Raising An Adult: The dangers of ‘helicopter parenting’ resonates with GMSD parents

Last Monday at Houston High School, parents poured into the auditorium for a very special event. Julie Lythcott-Haim, acclaimed author, stopped by Germantown on her nationwide book tour. Her message about the dangers of ‘helicopter parenting’ is one that hits home for many parents in the area. The New York Times, in response to Lythcott-Haim’s book writes:

“Lythcott-Haims’s bleak portrait may just be the “Black Hawk Down” of helicopter parenting. Lythcott-Haims, who brings some authority to the subject as Stanford’s former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, has seen varieties of extreme parental interference suggesting not just a lack of common sense, but a lack of wisdom and healthy boundaries (if not personal dignity) as well.”

Many people played a part in making this event a success. The Houston Orchestra played before the program, a toffee reception provided by The Toffee was available for attendees, Andrea McLeod and the HHS PTA created and displayed floral arrangements for the reception, and the HHS Honors Academy students were on hand with their Director, Dr. Abigail Simone, to serve refreshments to all of the guests.
“Kyle Cherry, the principal of Houston High, even helped by arranging a tour of St. Jude the following morning for Julie—,” said chief organizer of the event, Audrey Grossman, “He really can do everything!”

When asked who was responsible for the successful event, Grossman brimmed with names and organizations, “Mindy Fischer and Stephanie Brockway for helping put all the pieces tougher and for making posters and flyers, Melissa Manuel and Bonnie Lee for helping us set up and take down, Terry Fischer who ended up as our ‘sound guy’, and support from Mayor Mike Palazzolo, Kristi Ransom, Stacy Ewell, Mary Anne Gibson, Jessica Woody, Carla Christian, and Nancy Loggins (chair of the Regional PTA). The Germantown Education Commission, Germantown Municipal Council PTA and Germantown Education Foundation were the primary sponsors. They funded Julie's plane ticket and the marketing for the event, and provided the refreshments for the reception.”

It really took a village, but Germantown rolled out the red carpet for the author, perhaps setting the stage for another visitor in the future.

Stanford University-based (in California), Lythcott-Haim has an unlikely connection to Germantown. She and Grossman attended Harvard Law School together in the 90s. “More precisely, we met as fellow cast members in the Harvard Law School Drama Society’s production of Pippin,” jokes Grossman.
“I thought Julie would be a great speaker for Germantown because she herself has two kids who attend a high-performing public school and understands the pressures that the students, and parents, face,” continues Grossman. “I also thought it was important for people in Germantown to hear her message because I was hearing stories of middle school kids declaring that their life was over and they'd "never get into an Ivy League school" when they got a "B" on interim grades. As the mom of a middle schooler, that really set off the alarm bells for me.”

Lythcott-Haim’s book, Raising An Adult, really centers on the message that overparenting doesn’t do our students any favors once they head to college.

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