Could it be that genetic engineering might be part of what cures us of the hyper-parenting pandemic?
Katie Roiphe over at Slate is worried about helicopter parents screwing up their kids by trying to perfect them:
You know the child I am talking about: precious, wide-eyed, over-cared-for, fussy, in a beautiful sweater, or a carefully hipsterish T-shirt. Have we done him a favor by protecting him from everything, from dirt and dust and violence and sugar and boredom and egg whites and mean children who steal his plastic dinosaurs, from, in short, the everyday banging-up of the universe? The wooden toys that tastefully surround him, the all-sacrificing, well-meaning parents, with a library of books on how to make him turn out correctly - is all of it actually harming or denaturing him?
The article’s title “If we try to engineer perfect children, will they grow up to be unbearable?” grabbed me (of course). But the “engineering” bit wasn’t, to my chagrin, referring to actual genetic engineering.
Instead, Roiphe was referring to parents obsessing over every aspect of their child’s lives, as if some misstep in the minutia would produce an invalid. These parents seem to accept the nature/nurture divide and, realizing there is nothing they can do to improve the genetic make-up of their little bundle of joy, attempt to overwhelm nature with nurture.
Yet in the process parents are inhibiting the, ahem, natural ways in which children learn and develop: unstructured play, exploration, discovery, and getting hurt. How can we get helicopter parents to back off?
Maybe with genetic engineering?