Author Topic: Snowplow parents  (Read 1864 times)

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Offline superdave

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Snowplow parents
« on: March 18, 2019, 11:19:53 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/16/style/snowplow-parenting-scandal.html

Quote
Today’s “snowplow parents” keep their children’s futures obstacle-free — even when it means crossing ethical and legal boundaries.

this is sort of shocking to me because my parents were the 80s/90s version of these parents and yet no where near as bad.  They did arrange a lot for me growing up, tennis and piano lessons, made sure I did my homework, helped me study for tests, arranged for me to take SAT tutoring.  But they were pretty hands-off once I finished high school.  The parents in this article are calling college professors, interfering with job interviews andw ork disputes, still making dentist appointments for their kids.  It is out of hand.
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 11:55:44 AM »
My little parenting story below is OT from the snowplow thing so I'll spoiler it.

I guess it's obvious in the article, but I really gotta wonder how closely this correlates with being rich people.  Because my folks would NOT have had the means to do this, even if they had wanted to.  I could manage a version of it if I wanted to, but not the full deal.

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 11:57:55 AM by amysrevenge »
Big Mike
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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 12:04:40 PM »
"How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood" could easily be an article about climate change. Or housing prices.

Although this is about inequality. About spoiled parents who don't pay enough tax, and who segregate themselves from the rest of society by taking their children out of it.

Offline Rai

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 12:25:12 PM »
This is mostly the ultra-privileged parasite class making sure to pass their status down the line, and i don't think that this is anything new. They have been bribing their kids through educational institutions since wealth started accumulating in the hands of a few members of society.

Though, partially, I believe this is also tied to how much harder Late Capitalism has made growing up. If you are a regular kid, you start out with crippling tuition debt, the prospect of working two jobs plus an unpaid internship into your thirties to be able to get employed in your field and still have something to eat while you are grinding out the years,  the nigh impossibility of buying a house or even a flat... Add this to the crippling pressures neoliberal education places on kids, to instill the idea that only the most successful will succeed after years of gruesome competition, parents need to invest more time and more money to give at least a fraction of the opportunity that was granted to their generation after they finished college or even secondary school.

Offline superdave

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 06:18:46 PM »
I do think some of this is new.  Parents never used to call colleges.  I remember admissions officers specifically mentioning that parents need not know your grades as a perk. Teacher friends of mine get calls weekly about what their kid could do to get there 97 to a 100 (or that 67 to 100).
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 07:10:56 PM by superdave »
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 06:46:20 PM »
I do think some of this is new.  Parents never used to call colleges.  I remember admissions officers specifically mentioning that parents need to know your grades as a perk. Teacher friends of mine get calls weekly about what their kid could do to get there 97 to a 100 (or that 67 to 100).


When I went back to school as an adult in 2004, in line at admissions (or whatever) my wife and I watched some kid leaning against a wall with headphones on, playing with whatever the 2004 verson of a GameBoy was, while his mom enrolled him in university.  He never looked up once.  It's a piece of our family lore that gets retold in fact.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 07:42:39 PM »
When I was in grade school, probably grade 6, but maybe 5, my mother was convinced that I would be good at math. The school (probably typical at the time) did not normally teach algebra, but one classroom (only one, maybe selected at random?) was given an "algebra readiness test," and students who passed were to be admitted to an algebra class. I was not in that classroom. When my mother found out, she went to the school and told whoever was in charge that they had to allow me to take the test, and somehow convinced them.

I passed the test, but just barely because while I turned out to be good at math (straight A's in math from then on) I was not good at arithmetic, which is what the test consisted of. My aptitude in math stood me well when I took the written portion of the private pilot's exam (never went on to become a pilot) and much later when I passed the Amateur Extra class amateur radio exam, which was made to be more difficult for most people by being very heavy in math, and that's the only reason I passed it.

It's the only time I am aware of when either of my parents intervened for me in school.

It's been over half a centure since I was in school not counting when I took Spanish classes as an adult, and I've forgotten almost all my math, as well as most of what I learned in school.
Daniel
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 11:39:00 AM »
My father used to relate that when he started teaching in the early 1970’s in the rare instance that a student misbehaved at school he need not be severe because he knew that they would receive worse punishment at home.  By the 2000’s, parents were frequently outraged if their children received any discipline at school; it became quite difficult because the school and child both knew that the parents would invariably take the child’s side no matter how egregious the misbehavior.

In my own career, the same has been true of academics: when I started teaching 15 years ago parents confronted with a poor grade wanted to know  what their child needed to do better; today most want to know what I’m going to do about it.  As a teacher, I accept much of the responsibility for my students’ successes and failures; but it is disheartening to know that I have less and less support from parents.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 12:17:08 PM »
I've heard similar stories to the one related by the Latinist from other teachers as well.  So, sure the notion snow plow parenting isn't limited to rich parents but they certainly have the means to do it more effectively.

I understand the impulse, I hope I can resist it and fight it in my wife. 

Also don't think it's new.  Its like the palace intrigue of concubines to kill of their rivals children or get them out of the emperor's favor or popes appointing their sons as bishops.  Its just more democratic now.

