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Helicopter parenting vs. Tiger Mom vs. .... Suzuki Mom???


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Might ramble on a bit, just clarifying my own thoughts....

 

So, here in NL there's a bit of Tall Poppy Syndrome, especially for academics. There's pros and cons to this attitude. I'm on a FB group which provides info about schools in NL in English, so there's a lot of internationals. And there's pretty frequent discussions about how not-involved Dutch parents are and somewhat-heated discussions about how involved parents should be anyways. Cue the links to multiple articles detailing how horrible helicopter parenting is and how it's ruining the next generation and so on.

 

These discussions usually leave me confused, and I realized that it's because I'm not really sure what the "helicopter parenting" is that has people so anxious. I guess I've just never seen it? I think at first I thought it was just Tiger Mom softened up American-style. Maybe Amy did have an influence on it, but the way I see it thrown around as "Don't help your 13yo figure out how to use his school planner, don't you know that's evil helicopter parenting?" makes me uncomfortable.

 

And honestly, by Dutch standards, I look a bit like a Tiger Mom. It's a cultural difference mostly, and I'm not nearly as extreme as Amy. But last week my son came home from school and surprised me by screeching on his new soprano recorder (German fingering, solfege style, if you please, lol). I spent a good chunk of time last week educating myself about the recorder, fingering, and pulling together resources on music theory and technique, and then having Crazypants practice at home a bit every day. I had been fretting a bit that music had dropped out is education with all our recent international moves anyways, and now that he has a recorder, it occurred to me that this might be the perfect answer (a soprano recorder is far lighter to carry around than a piano). But, my MIL saw this and commented "He has music class Monday at school" and "It's just something they do in his grade." In other words, Why am I so serious about it??? Eh, I'm just weird I guess. But then I start questioning myself over whether I am one of those Tiger helicopter people that everyone complains about.

 

But while giving myself an internet crash course on the recorder, I ran across the concept of the Suzuki Mom. The idea is that the mother is the primary coach of the instrument, and the music instructor doesn't just teach the child, but also the mother how to be the coach. I like that, and I feel like it is good descriptor for what I try to do with my kid overall.

 

So, for definitions - 

 

Tiger Mom - Tightly controls the production of the child and pushes the child to expend large amounts of effort to produce things of the parents choosing. I think Amy said her kids didn't go to birthday parties or play computer games because they were a waste of time?

 

Helicopter parents - Props up the child's production so the child produces things the child can not produce on his or her own. (Is this a good definition? I'm honestly trying to figure out the essence of this label).

 

Suzuki Mom - Supports and directs the child's production in an intentional way, but within a child's natural desire and ability.

 

(By "production" I mean levels of achievement, whether that's in academics, sports, music, or job or whatever).

 

Are these good definitions?

 

I mean, it's sorta silly to assign everything a label. But in the sort of FB discussion I referenced above, it's helpful to say "No, I don't think helping an ADHD 13yo with his school planner is helicopter parenting, I think it's _______ ." What? Good parenting? Are we calling all parents who don't concern themselves with school details bad parents? I don't think they are, so no. But what, then?

 

Just somewhat confused and musing.....

 

For the record, I think most of you regular posters fall into my definition of the Suzuki Mom above. Maybe we can make ourselves some buttons?  :biggrinjester:

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Might ramble on a bit, just clarifying my own thoughts....

 

So, here in NL there's a bit of Tall Poppy Syndrome, especially for academics. There's pros and cons to this attitude. I'm on a FB group which provides info about schools in NL in English, so there's a lot of internationals. And there's pretty frequent discussions about how not-involved Dutch parents are and somewhat-heated discussions about how involved parents should be anyways. Cue the links to multiple articles detailing how horrible helicopter parenting is and how it's ruining the next generation and so on.

 

 

 

Helicopter parents - Props up the child's production so the child produces things the child can not produce on his or her own. (Is this a good definition? I'm honestly trying to figure out the essence of this label).

 

 

 

I'm curious what Tall Poppy Syndrome means :)

Is that 'je hoofd niet boven het maaiveld uitsteken' ?

