Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lukianoff and Haight: The Coddling Of The American Mind: Doubts

Though I'm glad to see these guys on the case, as I've already said, I'm not whole-heartedly behind their view. One thing I'm skeptical of is the explanation of "vindictive protectiveness" in terms of helicopter parenting. In a section titled "How Did We Get Here?," they write:
...the answer probably involves generational shifts as well. Childhood itself has changed greatly during the past generation. Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can remember riding their bicycles around their hometowns, unchaperoned by adults, by the time they were 8 or 9 years old. In the hours after school, kids were expected to occupy themselves, getting into minor scrapes and learning from their experiences. But “free range” childhood became less common in the 1980s. The surge in crime from the ’60s through the early ’90s made Baby Boomer parents more protective than their own parents had been. Stories of abducted children appeared more frequently in the news, and in 1984, images of them began showing up on milk cartons. In response, many parents pulled in the reins and worked harder to keep their children safe.
Could be. But it's a pretty speculative stab at an answer. It's a perfectly fine hypothesis...but it's false to say that the answer "probably" involves this stuff.

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