Your kids’ best friends

December 10, 2018

Parent blogging alert.

There was a tweeter thing today on how kids that get straight As lack creativity that among other things dragged up an old NYT article on suicide on college campuses. The latter article attributed these to pressures and all sorts of stuff but one thing struck me hard.

…dean of freshmen at Stanford, Julie Lythcott-Haims…was also troubled by the growing number of parents who not only stayed in near-constant cellphone contact with their offspring but also showed up to help them enroll in classes, contacted professors and met with advisers (illustrating the progression from helicopter to lawn mower parents, who go beyond hovering to clear obstacles out of their child’s way). But what she found most disconcerting was that students, instead of being embarrassed, felt grateful. Penn researchers studying friendship have found that students’ best friends aren’t classmates or romantic partners, but parents.

emphasis added.

I can think of no more terrible fate. My parents were fine and all, and indeed were super focused on our nuclear family. They themselves did not seem to obsessively prioritize their alone time, their couple time, their own respective families or their friends at all, when I was in the house.

But I sure as shit didn’t consider them my friends. They were my parents and my friends were my friends.

You’ve noticed I’m not the friendliest guy in the world and trust me I wasn’t as a child. But for damn sure I had friends. Some of you that pay close enough attention to my antics on social media will be aware that I still interact with friends I made in high school, college and graduate. I am kinda tickled that my kids have been in school classes with the children of some of my closest graduate school friends.

I enjoyed the social experience of college and I think that a massive part of that was the interaction with friends from a much broader span of life than I had experienced to date. I had friends from all across this great Nation and I am the better for it. I met some ersatz sisters who taught me a whole lot of shit I didn’t know. I am intensely grateful for the friends that I made, the experiences we had together

….and the fact that nobody had photographic and videographic equipment at their fingertips through all of these experiences.

It horrifies me to read that “researchers studying friendship” at a major institution of higher education like Penn could find that “student’s best friends” are their parents.