youngest child in the family.  I already posted about the “last” parent preview film for Human Growth and Development.  Lately it’s hit me that coming up is the last Science Fair (Yippeeee!!) and the last class Valentine’s Day party.

Amazing…over a decade of buying valentines for my kids to stuff in their classmates’ “valentine mailboxes”.  Somehow it all seems a little pointless compared to when I was a kid.  I remember going over every valentine later in the day…they came in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes people made theirs, sometimes they bought them, but kids carefully picked out which ones they wanted to send to which friends, depending on the verse.  We girls would be thrilled if we got one with an especially nice verse from a boy (I once got one that said, “Valentine, it may be cold outside, but inside my heart is warm” …I stuck it in my diary and cherished it for at least a year…) Sometimes candy was taped to the valentines.  It was a fun day—I felt sorry for the Jehovah’s Witness kids whose parents would pick them up and make them miss the party…

Fast forward to today, when there’s not much to valentines anymore.  Literally.  For those of you who may not know, most kid valentines now are about 2” x 2” (when opened!), and usually decorated with something from pop culture, like Buzz Lightyear or Hannah Montana, with barely enough room for even the words Happy Valentine’s Day.  They almost seem like miniature ads.  I call them “valen-tinies”.  We’re all expected to go out and buy a box, have our child sign each one on what little space is left, and take them to school on the big day.  By the time they get home from school toting a sack of the valentinies they’ve received, all they care about is eating whatever candy is left, and the valentinies are all thrown away.  Seems like a ridiculous waste of money, to me.  And gas, and time, if you think about the parents who have to drive to a 24-hour drugstore to buy a box of whatever’s left, the night before the party… (been there, done that! )

I used to try hard to help my child give something a little more memorable when my older daughter was in elementary school.  One year I found inexpensive, pink and red flat heart-shaped “fun foam” goggles that fit nicely in an envelope.  When she got into upper elementary, we started a tradition of making music CDs for everyone in her class, with 4-5 of her favorite songs to share, complete with custom-made, heart-themed CD labels. (Now that’s something people kept…well, most did…)

With Emmie, I was tapped out of new ideas, so she languished in the world of valentinies until last year, when we saw actress Julianne Moore on a TV talk show promoting Save the Children valentines, a set of valentines designed by children. They were pricier than the box of tinies (a box of 24 cost $25), but the money went toward a good cause: fighting childhood poverty around the world.  Emmie loved the idea and we ordered a set.

I’d forgotten all about it until this year, when we got a catalog in the mail showing valentines designed by children at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  A box of 32 is only $5, and they are precious.  I just checked online, and Save the Children is still offering a set of Valentines, too, this year including cards designed by children and celebrities including Jordin Sparks and Corbin Bleu. We haven’t decided which we’ll choose, but we’re definitely going to pick one of them, and we’re going to have to put our order in ASAP in order for them to arrive by the big day.

So, here’s hoping my readers with young children might also like to choose this unique way to share some love at the class Valentines Day parties. Here are the links:

http://savethechildren.org/valentines and www.childrensart.org.  Let me know if you know of any other charitable valentines!

Confessions of a Burnt-Out Scrapbooker

Hope everyone had a nice MLK holiday weekend.  I spent part of mine trying to catch up in “preserving memories”- a.k.a. keeping up with family photos, and what a daunting task it has been!  It used to be so simple when my kids were little.  I’d snap pictures on my camera, get them developed at the drug store, and put them in a “magnetic” album—you know, one of those with sticky pages and clear plastic to go on top. Sometimes I’d even write captions on paper to label the photos, or if I felt really creative, I’d stick on a used airplane ticket or baggage tag.  It was a no-brainer.  When the photo album filled up, I’d get another. I never got too behind, because the album stayed close at hand, and it was easy to put the photos in the album as soon as they came back from the drug store.  But of course, in our over-the-top world, someone had to take things a step further. 

