The word “parenting” hasn’t been around for long, according to a report on childhood in the magazine The Economist. Only since the mid-1970s, says the report, has raising a child been called “parenting” – where the parent takes full responsibility for ensuring good behaviour, successful schooling, athletic prowess, musical accomplishment, social confidence, and on and on.
But since the 1970s we’ve moved from plain parenting to “helicopter parenting”, says The Economist.
Parents are expected to fill a child’s day “with round-the-clock activities, from music to sports to sleepovers; going to great lengths to get him or her into the right schools; and strictly supervising homework.” “The parents may not like it,” says the article, “but they feel they have no choice because all their friends are doing the same thing.”
As kids return to school, the media is awash with parenting news and advice, shaming parents to do more to give their child any sort of advantage.