In my book, state-level policymaking should be like good parenting. It should incentivize the behaviors you’re looking to inspire, grant autonomy (when your charges have earned it), and refrain from too much meddling or coddling. It should be transparent and honest, truthful about tradeoffs between short-term discomfort and long-term gain, and motivated by a clear compass rooted in what’s in the best interest of the kids’ wellbeing.
So why does Ohio’s latest softening on what we expect of our high schoolers bring to mind so many parallels to helicopter parenting? Allow me to explain.
I first learned about helicopter parenting from my husband, a psychotherapist who counsels a number of adolescents and young adults. Years ago, he began noting (broadly, never in specifics) that many young people he counseled seemed to lack the fortitude and emotional resilience to overcome basic life obstacles. For instance, they might have a panic attack after earning a “C” on a paper, find themselves bedridden with depression if they didn’t get into their first-choice college, or wind up suicidal after a break-up with a girlfriend or boyfriend.
A common thread among these clients was that their parents tended to “hover,” micromanaging their lives...