I don’t remember exactly when I first got wind of “scrapbooking” but I know it was sometime in the late 90’s. I was in charge of programming for a local women’s organization and I lined up a speaker from a craft store to tell us more about it. Soon my sticky pages had more than just photos and captions on them.  The craft store had a whole aisle filled with “embellishments” to add to the pages: stickers, stencils, “journaling boxes”… Not too long after, I got an invitation to my first “crop”– a scrapbooking party where each guest “crops” or cuts photos and arranges them on scrapbook pages. No, (horrors!) not sticky photo album pages. In the world of scrapbooking, lesson #1 is learning all about “lignin” and “acid-free” and “photo-safe”. I’d been doing everything wrong—someday, those sticky photo albums pages will turn yellow and so will your photos if you don’t protect them properly, I was told. So us “newbies” got a basic how-to class while everyone else at the party was sitting all over my friend’s house with stacks of photos and colored paper and cutting tools, working feverishly.  Though some of these gals seemed a little too fanatical for me (“I save every piece of artwork my child has ever done!” exclaimed one proudly) and some dolled up their pages so much I had a hard time seeing the original photos, my interest was piqued.  When a mom of one of Allison’s friends brought her scrapbooks by the house to show me one day, I got even more interested.  Soon I had my own album and was making my own pages, going to neighborhood crops and weekend scrapbooking “retreats”. It was a lot of fun, and I likened the gatherings to the quilting bees of yesteryear: a bunch of women working on a craft project to pass down to future generations, and gossiping a whole bunch in the process (although I doubt that the quilters drank margaritas while working, like we did! ) Not only that, but scrapbooking was a way to get in touch with my inner child—who wouldn’t with all that coloring, cutting and pasting?! Except, for me, it came with one big drawback: keeping up-to-date with my photos became harder. 

No longer could I say I was “caught up”—photos that would have taken 15 minutes to plop in the sticky photo album were now elaborately cut, matted and laid out on two-page, acid-free “spreads” that I’d be lucky to finish, even one, at a four-hour crop (well, you see, there were the drinks, and lots of food, and um, well, yeah, I did create a two-dimensional tiki hut out of brown paper to surround two pages of vacation photos as a border, and, um, yes, I did hand-cut a whole bunch of tiny one-inch strips of tan paper and painstakingly glue each one along the top of both pages to make a thatched roof for the hut…but hey—that “spread” looked great and still does 12 years later, while my sticky photo albums really did turn yellow and are falling apart!). So in the early days of my scrapbooking hobby, I was proud of myself if I was only a year or two behind on my photos. 

Today I’m five years behind, so that’s why I decided this past weekend that it was time to delve into the world of digital scrapbooking. I’d heard good things about it (“You can knock out a whole album in a couple hours!”) but hadn’t spent much time with it even though Andy had given me the software as a gift over a year ago. You lay out pages on your computer, dragging and dropping photos wherever you need them, cropping photos with the touch of a button, adding digital “stickers”, writing captions using a zillion different fonts and colors at your fingertips. You print the pages on your own printer or have various companies print them out. And I must say that, while a lot of things about it were convenient, it wasn’t the miracle time saver I thought it would be.  I mean, I worked for about 13 hours on the “Year 2006” album this weekend and it’s still not finished. Granted, as my husband says, there is a learning curve to factor in with something new, but I think I had the hang of the process after about an hour.  Also, I sit at my computer for work almost all day, M-F.  Do I really want to spend my leisure time there also? With traditional scrapbooking, I usually stand, at a table.  Surely that means more calories burnt (bonus!).  And of course the tactile hands-on, kindergarten crafts aspect is gone when all you’re touching is a keyboard and a mouse.

So, what to do now?  I can’t go back to tiki huts, hand-drawn “Route 66” signs, and Easter photos cut into egg shapes and glued into a flat “basket”.  But I can’t bring myself to just put all my family’s photos into a generic photo album, either. Besides– if the goal is to help my kids recall fun times, value extended family and boost their self esteem by commemorating important events in their lives, shouldn’t the photos be out where they can be seen? Maybe I should just load all my photos into a digital photo frame, for a constant, rotating slide show. Only this would require the time-consuming job of deleting all the “teen cell-phone generated” photos now crowding my computer (gee, will they ever get tired of taking “mid-air jump” photos or close-up “nostril” shots?). Or, I could look through all my photos and print out just a few, only the very best, and put them in individual frames.  Or maybe I should just better utilize what is probably the best display surface around, the most looked-at place in the whole house: our refrigerator.

I wonder if magnets are acid-free…


The Pretzel Logic of Kids: Can I At Least Get Some Mustard To Go With That?

A friend of mine told me a great parenting line the other day, something her parents used to say when their grown children blamed them for “raising them wrong”: “Well, somebody’s got to help keep the therapists in business.” If only I’d heard that a few days earlier.  My teenager, after getting very upset that I was spending my Saturday getting the house ready for company instead of driving her to Toni & Guy for a haircut, left me speechless with a tirade about how all her problems with anger management were my fault.  “You raised me wrong!” she screamed as I attempted to clean the kitchen.  I held my ground, and reminded her that she’s had issues with anger all her life. “Remember when you were three or four,” I said, “and one morning you demanded that you be served candy for breakfast, and when I said no you went nuts?”

