On Parental Coddling

I’ve got a friend who works in the administrative department of a local arts organization. She took a call from a parent:

PARENT: Hi. My son’s class recently watched a performance at your theatre for a school project. However, my son was sick so he couldn’t attend. Would it be possible to organize a ticket for him for another performance instead?

FRIEND: Absolutely–let me just check our records. What school does he go to?

PARENT: Simon Fraser University.

I wish I’d made this up. What can I tell you? Every generation is more coddled than the last.


  1. That’s a bit of a small sample size to be making an assessment on a whole generation 🙂

    Counter data point – on my 18th birthday, I moved into residence at UBC. My parents helped carry some boxes and bought me a computer. Despite having a very loving family, that was the last time they had anything to do with my education, or anything else I should be doing myself.

    1. My conclusion isn’t strictly based on that–it’s based on a lifetime of observation. My generation was surely more coddled than my parents, and the same is true, on average, of my friends coddling their young children.

      I wonder what hypothesis I could use to prove or disprove this thesis.

    2. Chris, you’ve also been out of school for quite a while now. I don’t think you get to count yourself a part of the new college student demographic anymore. 🙂

  2. That is sad. One of the things my parents always made me do was call and book my own appointments once I was at least 10 or 12. I hated calling the hairdresser or dentist, but they made me do it. And I think I have better phone skills as a result.

    When I worked at McDonalds in high school, some parents would drop off job applications for their children. Needless to say, those people were NEVER hired.

  3. Psychologists Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen recently released a book in which they say that the average college student speaks to their parents on the phone 13(!) times per week.

    1. I’d heard of that term, but that article has all these other great terms: in Sweden there’s “curling parenthood” and in the US there are also “lawn mower parents” and “Black Hawk parents”. It’s a rich vein.

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