 

Helicopterparenting is - IMO - more about doing things yourself (as parent) your child is supposed to do him/herself ;)

 

 

Maybe Dutch have more trust in their schoolsystem? (just a thought not a fact!!)

And is that the reason they are more 'laid back'?

 

A book that I considered funny and interesting:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Children-Dont-Throw-Food/dp/0552779172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479722155&sr=1-1&keywords=why+french+children+don%27t+throw+food

It is also available in Dutch ;)

 

The Netherlands are absolutely not like France.

But it is written from an American perspective.

As Belgium looks more like France, I recognized several of her issues, and realized how odd I must look like to Belgic standards ;)

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Helicopter mom to me is just a term people throw around when they want to criticize parents.

 

There is a lot of generic criticism of parents.

 

I am sure there are valid points in there, too, but I think sometimes you have to just think "this is the part where people criticize parents, or when parents criticize other parents."

 

I mean, I do know a bit more about it, but I think a lot of it is shallow criticisms. I think there may not be as much there as you might think in general.

 

If you are thinking about what works for you as a parent -- that is a great thing to think about.

 

But wondering about how a label fits or if criticisms are valid..... I think a lot of it is shallow.

 

If your MIL is generally nice or thought you seemed stress, fine. Otherwise -- you really don't have to do things the way she might do them in your place. Also it may have been a harmless or informative comment. If she is often rude, yeah it could be very rude in context.

 

But I think what matters is what you like, what works for you, what matters with your son.

 

I do think with moving an independent streak is good, and if you move again it could be easier on him if you keep to some family things that will be consistent regardless of where you live. But if you want to adapt more, I think that is very positive as well. What works for you will go a really long way towards working for your family, you are a very important family member in that way.

Edited by Lecka
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For me, the parenting labels describe more about the parent's thought processes than just describing behaviour.

 

So two mums walk with their kids all the way to the classroom every time. One is doing it because she has busy afternoons and other kids - this is precious, relaxed, one on one time to her.

The other mum walks her child to make sure she gets there safely, gets the child's things ready and makes sure that the other kids are being nice - it's high anxiety time for this mother.

 

We did suzuki violin for 5+ years, the intensity depends on the studio, but there is a definite vibe of involved in the education parent.

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Meh, it's all relative...

Basically, the definition of Tiger Mom is 'anybody who pushes their child more than I push mine (and possibly I'm feeling jealous of how well her kids do)'. 
Helicopter parenting equals 'watching over the kid to a greater degree than I do (and maybe I feel inferior, and offence is the best form of defence)'.

Suzuki is just an approach to teaching / learning music. It can be done Tiger Mom style (a la Amy Chua) or not so much; while parental involvement is required, the pushing can be very gentle.
 

And as mentioned above, a lot depends on the intentions behind the actions. Maybe Ms. Tiger Mom is into extreme music practice because of sheer passion, shared between her and her child. Maybe Ms. Laid-Back isn't bothered about how much practice her child does because the kid is only in music lessons for fun and socialising, and anyway he spends all his spare time playing soccer. Maybe Ms. Help-the-13yo-with-his-planner needs to help because that teen has severe difficulties organising himself.

Even if labels are a useful shorthand, you can hardly slap one on somebody when you only know about a small slice of their life. For example, I let my Ms. 8 walk and ride her bike all over the place without adult supervision, sleep outside in the shed, and climb trees, but I sit with her and direct her music practice for an hour or two every day. So am I a Free Range Parent (AKA Neglectomom) or am I a Helicopter? 
 

I mean, it's sorta silly to assign everything a label. But in the sort of FB discussion I referenced above, it's helpful to say "No, I don't think helping an ADHD 13yo with his school planner is helicopter parenting, I think it's _______ ." What? Good parenting? Are we calling all parents who don't concern themselves with school details bad parents? I don't think they are, so no. But what, then?

