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This is a question Helicopter Parents

Back when young ScaryDuck worked in the Dole office rather than simply queuing in it, he had to deal with a claimant brought in by his mum. She did all the talking. He was 40 years old.

Have you had to deal with over-protective parents? Get your Dad to tell us all about it.

(, Thu 10 Sep 2009, 15:13)
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How I discovered I'm not a helicopter parent
When my twin sons were about eighteen months old I began taking them to the parent and toddler group at the local Steiner school. For those of you who haven't heard of them, Steiner schools are what could best be described as Proper Hippy Schools - no uniform, small classes, holistic teaching, no plastic, all wood and natural items - in many respects they're lovely but they do attract a particular type of parent.

I'd already tried the local mother and toddler group in a draughty village hall where the organiser - a large lady called Shirley, wore a pink sweatshirt with a strange design printed across the front - when I got closer to her I realised the 'strange design' was in fact a variety of food stains left behind by one of her offspring, all of whom sported dark green candles dripping from their grubby noses. I got chatting to one of the other mothers and felt the very real need to kill her after approximately three minutes of her recounting in great detail the contents of last night's nappy from little Wayne who was now licking the peeling paintwork around the hall. This wasn't the place for us - I'm a snob and wanted 'nice' friends for my young sons.

So we went to the Steiner group where the room was a beautiful airy space with bean bags to sit on and lots of wooden toys to play with. One parent would make bread from scratch in the kitchen area while the rest of us crafted something seasonally appropriate with our children. We were the odd ones out from the beginning - I allowed the boys to wear clothes from chain stores which had been mass produced rather than the gorgeous hand-printed hemp smocks that many of the others wore. I had cut the boys hair, had always had a routine with them (believe me, with twins and for the sake of my sanity this was necessary) and they had their own cots rather than us all sleeping together in our authentic Yurt. Despite this I liked going because the conversation with the other adults there was usually quite demanding - many of them worked in the creative industries, academia and were in short your usual woolly live-yoghurt and eat your own placenta liberal - pretty much like me then (apart from the placenta bit).

I didn't count on my kids being more the chav type though.

Son #1 soon tried to start his own protection racket based in the blanket tent and featuring pay in organic raisins in return for not being smacked about the head with an environmentally friendly unpainted non-gender specific wheeled vehicle.

Son #2 decided to go on a rampage with a wooden sword (a large stick) which also doubled as a machine gun - both appropriate weapons in his battle against the evil flower fairies and wood spirits that lived in the wild area of the garden.

The kindly non-offensive, non-threatening, non-judgemental, love to all beings group leader - leader in a non-patriarchal, non-hierarchical, commune way - commented gently to me that my sons perhaps had some unresolved anger based upon their surgical arrival into the world - they were big buggers and the only way they were getting out was through the sun-roof.

All was fairly okay in a walking on free-range egg shells way until the final half hour after we'd eaten the freshly baked bread and drank locally sourced apple juice. The morning always ended with a singing session - adults singing 'The Wheels on the Bus' while the little darlings sat on their parents knees and sucked thumbs and filled their environmentally friendly reusable nappies. Apart from mine, which is when I realised that I'm not a proper helicopter parent because I while I was happily ringing the bell on the bus, Ding! Ding! my sons were going for authentic sound effects.... I tried to fit in with the other non-judgemental, child-centred parents by smiling indulgently at the boys and whispering very gently across the room,
"Now please don't do that darlings, come and sing with me"
Bang, bang, bang, *manic toddler laugh*
"I really think you ought to stop doing that sweetheart, wouldn't you like to sing a nice song now?"

*I've blanked the next bit out of my memory - it required a great deal of medicinal wine*

The 'leader' suggested that the boys were not best suited to the gentle ways of the group and it seems that fire extinguishers go off quite easily when hit repeatedly by twin toddlers.
(, Tue 15 Sep 2009, 21:53, 20 replies)
This is exactly why i wont let my daughter go to a steiner school with the tree huggers. they need dicipline at times not a sodding organic garlic lentil bake reward for fairy dancing. Result ?? yet another argument with my ex.
(, Tue 15 Sep 2009, 22:10, closed)
I just can't see you in a "hippy" type group.

