My mother and I just got done talking on video chat with my brother and his nearly 6 year-old son. Like most kindergarteners, he finds potty humor funny -- very funny. Yet his repertoire of fart noise techniques was surprisingly lacking. I thought that's just one of those things that everybody learns in grade school, but then I remembered the face-to-face nature of its transmission ("learning"). He knows the most basic one, blowing a raspberry with your tongue and lips, but that was it.
Let me emphasize how much he enjoys fart humor, so it's not for lack of appeal. This also shows how little the other boys at school know -- it would have spread like wildfire by now.
He didn't use the one where you bite your lower lip and push air up and out of one side of your mouth. Or cupping both palms over your mouth, with your fingertips near your earlobes, and blowing really hard. I showed him a hands-only one, where you have your two palms pressed together, with one row of inner knuckles in the palm of the other, and that row of fingertips under the other. It's like the praying gesture, only with one hand sliding down somewhat. You press really hard and pull away hard, and there you go. My brother showed him the more common one where your palms are perpendicular to each other, and your fingers are wrapped around the other hand, like shaking your own hand, and you push toward and apart.
Do you remember the one where you cup your palm under your armpit and begin flapping that arm? Or the variant on the "palms over mouth" one, where you use the inner elbow instead of your palms? These are only the handful that I can think of off the top of my head.
He had trouble with the hands-only ones, which might be a little hard to pull off at that age. But the striking thing from a folk culture perspective is that he wasn't even familiar with it, as though he were just biding time until his dexterity or grip strength or whatever would allow him to finally start doing it. Like most Millennials, he nearly went into a nuclear meltdown when he couldn't immediately master something that had been demonstrated for him to learn.
He had a little easier time with the hands-over-mouth one -- that pissed off my brother a little bit. I'd gotten around his over-parenting shield, and once you learn something like that, you don't forget it. That's why parents these days prevent any peer socialization while their kids are developing -- all those years of precision sculpting, ruined. Once their minds are more solidified and Bad Influences aren't so influential, then they can play together unsupervised in college.
Is my nephew going to keep using that technique to make fart noises for the rest of his life? Nope. That started to get old during middle school, when boys become more sensitive to how girls perceive them. This natural negative feedback, or damping mechanism, makes parental programming superfluous. In fact, I can't remember the last time I used any of those fart noise techniques spontaneously before demonstrating them today. And it wasn't because my parents began punishing me, because the schools initiated a Zero Tolerance policy on fart noises, or whatever. It just got old, and embarrassing when there were girls around.
But, in the minds of helicopter parents, children are blank slates and will just keep on doing something bad forever once they're exposed, as though they would have no internal changes that would correct it when it's time to, and as though there were no social dampening effects either. This example shows both forces at work: negative social feedback from girls, though only once boys' internal nature changes to value approval from girls.
Simple examples like this, no matter how mundane and profane, disprove the hysterical worldviews that most parents operate on these days. But worldviews come more from the zeitgeist than from reasoning or observation, and a cocooning period has a thing-oriented rather than people-oriented zeitgeist, as folks have less and less experience interacting with others. People-as-things leads to parenting-as-programming, which in turn leads to the isolation of children from anyone outside the nuclear family, who might un-program or re-program all the tireless labor of the parents. Social isolation then unravels the folk culture of children, which must be learned face-to-face.
And all of this just to assuage parental paranoia (which never gets assuaged, but would be even worse if their kids got to develop as autonomously as they did when they were growing up). Who cares if you've stunted the social lobe of your kid's brain, and wiped out a thriving folk culture that used to belong to children themselves? Once more we see how thoroughly hostile helicopter parenting is to communal cohesion and cultural continuity, as everyone and everything beyond the private nuclear household becomes an Outside Threat To Our Parenting.