An earlier post looked at the dynamics of parenting styles, where folks who grew up mostly in rising-crime times choose to lock their kids up from the outside world, while these locked-up people themselves, who grew up in falling-crime times, don't see what the harm is in letting their kids lead a more unsupervised life.
We saw this during the last wave of outgoing behavior and communal focus. The Silent Generation, who were locked up by smothering mothers during the cocooning Midcentury, begat the late Boomers and first half of Generation X, who couldn't have enjoyed a less supervised childhood and adolescence. This continued with the second half of Gen X, whose parents were mostly early Boomers — who for their part spent a good deal of childhood in the Dr. Spock climate of the Midcentury.
I was taken aback during an episode of the Real Housewives of Orange County (which I sometimes tune into, for sociological insight), where the daughter of one of the housewives is beginning to raise a family of her own. The housewife Vicki is a late Boomer, the daughter Briana an early Millennial ('87).
Briana has decided to move away from Orange County, way out to Oklahoma, where her money will go a lot farther than it could in southern California. There's Steve Sailer's "affordable family formation" unfolding in clear terms.
Then she added that she wanted to raise her kids where they could run around in the driveway out front, and run off to go play with the other neighborhood kids. She revealed that in the 12 years that she lived in her family's house in Orange County, they'd only known two of their neighbors. The area is white and upper-middle class, so don't bother trying to excuse the helicopter parents there on the basis of dangerous ghetto Mexicans. It's just good old paranoia.
It may be only one data-point, but you can tell when someone is speaking more or less as a representative of their group.
Before, I noted that in the case of Millennials, they feel nostalgia for not having a life as children. Now that they are starting to have kids, this frustrated attempt at nostalgia has developed into a reflection on how deprived they were of social contact outside the home, from birth until college (by which time it's too late to cram 15 years of social maturation into the time you've got). Every generation remembers the negative side of their upbringing more than the positive, and try to correct that when they have kids of their own.
Before long, then, we'll see a reversal of the helicopter parenting trend that began about 25 years ago. Probably not for another five years or so, since the late X-ers are still busy raising kids, and lord knows they remember how dangerous childhood used to be. Who would've guessed that Beavis and Butt-head would become such over-protective fathers?