Saturday, June 07, 2008


Japan's 'monster' parents take centre stage

Every little girl in the play was Snow White. Why? Because of "monster parents" -- who can't stand the idea that their precious snowflake isn't the center of absolutely everybody's universe.

I saw this when I was teaching in Korea -- schools trying to juggle the conflicting and unreasonable demands of parents. If their kid is a bit slow, they want the teacher to ignore the other kids so their kid catches up. If their kid is bright, they want him to get extra attention to nurture his giftedness. And the fact that a teacher can't pay exclusive attention to one kid in a classroom full of kids doesn't get factored in.

And we see it in the US, too. Parents whose kids break the rules, but when they suffer consequences, Mom and Dad want the rules abolished so that there is no disappointment for their precious little snowflake.

And I wonder -- is this over-compensating for something?

Is the fact that Mom aborted several babies waiting for the "perfect" time to have this one a factor? Or that she aborted several babies after this one so she could focus on him or her?

I'd love to see a study of whether or not there's a relationship between mom's history of abortions and the "helicopter parent" phenomenon. I'd be willing to bet that the link is there. Especially when the worst offenders seem to live in countries, or parts of this country, where abortion is considered normative, used to focus the family's resources -- emotional, financial, and logistical.

Parents who are willing to kill the child's siblings so they can focus their own energy on him can't view it as too unreasonable to ask that other people's kids get ignored or trampled on his behalf. It probably seems a small price in comparison.

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