SL 747

So what do you think about AOC’s GND?

Is there anything horrific in your college or high school yearbook?

It’s not really a surprise, but helicopter parenting works.

61 thoughts on “SL 747

  1. My high school yearbook has a picture of my grandma in it. Also a picture of a guy with his shirt tail sticking through the fly of his trousers. I’m responsible for both.


  2. I honestly don’t know about the yearbooks.

    I do remember one of my younger relatives being costumed to play a Mexican in some sort of 1980s church program, to the point of dying her hair for the show. I expect that’s not OK now.

    With all the talk of social media, who knew that yearbooks were such a ticking time bomb?


  3. The helicopter parenting article suffers from the same flaws as most newspaper articles of that type: it reports the results of a single study, the writer of the article surely has not reviewed and analyzed the statistical evidence, and probably lacks the knowledge and ability to do so, the importance of the dependent variable can be questioned, the study itself may well be the result of data mining, we have no assurance that the study can be replicated, we have only the reporter’s word that even the obvious confounding variables have been controlled, and no assurance at all that variables whose effect is not immediately obvious have been controlled.


    1. I appreciate that media coverage of science reporting has some weakness, but if you want all those questions answered, you really need to read the journal article. There’s no way to present that kind of information in something for a broad audience. You’d just make it dull and unreadable.


      1. Before us lie two options: our work can be either dull and unreadable or superficial and meaningless. Let us hope that we will choose wisely.


      2. I’m just saying, journalism requires the ability to abstract the crucial bits and to get the gist of a new topic in short order. It’s a real skill, one that in my experience the people who do statical analysis don’t have, because thinking like that is antithetical to doing a good job with statistical analysis.


      3. I do believe that Druckerman did not do a very good job of abstracting this study, trying to hard to tie it to buzzwords like “helicopter”.


    2. I agree with MH that Y81’s dismissal was generic. Many reports are going to be about single studies, few journalists can analyze in any significant way statistical evidence and even those people who can can’t take the time to independently analyze the statistics on every study they might wish to consider (that’s what peer review is for). I’m not sure what the “importance of the dependent variable means”, but if it means that systems are complex and there might be many dependent variables, that’s almost always true, as well.

      We can only have assurance of replication when a study is replicated (and, this study is an analysis for a national data base, so, I don’t know what “replication” means in this instance). I’m not sure what you mean be “controlling” variables, but indeed, in epidemiological studies of this type, it is unlikely that every variable that could conceivably affect the results is available or is being “controlled”. Our assurance that obvious confounds and consideration of other variables is, again, supposed to be peer review.

      The standard you set, with boilerplate criticism, can never be reached. That doesn’t make the science that suffers from these considerations invalid.


      1. When I refer to the dependent variable, I mean that very few people I know have any great concern with their children’s performance on the PISA. Has it been shown to correlate meaningfully with individual children’s overall life prospects? Isn’t it designed to evaluate educational systems, not individuals? I don’t know why it would be a particularly good metric to evaluate parenting methods.


  4. I agree that the Druckerman article was slippery. Marianne asks whether we’re talking about intensive or helicopter parenting and the Doepke study is actually about authoritative parenting. And, in the summery, Druckerman compares authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting.

    I took the quiz:

    and, I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to hear that I am an “authoritative” parent:

    “You don’t think that children should have unlimited freedom, but neither do you expect blind obedience. Instead, you aim to guide your child through reasoning and persuasion . . . .” (and, the rest of the summary is a pretty good expression of my parenting philosophy, though I’ve certainly never written it down anywhere). I sometimes slip into authoritarian and sometimes into permissive (out of laziness), but authoritative is what I’m usually aiming for.

    I’m pretty sure that everyone I know is authoritative, though not everyone engages in intensive or helicopter parenting.


    1. Here’s a funny fact:

      I came out “permissive”! I was having trouble liking the answers, though. I do have trouble getting worked up about pizza for little kids or age-appropriate shenanigans. Some problems are developmental, and if you don’t freak out, they will go away.

