My brother told me that, in the safe middle-class area where he lives, the local parents are starting to cause traffic problems near school bus stops. They've moved beyond walking their kids to the stop and hovering over them, to driving over in the car and parking near the stop until the bus arrives, when they are allowed to open the door and head over to the bus.
That's right -- drive-in bus stops for school children. I forgot to ask whether the parents let the kids walk from the car to the bus on their own, or whether the parents escort them while hovering.
Was this an isolated example? I googled "parents parked at bus stop" and found several news reports on the first page alone. One article was from the Southeast, where my brother lives. How about a different region, like Noo Joizee? According to this article:
The Jefferson Township Police Department is asking its residents—and particularly parents of school-age children—to help alleviate traffic concerns caused by parents parking vehicles near school bus stops.
Police Capt. Eric F. Wilsusen said that with the rise in parents driving rather than walking their children to bus stops, there has been an increase in the number of vehicles parked near the stops.
"Some bus stops have in excess of 10 vehicles parked at some stops," Wilsusen said in a statement. "The numerous vehicles are causing concerns for traffic and pedestrian safety, particularly at busy intersections."
He added that the police department has seen "numerous complaints" from the community regarding the issue.
And just what kind of post-apocalyptic ghetto hellhole do these poor children live in, where they require such obsessive supervision? "It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you!" The 2010 Census says the town is 91% white and 5% Asian, median family income over $100,000 -- better send your kids to school wearing body armor!
These situations are making it clearer and clearer that helicopter parenting is not just a private choice with private effects, but one that disrupts the lives of others in public spaces and corrodes communal cohesion. In thoughts and in actions, the nuclear family is waging a daily battle against the community. Welcome to "amoral familism" in white middle-class America.
And the parents have nothing to fear, since a cocooning climate favors the tiniest possible social units -- family over community. All they have to do is speak the magic words -- parent, children, family, "as a mom," "as a dad" -- and the debate is over. Get out of the way, community -- there's FAMILIES coming through!