“See?” she said. “That’s what I’m talking about. If you’d just give me what I want instead of saying no all the time, I wouldn’t have to be angry!”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or throw my scrubber sponge at her.

“But that’s not how life is,” I said.  “You can’t possibly get everything you want, for a lot of reasons, and you’ve got to learn to deal with that. People who get their way all the time turn out to be spoiled brats.”

She reminded me of several people who get whatever they want, whenever they want it, and that they’ve turned out to be very nice people.  I didn’t know what to say. 


But not for long.  I went on to tell her that everyone usually blames their parents for all their faults at some point in their life and then hopefully someday wakes up and realizes that they are their own person, that they are free to be, do, and act however they choose and that if they don’t like something about themselves, they have the power to change it. (Yeah, I was on a roll!) I reminded her of several ways her dad and I have guided her life in positive ways but that her temperament was pretty much set at birth.  I thought maybe for once I’d left her speechless.  “Well, ” she said, “then you probably did something bad when you were pregnant with me.”

Oy vey! But don’t worry– no guilt-ridden parent here. If there’s anything I’m guilty of, it’s that I don’t always remember another great parenting line: “Never argue with a kid.”

The Talk, The Film, and Teaching Kids About the Birds and the Bees

As I got out my brand new 2011 calendar the other day and was going through the stacks of papers and emails in the “add to calendar” files, I found one about “The Film”. You know, that film, the one on human growth and development that they show to kids in upper elementary grades (well, there’s one for girls, and a different one for boys). Around here, there’s a film every year beginning in 4th grade and continuing thru 6th. The subjects get more “advanced” depending on the grade.  And each time it’s shown, a letter is sent home to parents letting them know the date and also the date of the “parent preview” so parents can view it first.  I guess some parents view it to see if they want their child to “opt out”, but I take time to go see it to stay on top of things, to try to discuss the subjects with my child first—I don’t want them to first learn about human sexuality from a film or from the students who will be buzzing about it that day. Since I already have a child in high school, you’d think I’ve “been there, done that” when it comes to those films and I wouldn’t need to go any more.  But they change, and I forget what’s covered in each year’s anyway…so I go every year to see them, and then the pressure’s on to find time to discuss anything I haven’t already taught at home.

But when is the right time to discuss stuff like that, anyway? I always told my husband that I didn’t want to make sex and health topics uncomfortable for my kids by making them a “big deal”, by limiting them to The Talk, the okay-now-we-have-to-sit-down-and-discuss-something-important kind of talk like what our parents did with us.  Squirm! Yuk! Aw, Mom!  I heard an “expert” at a M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting long ago say to work in these topics naturally and gradually, starting at a young age as kids are curious and start asking questions. I remember she talked about “teachable moments” like gardening.

But…what if these moments never come? She never told us what to do if our kids don’t ask a lot of questions about sex.  Or if they ask them in the grocery store line when they’re old enough to read the nearby covers of Glamour and Cosmo. “Daddy, what does that mean—Twenty Ways to Make Him Scream for More?”  Or if they ask them within earshot of a much younger sibling, and what you’d like to say to one might not be what you’d say to the other. It turned out I did have to have “The Talk” with each of my daughters, after all.  With Allison, I at least tried to make it fun.  We went on a mother-daughter overnight when she was 10, to a small town about 45 minutes away. I called it “Secrets and Surprises” weekend—there were surprises to be had (she got to get a pedicure with me and get her ears pierced) and secrets to be learned (the birds, the bees, the tooth fairy, and Santa Claus).  (A friend of mine joked that the male version of that weekend would be called “Farts and Fantasies” )

With Emmie, as usual for the second child, she got the short end of the deal. I was too busy to squeeze in a weekend trip, and the first “film” was fast approaching.  She literally learned about the birds and the bees in the backseat of a car—my “aravan”, to be exact.  I’d checked out a few books from the library to help (there’s a great one by “Arthur” creator Marc Brown and his wife) and we’d gone to a local park, only it was too cold to sit outside so we sat in the car, side by side.