      But on the other hand, I was reading the “your 15-year-old came home at 1 AM thing” and feeling deeply disapproving.

      The math/cartooning question hit pretty close to home, though.


      1. I was trying to answer the college question to conform with the real answer (that we plan to have our kids live at home and go to Hometown U.), but went with the drugs and alcohol answer.


      2. OK, that Amy is a permissive parent seems so unlikely that I’m now unable to pat myself on the back for being the “authoritative” parent I desire to be based on the validity of the quiz!

        Here’s the whole text for “authoritative”, which I saved:
        “You are an authoritative parent. You don’t think that children should have unlimited freedom, but neither do you expect blind obedience. Instead, you aim to guide your child through reasoning and persuasion. When you set limits you explain why you do so. According to Diana Baumrind,who coined the concept of a parenting style, an authoritative parent ‘attempts to direct the child’s activities but in a rational, issue-oriented manner. She encourages verbal give and take, shares with the child the reasoning behind her policy, and solicits his objections when he refuses to conform. . . . She enforces her own perspective as an adult, but recognizes the child’s individual interests and special ways. The authoritative parent affirms the child’s present qualities but also sets standards for future conduct. She uses reason, power, and shaping by regime and reinforcement to achieve her objects, and does not base her decisions on group consensus or the individual child’s desires.'”


      3. I came out as permissive, too! But I think that maybe our parental style might be different because we’re dealing with kids with a different set of needs. Also, my kids are so risk-averse that I don’t really need to crack down on risk-taking behaviors.


      4. Wendy said,

        “I came out as permissive, too! But I think that maybe our parental style might be different because we’re dealing with kids with a different set of needs. Also, my kids are so risk-averse that I don’t really need to crack down on risk-taking behaviors.”


        OK, now Laura needs to do it!

        I told my husband about this test and he was querying the big kids. At least one of them said I was permissive. Then when I asked the big kids myself, the 8th grader said I was permissive and the 11th grader said that she didn’t know how to judge, seeing as how she has only one set of parents. Fair!

        I told the 11th grader that kids are supposed to believe that their parents are super strict.

        (For context, the teens don’t have cell phones, they don’t do social media, and they only get computers in their rooms once in a blue moon. We’re fairly lax on gaming out in the living room, though.)


      5. These quizzes (and this one is a quiz, I think, and not a survey) are always like that — they never have the answer you want. This one was particularly interesting in that it threw in motivations — like violin playing will help with college or that a teacher would give daily reports that were just not generally true.

        I don’t know how the authors developed the quiz, but there are research surveys which calculate an Authoritative Parent Index (API), though, which seems to be used in analysis of parenting & child development/health risk.

        The term, “Authoritative” seems originate from work in the 70’s by Baumrind (Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monographs, 4, 1-103.). I find one reference to an index, developed by Robinson et al, in 1995 (Robinson, C. C., Mandleco, B., Olsen, S. F., & Hart, C. H. (1995). Authoritative,authoritarian, and permissive parenting practices: Development of a new measure. Psychological Reports, 77, 819-830.) I don’t know if this is the standard survey/index used in subsequent studies (including the book/work that Druckerman cites in the article).


  5. bj said,

    “OK, that Amy is a permissive parent seems so unlikely that I’m now unable to pat myself on the back for being the “authoritative” parent I desire to be based on the validity of the quiz!”

    I probably blew the test’s circuits by being much more relaxed about little kid stuff than big kid stuff.

    Husband and I are watching Eighth Grade right now:

    My teens (16 and 13) don’t have phones. I feel really good about that!


    1. Someone definitely needs to write a book on the Enquirer. A few weeks before the election, when everyone else was blissfully optimistic, I was still very very nervous, and this was confirmed by an Enquirer cover I saw at the grocery store that described how Hillary was a racist (or something). And I thought, millions of people are seeing this at the grocery store and believing it. I was sure he would win because of this very thing.

      As a non-parent I’m very tempted to take the quiz and base my answers on every judgment I’ve ever made about niece/nephew/cousins/friend’s children.