Its also clear that Rai and I live in different countries, perhaps even worlds.  The cut throat competition and crippling debt he describes is not something I've seen anywhere. 
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 12:19:20 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline seamas

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2019, 01:13:17 PM »
I do think some of this is new.  Parents never used to call colleges.  I remember admissions officers specifically mentioning that parents need not know your grades as a perk. Teacher friends of mine get calls weekly about what their kid could do to get there 97 to a 100 (or that 67 to 100).

Back when I was just about graduating college (1991) I was a good friends with an assistant professor who worked at 2-3 colleges.
At the State school where I went, he never got calls from parents. At the private school across the river? He got calls frequently from parents.

I do think affluence comes into play. My neighbor teaches at one of the best private schools in the country (40% Ivy / Stamford track). early on parents would make subtle hints of bribery, "I hear you are a Giants fan, it just so happens I can get season tickets for you…"

I think the issue has been around for a long time, only now more people have taken it up, as it appears to have been working for the people who do it.
Plus many of these parents are Generation X, many of whom were the "latchkey kids" who know the frustrations of their parent's often hand's off neglect.

Offline superdave

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2019, 02:49:16 PM »
the schools that my friends work at are in districts that aren't poor by any stretch but they are definitely middle class. 
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline Captain Video

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2019, 03:10:05 PM »
My father used to relate that when he started teaching in the early 1970’s in the rare instance that a student misbehaved at school he need not be severe because he knew that they would receive worse punishment at home.  By the 2000’s, parents were frequently outraged if their children received any discipline at school; it became quite difficult because the school and child both knew that the parents would invariably take the child’s side no matter how egregious the misbehavior.

In my own career, the same has been true of academics: when I started teaching 15 years ago parents confronted with a poor grade wanted to know  what their child needed to do better; today most want to know what I’m going to do about it.  As a teacher, I accept much of the responsibility for my students’ successes and failures; but it is disheartening to know that I have less and less support from parents.

I wish they had your dads attitude in my school in the 70s and early 80s. The amount of abuse from teachers during that time period was sickening (at least in my "middle class" school). I'm glad parents became outraged about school discipline and put an end to it (probably because they themselves had been abused by their schools). 

It may have gotten out of hand and could pull back a few notches but Ill take it compared to the nightmare I had to endure.  I never had kids and I regret it but if I had I would be in that school every step of the way making sure what happened to my generation does not happen to them. 
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2019, 03:21:38 PM »
I wish they had your dads attitude in my school in the 70s and early 80s. The amount of abuse from teachers during that time period was sickening (at least in my "middle class" school). I'm glad parents became outraged about school discipline and put an end to it (probably because they themselves had been abused by their schools). 

It may have gotten out of hand and could pull back a few notches but Ill take it compared to the nightmare I had to endure.  I never had kids and I regret it but if I had I would be in that school every step of the way making sure what happened to my generation does not happen to them.

I think there must be/have been a great deal of regional variation in the above - in my region in the early 80s and beyond, it wasn't all that far off from what I see in my kid's school now.
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Offline Captain Video

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2019, 04:13:22 PM »
I wish they had your dads attitude in my school in the 70s and early 80s. The amount of abuse from teachers during that time period was sickening (at least in my "middle class" school). I'm glad parents became outraged about school discipline and put an end to it (probably because they themselves had been abused by their schools). 

It may have gotten out of hand and could pull back a few notches but Ill take it compared to the nightmare I had to endure.  I never had kids and I regret it but if I had I would be in that school every step of the way making sure what happened to my generation does not happen to them.

I think there must be/have been a great deal of regional variation in the above - in my region in the early 80s and beyond, it wasn't all that far off from what I see in my kid's school now.

I'm sure abuse varied greatly from school to school but almost all schools in the 70s allowed corporal punishment.  Did they paddle the kids in your school?  Did the teachers cut holes in the paddles for less wind resistance?

As young kids we were locked in dark closets as punishment (mom did go in and fight that forcing them to stop), one teacher picked me up by my ears in 5th grade, i'm big and it hurt me badly, today it would be assault. Another constantly pinched me under my arms until I cried for not being able to correctly write in cursive on those stupid 3 lined papers. Dont even get me started on Jr High where paddling became more frequent and harder. In the 70s and 80s stuff like that seemed to be the norm.  I didn't really get in any trouble for acting out, I may have been a loud kid but most of that was related to my failure with my studies or no homework.

Other kids got it much worse than me and most of those kids were in lower income brackets.  I watched two brothers who were constantly punished for not having proper gym cloths, Just looking at them you knew dam well the parents could not afford them or didn't care to make sure the kids had them, why punish the kids? Fuck that school.  By the time I got to High school I had enough and walked away from it.  I'm sure some kids in my school got through it with no abuse and may not even have been aware it was going on. Watching some kid get picked up by his ears was comedy to them back then, not abuse. 
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Snowplow parents
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2019, 05:13:22 PM »
When I spoke of discipline I certainly did not mean any sort of physical abuse or corporal punishment. A loss of privileges, perhaps, or a time-out.  Although a little research shows me that corporal punishment in schools was not legally banned in Vermont until 1985, I’m not aware of it being used even before that, and I certainly did not witness it at any point after I entered elementary school in 1982.

If you don’t mind my asking, Captain Video, in what state did you have these experiences?
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