Every time I read about a mother hiding behind the bushes with binoculars during her daughter's college orientation or pleading with a potential employer on behalf of her son, I become a better parent.
I often say that I have never actually met a helicopter parent. At least not one who describes themself that way. Everyone KNOWS a helicopter parent -- one who hovers and intrudes and smothers -- but they are always someone ELSE.
I can't say that anymore.
I know our 12-year-old is going to ask for assurance that something like that can never happen to her and would never happen where we live. And I know there will be nightmares and much more anxiety to come for her when neither I nor her dad can make her that promise.
Trophy children are motivated when they are able to see how they will benefit from a situation. In order to find the divorce payoffs, trophy kids should spend time brainstorming what they want when the divorce is final.
We may think that rewarding every child will make them feel good -- and it may, for a moment. But it may also make them feel that they are entitled to praise and recognition for merely existing. And that does no one any favors.
Often, I've seen parents look to impress the student tour guides as if they were the actual admissions officers. The parents seem only interested in making it clear how amazing they think their kids are.
In 20 years of writing, I have taken strong positions on reproductive rights, marriage equality, affirmative action... Never have I received as much hate mail as when I admitted that, as a mother, I am flawed.