Corny joke: young man is carried into a restaurant. Passerby says: "Such a handsome boy and he can't walk." Mother replies "Oh, he can walk, but fortunately he doesn't need to."
I've been thinking about that joke, with another school year ending. As a teacher, I see a lot of parenting styles, from hands-off to helicopter.
Being a parent is a huge job, with no one way to do it all perfectly. Not being a parent myself, I'm hardly in a position to judge.
But every year I notice more parents who view parenting as cushioning their child from every bump on that long road to adulthood. Every grade less than A plus disputed, any conflict the other kid's fault, any stress instantly removed from their child's world. Not first place for spelling? These parents decide everyone needs a ribbon, because their child might feel sad.
I understand parents' instinct to protect their children. But these parents aren't doing the kid any favors. Shielding children from every disappointment also means preventing them from gaining skills to cope with life's inevitable obstacles.