 

 

IMO, a Good Parent (if there is such a thing) is a parent who knows her child's needs and preferences, and does her best to support that kid's development (physical, mental and emotional) as well as possible, within constraints such as time, resources, abilities, and other obligations. You can't define many actions as unequivocally good or bad. If the kid is keen to do his own planning and is able to do so, mom taking over could impede his feelings of competence and independence. But if the kid doesn't have a clue, leaving him to flounder isn't likely to help; instead the parent might choose to work towards more independence gradually. What about the rest of the family situation? Maybe the kid would like some help, but mom is busy dealing with his severely ill sibling who needs constant care, so the school planner just isn't a priority right now. If you don't have an intimate knowledge of the whole context, you won't know, which is why 90% of the time we'd all do better to refrain from the labelling.

Edited by IsabelC
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Nothing you are doing strikes me as excessive or helicopterish at all.

 

I guess helicopterish in my mind would be something very extreme.  Like going to the college interview with your kid and answering the questions for them.  I don't know anyone who does THAT, but I have seen parents go into the advisor offices with their kids at the CC.  I wonder why they go in with them. I felt guilty for going in with my kid, but I figured it was ok since he was 13.  LOL 

 

Ultimately, I do think it's just another thing to criticize parents for, especially mothers. 

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That is how I see it.  When I see stuff that makes me wonder I just think I don't know that individual situation at all.  I want my kids to succeed so if that takes a bit more hand holding than other people deem as necessary, then so what.  Although I don't think it's always that either.  Is it really so terrible to show an interest in what your kid is doing in school?  To give them a bit of extra help?  To continue the learning at home?  I don't see learning as just something you do "out of the house over there in that building".  I felt as if my parents saw it that way.  They were not involved in my education.  I don't particularly agree with their 100% hands off approach either.  That's the other extreme of it. 

 

 

 



 

IMO, a Good Parent (if there is such a thing) is a parent who knows her child's needs and preferences, and does her best to support that kid's development (physical, mental and emotional) as well as possible, within constraints such as time, resources, abilities, and other obligations.

 

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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I don't think that helicoptering has anything to do with production.  I see it more as hovering to make sure no hurt in the tiniest degree happens to the child.  It generally comes out in NOT letting the child do things because there is a tiny bit of chance of harm.   So, no climbing on the monkey bars.  The parent sometimes does the kid's homework because getting a bad grade would be traumatic.  A mother I know said in complete seriousness, "I don't think 18 is old enough to go to the park alone."   

 

Tiger Moms are about the output produced by the child, and also the visible display of it.   So, it isn't enough to be an excellent violin player.   The child is an embarrassment if people don't pay to hear the child play violin.  

 

 

 

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I don't know but generally I think parents in other countries trust their school system a lot more, and generally with reason from what I can tell.

This proliferation of "gifted" children is a purely American phenomenon, for example. What it is ime is a reaction to a mediocre school system and a way to allocate more resources to one's child. I don't blame anyone for that but let's be realistic about what's happening. Also these kids tend to be concentrated in certain geographic areas. Gifted clusters, if you will ;)

When I'd ask (say) a French mom what the kid is doing in math so he can continue on while at my house, she asks the teacher because it is not her job to be on top of that, she already has a day job.

Edited by madteaparty
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Helicopter parenting is hovering over the kid and not allowing the kid ownership and control in domains that others think the kid schould own and control. They control when the kid puts a jacket on as the evening approaches, what electives the kid chooses, etc etc.

 

Your research of the music instrument is fine, and something an informed parent does, but a decision to control the practice is hovering, as you have already hired a teacher who is instilling good practice habits. Your role is facilitator...you provide the space and time in the schedule to practice, and remind student to follow teacher's instructions. A nonhelicopter course is to jointly decide that the student wants more than the group lesson offers, and then decide on how that is to be done. Of course, if it is your parental decision that the school provided instructor is inadequate, you arent a helicopter parent, but a parent who is reviewing the hiring decision and finding a suitable replacement. This isnt unusual, as the school instructor may not have the expertise on the instrument your child desires to master, and his role may just be introductory.

