FILED IN: Parenting

Helicopter Parent Magazine

Never out of sight, nor out of mind.

“OK, listen up everyone. We’re here to plan the next issue. What have you got?”

“I’ve got this submission. Should be a good one. It’s from a ‘family bed’ mom who is agonizing about not being able to sleep in her daughter’s college dorm room bed.”

“Does the article offer a resolution? Does it have a positive ending?”

“Yes… the mom decides to have her photo silk-screened onto her daughter’s bed sheets.”

“OK, good. Anybody else?”

“Here’s a humor piece from a mother who wishes that the ‘Cloak of Invisibility’ from the Harry Potter books really existed so that she can go along on her son’s honeymoon without her new daughter-in-law knowing, to see that he is making healthy food choices.”

“Yes, that works because, while being funny, it’s also oh, so true!”

“I’ve got a story for our ethics column. A mom writes in, debating the ethical implications of chaining her son to her ankle so he’s not out of her sight.”

“I don’t know… isn’t it obvious that’s a good thing? I don’t see any room for debate there.”

“Well, I’ve got this story here, written by a caring Dad who was arrested for trespassing in his forty-year-old son’s garage. The Dad broke into the garage so he could install training wheels on his son’s motorcycle. A neighbor saw him and called the cops, and they arrested him.”

“How long was he in jail?”

“A week before his son finally bailed him out!”

“I can’t believe it took the son that long!”

“Yeah. Ungrateful kid. His Dad is only trying to help. The boy’s practically still a minor!”

“OK, good, we should run that. What else do we have?”

“Let’s do a recap of last month’s event we sponsored, the ‘Take Your Teen to Work and Embarrass the Hell Out of Him’ Day.”

“That could work. A lot of readers sent their own photos in. After we edit out the ones showing the teens rolling their eyes and looking sullen, we should have one or two where the kids look sort of grateful that their parents are modeling good career choices for them.”

“We could always Photoshop in some smiles.”

“Right. Good. I was thinking, it’s been a while since we’ve run a tear-jerker. Anybody have anything like that?”

“How about this one: a sixteen-year-old, who’s scheduled after-school activity had been cancelled that day, was left at home UNSUPERVISED for an HOUR while his mother drove his sister to her Junior Mensa Meeting?”

“I don’t know. That might be TOO sad. We always get a lot of ‘Cancel My Subscription’ letters after we run stuff like that.”

“Yes, but it’s our duty to expose the abuse that’s going on out there.”

“True, true.”

“We’ll need a few items for our ‘Real-Life Advice’ section. I’ve got this one about helping adult children make the most of their reading time! It’s just a matter of changing the incentives from things like a new gaming system to a case of Stoli instead, for instance.”

“That’s good, because I know from my personal experience that it works. My 35-year-old just finished a novel in exchange for a subscription to an internet porn site. I figure he’s going to download porn anyway, but this way I got him to read The Brothers Karamazov first.”

“I’ve got a good one here. It’s called, Way Beyond Holding a Glass to the Wall: Domestic Spying and You. Chock full of easy tips for keeping tabs on your kids without them knowing it.”

“And this one called: Just Say Yes. It’s Easier Than Saying No, And Your Kids Will Like You Better. It’s about letting them have a computer in their room and giving them free rein with MyBook and Facespace or whatever, and also about the software you’ll then need so you can spy on their every move.”

“OK, good. But we need more articles about adult children.”

“I’ve got the perfect piece, from one of our regulars. A few months ago we ran her essay about offering sexual favors to college admissions officers, and that got a ton of positive feedback from our readers. This new one is called, I’m Not Getting the Hint: Just Because Your Children Move Overseas To Get Away From You, There’s No Rule Against Following Them.”

“And I’d like to introduce a new feature. The trend is to move to the college town where your child attends school, but we’re dealing with this rotten real estate market. So I’d like to give parents who live near a college campus the ability to post their houses on a Helicopter Parent house-swapping site.”

“That’s good, but let’s save it for our September ‘Going Back to School With Your Kids’ special issue. OK, people, I think we’ve got enough for this month.

"Now I’d like to update you about some products marketing has come up with. I’d like all of you to weigh in on these four tee-shirt concepts: ‘Pain in the Ass and Proud of It!,’ ‘Helicoptier-Than-Thou,’ ‘Honey, it’s not that we don’t trust that you have a brain in your head, it’s that we don’t trust you to make good decisions. There’s a difference.’ ‘Yeah, I’m living my life through my kids. So what?’

"I also have some good news: the adult-size bibs with our logo on them are selling like crazy. So are the retractable leashes with the fifty-mile lead. The apron strings that can be Velcro-ed to any outfit are selling well. And here’s a prototype of a baseball hat with a plastic spinning helicopter blade coming out of the top. What do you all think of this hat?

“I don’t know. You think it’s too much?”