      I don’t think even the stupidest, most obnoxious people at my high school and college (both in the midwest) in the 80s would have even thought to dress in blackface. I believe the halloween costumes would have been possible – what now seems inappropriate, at the time would have seemed like an okay homage to Michael Jackson or whoever. But the KKK hood and blackface – no way. It’s unbelievable to me that you would have seen that kind of thing at a medical school in those same years.


      1. Yeah, the National Enquirer’s editorial slant was very interesting during the 2016 election, given that they probably had entire vaults of Trump material that they weren’t using at the most obvious time.

        Megan McArdle had some interesting things to say about the historical precedent–scandal sheets during the teens and twenties that were thinly-disguised blackmail mills:

        You could buy your way out of getting covered by them.


  6. We are having snowpocalypse! I had to field a request to drive across the city with the plan to return when the snowflakes started to fall and a plan to walk home from school and stop to sled along the way. I said no to the first (friend travelled instead, and has returned home — I’m not sure if that means her parents are more permissive) and yes to the second (but the kids decided to come home, which I am relieved about).


    1. We used to do all kinds of stuff that I probably won’t let my son, mostly because I know too many kids who died from drinking and driving. Driving in blizzards was safer, at least in a place as flat as Nebraska. One night, we drove around picking people up to go watch movies in my basement. Nobody’s parents said no. I think because they were pretty sure my parents wouldn’t let kids drink in their house, or maybe they were just sick of them after two days snowed in.


    2. The flat makes a huge difference. Everyone complains about PNW in the snow, but we have 1) hills and 2) limited snow removal equipment and 3) snow that falls near freezing, and melts and refreezes. I had the adventure of slipping down a steep hill, backwards, last week.

      I’ve lived in Chicago, so I know snow, but, it’s not fair to compare to flat places. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is hilly.


  7. I also came out as authoritative but I didn’t love the quiz. I usually wanted to create a 5th option of what I would have really done. (But no way is my 17 year old going on a trip with a 19 year old she’s only been dating for 2 months. 18, yes. 17, no.)

    ….but if you want to see true “helicopter” parenting – one just needs to visit the “2022 parents” facebook page that my kid’s college set up. In that setting, I’m the most permissive parent in the universe. I’m shocked at how involved some of these parents are in their kid’s college experience.


    1. “but if you want to see true “helicopter” parenting – one just needs to visit the “2022 parents” facebook page that my kid’s college set up.”

      Heh, I know what you mean. It’s hilarious. One of the parents has hired a housecleaner for her son “to ease his burden.” Also, with the recent cold snap, they were freaking out and organizing petitions over the college not cancelling classes.


      1. “One of the parents has hired a housecleaner for her son “to ease his burden.””

        If we are talking a dorm room (which ideally only requires vacuuming once a term), WOW.

        Of course, “ease his burden” may be mom-ese for “to keep him from living in total filth and squalor.”

        (One of the girls on my floor in college once complained that her roommate with mono was leaving cups of vomit around their room–the kid with mono could have used A LOT more helicoptering.)

        I have already mentioned the college laundry business here a couple times–yes, you can get through an entire college career without touching a washing machine!

        A lot of this stuff eliminates the whole point of having 18-year-olds leave home.


      2. When my brother was in college, he and three other guys shared a dorm bathroom that they were supposed to be in charge of cleaning.

        HA HA HA!

        My brother said that it was a sort of game of chicken to see who would get grossed out first and do some cleaning.

        One of my former cleaning ladies reported doing a move-out job on a local student apartment that involved cleaning jello shots from the walls.


      3. Just now on the parents group, a kid has broken his ankle, and the discussion is over whether the mom should drive 5 hours to campus to pick him up and bring him home to the orthopedist to get a hard cast. (Note, there are at last 3 orthopedics practices in the college town.)


      4. I’m watching the Warren announcement (partly because my husband is there, and partly because when I turned on the tv to watch last night’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Joe Kennedy was on my screen and I love him, then the song 9 to 5 came on, and I just got hooked). Anyway, Warren just told a story about how she potty trained her oldest in 5 days thanks to 3 bags of M&Ms and a cooperative toddler. I have to admit, I am skeptical. 😀


      5. wow – haven’t seen a housekeeper yet on ours. (But lots of cold weather freaking out on ours too).

