Great new article in the NY Times about changing parenting styles. It's one of those articles that makes me feel like, yes...someone finally understands me! I grew up in a time where it was safe to ride my bike to the park, and I did it on a daily basis. One of the reasons I love living in a (very) small town is because I feel relatively safe allowing my kids to walk or ride their bikes to their friends house, or let them go to one of the two local pools without adult supervision. I am limited in the "opportunities" for extra-curricular activities available for my kids, which makes it that much easier not to worry about what they are missing. They are growing up much in the same way I did.
It works for me. My kids take (or took) music lessons in school. Public school. Public school teachers. Who are really very good at what they teach. It's an amazing concept, I know. My son is a Boy Scout. He goes camping every month or two. He learns how to help other people and to be a good citizen. My daughter was a Girl Scout until she graduated High School--learning and doing much the same. My daughter got a job when she turned 16. I expect my son to get a job when he turns 16. This is life. This is what the rest of us did.
I suspect the helicoptering goes back to this sense of entitlement that we have been fed. We all have to have big houses and cars, send our kids to multiple classes so that they will get into the best colleges. We must have only the biggest and the best of everything. But you know what? There is so much more to life than stuff. So much more, and even if it is only the economy that is moving society "backwards" to a simpler time, at least we are getting back to it. When our kids do things they want to do, and they do it for themselves, they become better people. They gain a sense of accomplishment from their own successes and their own choices. They learn better. They don't have a sense of urgency without knowing what is causing it.
In short, they become the people we want them to become.