After I’d had The Talk with Emmie, teachable moments could finally happen more openly around here. It’s amazing what can serve as springboards to further discussion—teen moms, pop song lyrics, movies, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the news… even the growth and development films can be a great reason to talk, even if I don’t have to discuss anything beforehand.  Soon after it’s shown to the kids, I’ll usually ask questions like “How did it go? What did you think of it? Wasn’t that cartoon part weird? What kinds of questions were asked at the end? How did the nurse answer them?”

So when I attend my 6th and final parent “film” preview next week, I don’t know if I should bring popcorn (to celebrate) or soda (to cry in)…   Once public school kids around here hit 7th grade, they’re only required to complete one semester of Health before high school graduation, with only a couple days spent on human development and STDs.  Just as they become teenagers, and society bombards them with all sorts of sexual messages, and just when their own body is going through lots of changes.  Just when they probably have a lot more questions.  And just when they don’t want to talk as much with Mom or Dad.  And in Texas, which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, the schools are severely limited in what they can teach in Health class.

If I could, I guess I’d bring both popcorn and soda.  ‘Cause I think the school and I have done a pretty good job with sex education so far, but going forward, it sure would be nice to have a little more help.

Working to Drive

Nothing like starting off the new year running.  Not me, I mean my minivan. It’s still going, at just under 200,000 miles– and it’s about to be driven by my daughter Allison. Yesterday I finally signed her up for online driving instruction, and after she completes the first six hours, she can get a learner’s permit and start “practice driving”, with Andy or I next to her. Parent Taught Driver’s Ed, that’s what we’re doing, and I actually can’t wait to get started.  Because each hour of her practicing behind the wheel of my minivan means another hour closer to me not being an “abused chauffeur” any more, and another hour closer to her taking on more responsibility.  We plan to buy her a used car that she can call her own, but will expect her to pay for the gas and part of the insurance.  “She’s got to have some skin in the game,” we’ve been advised by a few people, and we agree.  Which means, now that she’s 16, she needs to move on from her meager attempts at earning weekly allowance into something all together more interesting– and lucrative: a part-time job.  And she wants a car so badly, she’s fine with that.  But finding a job may prove to be a harder task for her to accomplish than learning how to drive.  “I will NEVER wait tables and I will NEVER be a cashier!” she’s proclaimed many times.  When I mention working at a local clothing boutique, she says,  “I wouldn’t want anyone to see me working.  That would be embarrassing.” 


Huh? What is up with that?  When I was in high school, it seems like every teen worked, whether you had to or not.  Bank presidents’ kids rubbed elbows with assembly line welders’ kids behind the counter at McDonald’s; my peers also clerked at clothing stores, carpet stores, mall food courts, movie theaters– I got out of school early every afternoon to work at the town newspaper and was also a counselor at a summer camp.  I think we’d all agree that no matter what we did or why, our first jobs were great “real world” experience.  And sometimes, we made lifelong friends and had fun.


So, at first I thought all of Allison’s affectations about jobs were just her inner diva (and child) shining through, basically just “spouting off” because she might be afraid to grow up.  But then I came to an eye-opening realization: I’ve lived in this Dallas suburb over 17 years and I really, honestly, haven’t seen a lot of neighborhood teens “on the job”.  I mean, the clerks at the neighborhood CVS, Starbucks, and Half Price Books are grad students from the nearby university; the “sandwich artists” at Subway recently arrived in America and need every minimum wage hour they can get just to survive; many of the cashiers at the grocery store and Hallmark shop are long-time grandmothers. There is no “newspaper boy”; our papers are delivered by a hard-working family man.  Sure, a lot of teens are over-scheduled with sports and other extra-curriculars and their parents want free time spent on studying, so I understand the lack of teen workers during the school year.  And I know the economy has made adults now compete for jobs previously taken by teens.


But I believe another reason I don’t see a lot of teen workers around here any more, even in the summer, is the increase of helicopter parents–giving kids whatever they need and not expecting anything in return, raising a bunch of inept kids who just can’t leave the nest when it’s time. The more years I live here, the more I see the results of that kind of parenting.  It’s no wonder these parents are showing up at their kids’ post-college job interviews and talking benefits with their kids’ HR managers–they’ve never encouraged their kids to be independent and work at anything previously.


Yes, it’s a sad situation, but those of us trying to raise functioning adults, and those trying to become functioning adults, stand to benefit from their mistakes.   Because the more that helicopter parents helicopter, and keep their kids out of the job market, the more jobs will be open for my teen.  And the real world experience that she can gain now will be invaluable, and will make her even more marketable later in life. 


Now, if only I could get her to see that.