        It’s the “reaching out to the school to complain about the unfair B my kid got” stuff that just dumbfounds me. First, if it’s a hard class, a B in college is awesome. Second, the kid probably earned whatever grade they got.


      6. Sophomore year, I lived in a rented house with six other guys. One day the refrigerator got to smelling so bad that one roommate forced us to clean it. The guy who pulled out the bottom drawer to clean under it got hit with a horrible smell as soon as he disturbed the surface of the liquid pooled there. He barely made it outside to vomit.


  8. Authoritative; my husband came out as authoritarian. Which is hilarious, as I perceive him as the more permissive parent of us two. It probably comes down to him using outright “nos,” where I’m more likely to hear the arguments and talk to other parents.

    Camping trip: I’d hear the argument out, but it would depend on the plans. There’s a big difference between someone she met two months ago, and someone she knows well, but only started dating 2 months ago. We did ok a high school trip with a circle of friends (dating couples), but the host boy is an experienced wilderness guide. In the event, the trip didn’t happen, as the host’s parents managed to schedule a family event for the same week. (And the lesson is: other parents are great allies.)

    However, consider that 12 months later, college students go off on trips to far more dangerous places, like Spring Break and Cancun.

    Math teacher: no option for home help in math concepts, such as tutoring or Khan academy? In any event, daily teacher updates are not. going. to. happen.

    Kid stressed out by laid back teacher: been there. Done that. I didn’t know she firmly told the teachers she wanted grades, not portfolio feedback, as she was plotting her escape from the school. Fortunately, libraries are free.

    Basketball/soccer: Let the kid play soccer. It’s a much better ticket for college admissions than violin. Also, beginning string concerts are…memorable.

    Junk food: preschoolers don’t drive cars. They do eat when hungry.

    Authororitative parenting is not helicopter parenting, though. And there does seem to be mounting evidence that helping your kid win all the prizes might be a bad long term strategy: .


    1. Among NYC parents, the theory is to get your kid into a relatively niche sport, like lacrosse or squash. Soccer you are competing with a hundred immigrant children, and basketball you are competing with the kids in Harlem, but every school you want your kids to go to has a squash team, and the ones in the Northeast all have lax.


      1. Lacrosse is not niche, especially in the Mid-Atlantic states. Squash is international; looking at Ivy League rosters, Egypt, Ireland, UK, Israel feature prominently. Tennis, swimming, diving, I’d look to warmer states.

        Which is all to say that while not many people may play lacrosse or squash in NYC, the elite universities have their pick of the best players in the world.

        The best sport for admissions seems to be crew, especially good coxswains.

        Then again, if a student’s actually being recruited by a team, it’s an entirely different admissions process, which seems to start in summer sports camps in middle school. My kids had classmates verbally committed to colleges in sophomore year of high school. Which is off-the-scale nuts.


      2. LOL – my kid does the ultimate niche sport: fencing. If you look at the ratios, more high school fencers go on to compete in college than in any other sport. The likelihood of my kid fencing in college is LOW, but I figure it will look good on college applications.


  9. Regarding AOC’s GND–I think AOC has not been well-served by the fact that major media folk have treated her with kid gloves. She’s made a lot of minor embarrassing and amateurish remarks and been given a pass, but that all led up to this week’s big, embarrassing, protracted flub.

    I don’t know if people who follow primarily liberal media are aware of the timeline on this, but AOC’s office put a ridiculous FAQ out on the GND out on her official website and then pulled the FAQ, and then started a campaign to argue that the (real) FAQ in circulation (which contained language about “farting cows” as well as other gems) had been somehow “doctored,” while also using the argument that the FAQ was a draft that had been posted accidentally.

