Saturday, January 05, 2008

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter parents - the five most common kinds.

The Agent
Operates like a footballer's agent: fixing deals, arranging contracts, smoothing out local difficulties. It's the Agent's job to represent his or her client at events which, for whatever reason, the client feels are simply too tedious to attend. Having an Agent helicopter parent is like having Max Clifford working for you round the clock. For free.

The Banker
Accessible online, face to face or via personal hotline, the Banker is unique in the world of financial services for charging no APR, asking few if any questions, expecting no collateral, and being psychologically inclined to say 'yes' no matter how illogical or poorly articulated the request. The Banker is also resigned to never seeing loans repaid.

[Yeah, that's us]

The White Knight
Imbued with an almost semi-mythical status, the White Knight parent appears at little to no notice to resolve awkward situations. Once resolved, the White Knight will fade anonymously into the background. Intervention is accomplished silently and with minimum fuss.

The Bodyguard
The primary function of the Bodyguard is to protect the client from a range of embarrassing social situations - such as cancelling appointments and soaking up complaints on behalf of their client. Particularly skilled in constructing elaborate excuses. When not protecting life, limb and reputation, doubles up as a chauffeur and personal assistant.

The Black Hawk
Named after the military helicopter, and dreaded by teachers and educational administrators, the Black Hawk is unique among helicopter parents due to their willingness to go to any lengths - legal or illegal - to give their offspring a positional advantage over any competition. Particularly lethal when elected to parent-teacher associations.

[From Dr Paul Redmond, head of the careers & employability service at Liverpool University here].

Adrian called us from Sun Peaks, Canada to update us on his snowboarding instructing. Apparently he spends most of his time teaching skiing, as this is where the demand is. He has taken to storing his spare skis and snowboards with his friends' parents ("they have big homes").

This is an example of what we call The Chinook variant of helicopter parenting - using someone else's parents as well as your own.