The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Overparenting has its downsides

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

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Parents in this generation tend to get a little overprotective of their children and sometimes get too involved with their children’s activities. Parents step in and defend their children even when their child is in the wrong. Struggling grades are now no longer the student’s fault but the teacher’s lack of accommodating for each specific child’s learning styles. According to research from the University of California, some children are too reliant and taught to just expect things instead of earning them. According Tech Crunch, the average child to get smartphone is just over 10 years old. I’m sorry, but no 10-year-old really needs a smartphone. I understand that some children need a phone to contact their parents in emergencies, but a smartphone is not an emergency phone by any stretch of the imagination.

Children today don’t understand that they need to prove themselves. Instead they often expect society to help them along the way to success because that’s what their parents did, especially in wealthier homes. Studies from the American Educational Research Association have found alarming privilege gaps between low- and high-income homes, including resources and parent availability. What’s really scary now is that this phenomenon is no longer just in elementary schools. According to the journal Education + Training, it’s moving into high schools and even college, which can only become a bigger problem.

The Elementary School Journal, Science Education and other scholarly articles have shown that parents of children in elementary schools now expect teachers and instructors to teach to a child’s specific learning style, which has led to teachers using multiple approaches in a single classroom for instruction. While this makes sense in that every child has a chance to learn the material in a method that suits them, it doesn’t help them with expectations for the future. High school and college instructors are not always going to take what is best for each individual student into account. While it’s easy to do with a classroom of 20, it’s harder to do with a lecture class of 80 or even 800, which is possible at schools with more than 20,000 students.

Although some students who flew through primary school with all of the ribbons and stickers and congratulatory letters may be able to function and even thrive in a lecture-style setting, others may not. Studies from the journal Social Forces have suggested it’s better for students to struggle in elementary school than to realize they don’t know what they’re doing in high school or college where there’s more at stake. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, has bemoaned college “students’ emotional fragility,” in the classroom in Psychology Today. Gray also argued that parents have had a huge role in this fragility, citing the overprotective nature of current parents.

To connect this to recent events, I can’t think of a better example of parents stepping in too much than the Ball family. LaVar Ball, a retired basketball player, is a father who was trying to his sons’ reputations. Unfortunately, he’s trying to do that by making media attention instead of helping his sons shine on their own academic ability. Ball claimed that his sons, who are all basketball players, are worth at least $1 billion in contracts, which not even any current professional player has come even close to having that. Ball’s sons are talented, but he is arrogant, and that takes away some of the magic of their play.

For example, LaMelo Ball, who currently plays basketball at his high school, dropped 92 points in a 146-123 victory. While 92 points in a high school game sounds absolutely amazing, looking deeper into the game reveals some negative light. To start, the fact a high school basketball game finished with a total score 269 should be a huge red flag, since few NBA games finish with a final total score that high. When you see the game footage, LaMelo is standing in the opposing half the entire time and never goes back on defense. He would just catch deep passes and get the easy layup. Playing a man down defense would explain the opponent’s high score and how LaMelo was able to get on offense so quickly; he never left. So parents, let the Ball family be an example: help your child to succeed on their own merit. Don’t push them to try and find superficial shortcuts to success.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Overparenting has its downsides