Apart from to mock them, that is :)
(, Tue 15 Sep 2009, 22:32, closed)
I aspire to be a hippy
but I think I'm too common and perhaps too cynical to be a true tree-hugger.
(, Tue 15 Sep 2009, 22:41, closed)
that sounds rather like me
especially the cynical bit
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 0:18, closed)
oh god, the memories...
i was a steiner victim. my mother believed the airy-fairy shite, and my dad liked it because it was about 1/4 the cost of other private schools. our school was constructed entirely without right angles, because they're ``harsh and unnatural, man.'' we never got such goodies as apple juice -- it was usually horrid herbal tea made with the school's foul-smelling well water.
(, Tue 15 Sep 2009, 22:44, closed)
Medicinal Wine.
I like that. :D *click*
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 1:15, closed)
Rainbow Toddlers?
Cherry Trees Kindergarten? Fuck me, sounds like the Modern Parents strip from Viz.
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 5:11, closed)
Dead Kennedys
Brill. As I read that I could hear "California uber Alles" going round and round in my head. Zen fascists will control you. 100% natural, etc ,etc.
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 9:52, closed)
Oh yes
Definitely a certain type of parent.

Also a certain type of child- my loving partner taught, briefly at one in Central Australia, and the school, being accepting and lovely (for a cost) ended up as a last resort school for kids that, for *whatever* reason, got booted out of everywhere else...

Plus the fucking psychos that ran the place...
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 10:54, closed)
I'd already clicked by the time I read "I got chatting to one of the other mothers and felt the very real need to kill her after approximately three minutes." That was hilarious.
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 11:08, closed)
"smacked about the head with an environmentally friendly unpainted non-gender specific wheeled vehicle"
Lovely. Clicketty
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 13:11, closed)
Nice one!
When I had thoughts of becoming a primary school teacher, and needed a referee to enrol on a PGCE, I decided to sign our little'un up with the local Woodcraft Folk group (That's "cubs and brownies for anti-fascists" to you). There was one angelic little boy whose party piece was to roar like a lion (bless). Amusing the first time, not so much the second...by the end of the session my ears were ringing and I was close to throttling both him and his moustachio'd mum.

"Cumbya my [insert supreme being of choice], cumbya"

Anyone for the Parachute game?
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 14:45, closed)
Me! Me! Me!

(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 14:57, closed)

I've always thought that should have been the theme song to One Man and His Dog
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 15:05, closed)
Bunch of bloody nutters
We looked at sending our son to a Waldorf/Steiner school. The school was lovely, fantastic buildings with lots of bushland around and a very open and friendly feel. Then they started on the "no TV, no radio, no computers until the child is 5" bollocks, I can kind of see their point but when they found out I worked for HP they looked at me as if I'd shat in their camomile tea.

Not long after I learned about their "anthroposophy" cobblers; fairys are real and other crap. Then heard of their banning the use of certain colours as they are "unpure". One Asian child could not draw a picture of his family and colour their skin with a brown crayon.

More info on the heid cases here - www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,22147228-2702,00.html
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 15:03, closed)
"through the sun-roof"
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 17:38, closed)
you have just encapsulated my feelings about Rudolph Steiner parents.

The philosophy is quite sound, but much like Communism and Christianity, crap in the execution.
(, Wed 16 Sep 2009, 22:03, closed)
amen to that.
there were quite a lot of parents/kids at my school who really needed to be slapped upside the head with a big piece of raw, non-organic meat. on the other hand, there were also some truly talented, engaging teachers, and i made some fantastic friends. kind of like at any school, one would assume. but the grounds were lovely.
(, Thu 17 Sep 2009, 0:34, closed)
i do so like you mrs chick
we dont get much of your musings these days but you write so wonderfully well they are easily worth the wait

a wee column of your own in the Times suppliment or The Grauniad would be just spiffing

after all that Liddle is a such a crashing cunt
(, Thu 17 Sep 2009, 1:53, closed)
HA !!!
Now this was a great little read with my morning cup of coffee. Cheers - have you considered ritalin or, failing that, straight jackets???
(, Thu 17 Sep 2009, 9:15, closed)

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