    I’ve seen people say that AOC was Trump-y and I didn’t really see it, but there are some familiar features:

    –be unqualified for position
    –hire unqualified staffers
    –have inflated sense of own talents/Dunning-Kruger issues
    –say dumb/untrue things randomly
    –have thin skin about criticism/be unable to admit fault
    –have fans cheer and cover for dumb/untrue stuff (in AOC’s case, a lot of media people)
    –wash, rinse, repeat

    I’ve been rather shocked recently how far major people are willing to go to carry water for political officials of their ideological persuasion–we are in the middle of a total meltdown of media credibility. Do people have no idea how hard it is to regain trust after demonstrating a willingness to fudge and lie for ideological or personal gain?


    1. OK, I’m reading through Megan McArdle’s AOC/GND piece now.

      Speaking as a homeowner, I feel pretty confident that AOC’s crew have no idea how expensive even just the energy efficiency stuff in the GND is, like “upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency.”

      Can the people who wrote that have any familiarity with homeownership?

      I would like nothing better than to replace all of the windows in our early 1990s home, but when we replaced just one unusually shaped window for fire safety reasons (it was a window that didn’t open in a room that we were using as an upstairs bedroom), it cost $950. And we have a LOT of windows.

      I really want to send AOC (and her staffers) to the kiddie table, and I get the feeling Nancy Pelosi feels the same way.

      I would love to see a TV sitcom version of this, with the matriarch from Arrested Development playing Nancy Pelosi…


      1. I think there are going to be differences by region because of differences in the cost of housing. In parts of the country where most people live, the biggest parts of the cost of housing aren’t the building/maintaining of the house, but the cost of land and taxes and various forms of scarcity.

        Something that is useful, costs a lot of money mostly because of the labor involved, and can be done over a lot of years, seems like a very good way to create jobs. Far better than than giving tax cuts to billionaires.

        Anyway, bring on the kiddie table because I’ve had it up to my ears with the elders.


    2. I think the right wing media’s fascination with AOC is misguided (and you are reflecting that fascination). She is a freshman congressperson with a big mouth. She has almost no power outside of her outspokenness. If she were to actually capture the party (say, in the form of being the presidential nominee or speaker of the house — Trump & Ryan, respectively) she might deserve the attention. Otherwise, spending time on her is bias-confirming clickbait not worth the time. Potentially robust criticism might refine AOC as a politician, but I doubt that most of the right wing media is working to improve her political skills so that she is more successful at achieving her goals. She’s probably really pleased that she has an acronym.

      Elizabeth Warren is deserving of attention (though I find her no less misleading than any than any other politician).

      I generally find outrage over Trump’s words (as opposed to his actions) to be worthy of only minor recognition (even though some of his words are truly horrifying), but, primarily because he is actually president.

      Ryan, who had a reputation for being a wonk, has had is work, in my opinion, robustly critiqued by knowledgeable minds, and yet, it had no effect whatsoever on his economic theories.


      1. I agree with bj here, and my reaction to AOC’s GND is TL;DR. (My reaction to most of Trump’s tweets would have to be something like Too Stupid; Didn’t Bother To Think About.)


      2. bj said,

        “Elizabeth Warren is deserving of attention (though I find her no less misleading than any than any other politician).”

        There are too many other Democratic candidates in the race who have her pluses (and more so) without her unique weaknesses.


      3. The Republicans are going to convince me that Social Democracy is the best path forward before they convince me that they know what they are doing.


  10. Speaking of the Green New Deal, California (AKA the fifth largest economy in the world) just put the brakes on their LA to SF high speed rail plan.

    They’re keeping the plan–except for the LA to SF part.

    It’s going to be a 160 mile stretch in the Central Valley. I guess they can ship lettuce on it or something…

    Who saw this coming?


    1. I assume this one of those phased retreats, in which after a year or two of engineering studies, the California government decides not to build the Bakersfield/Merced railroad either. Right now, they just want a decent interval.


  11. “Bakersfield/Merced railroad either.”


    I encourage everybody to look at the map of CA and be underwhelmed.

    This is a high speed rail link between the #9 city in CA by population and the #95 city, rather than between the #1 city and the #4 city (as originally advertised).


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