 

In the U.S., you would move to a different school district, home school, or private school if the public school classes were too slow and shallow for your child. The school funding right now in my state is such that one has to move to a district that has a double accel track to find suitable classes for the child of a college educated parent. Other districts are not wealthy enough to do so and serve all the students from the non elite third world, so they go with serving the neediest and let the others read independently if they dont take the hint to leave.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Jumping to the end very briefly, but I think it would help you to do some reading on Vygotsky.  We've had a book mentioned on the boards to explain his theories, and it's actually a really provocative read.  The title is slipping my mind.  Here's a thread where he was mentioned to get you started.  His theories on mentored learning might expand your understanding of *why* you would interact a certain way with a child.  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/555751-nild-national-institute-for-learning-development/?p=6433022

 

And as far as the ADHD dc, it's true that kids with SN have the two-edged sword of needing more support AND maybe not being in a situation where people are pushing to provide that support and pushing for what they CAN do.  My dc both have ADHD, and my ds ups that with bonus ASD and SLDs.  It's very, very hard for me, even with as much as I try to learn and keep up, to really recognize all the things my ds COULD do.  He's has serious SN and difficulties while also having extreme ABILITIES.  He's both.  

 

I think it's valid to question in that process, but really I wouldn't want to get in the middle of how someone else is handling it with their own kid.  Like you don't know the whole situation, with the IQ, the level of disability, etc., etc.  Have you actually read the Tiger Mom book? I thought it was a charming read, and the sort of confessional aspect, where they admit where it DIDN'T work out well is helpful to. I think you can come to a place in your own soul where you know you're giving your dc the mix he needs, and that's all you can do.

 

PS.  I finally have a book on Suzuki in my reading pile.  I agree, read widely.  :)

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Might ramble on a bit, just clarifying my own thoughts....

 

So, here in NL there's a bit of Tall Poppy Syndrome, especially for academics. There's pros and cons to this attitude. I'm on a FB group which provides info about schools in NL in English, so there's a lot of internationals. And there's pretty frequent discussions about how not-involved Dutch parents are and somewhat-heated discussions about how involved parents should be anyways. Cue the links to multiple articles detailing how horrible helicopter parenting is and how it's ruining the next generation and so on.

 

 

 

Hey, provide some of those links. It would be interesting to see if any of them are actually talking about parental involvement in education. From all the educational journals and information I've read, parental involvement is directly linked to better student achievement, certainly at the elementary level. 

 

In Canada, parents are actively encouraged to be involved in their child's reading programs at home, completing homework, etc. Things tend to turn to the opposite direction by middle school in some schools, though. Parents aren't actively encouraged to help, and teachers aren't helping either. The new trend is to direct students to ask peers for support before asking the teacher. "Ask three before me," meaning ask three students before asking the teacher, is a slogan is some local classrooms here. Sounds like teacher neglect to me, or laziness. 

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Our best friends are a dutch/german couple, and their kids are(/were boohoo - they moved back to the NL) our kids' best friends. The cultural differences were so striking as an American, and even as an American who was raised as free range as it got. Knowing them certainly changed our parenting styles because I saw how creative and independent their children were. We Americans claim to value creativity yet squash it at every turn by scheduling every single minute of our kids' lives. Now, of course, I saw a Dutch parent who is probably an extreme in many ways (not many Dutch families have 4 kids and a SAH mom), but I've rarely seen such creative and smart kids - not because of parent coaching but because of freedom.

 

Their parents practiced piano with them, though. But didn't require homework. Actually, one kid wanted to get perfect grades and his parents let him just copy the answers out of the back of his math book so as not to waste his time. But when he took standardized tests, despite being in 5th grade in a school that goes to 8th, he got the top grade for the entire school.

 

Emily

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I'm curious what Tall Poppy Syndrome means :)

Is that 'je hoofd niet boven het maaiveld uitsteken' ?

 

Helicopterparenting is - IMO - more about doing things yourself (as parent) your child is supposed to do him/herself ;)

 

 

Maybe Dutch have more trust in their schoolsystem? (just a thought not a fact!!)

And is that the reason they are more 'laid back'?

 

A book that I considered funny and interesting:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Children-Dont-Throw-Food/dp/0552779172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479722155&sr=1-1&keywords=why+french+children+don%27t+throw+food

It is also available in Dutch ;)

 

The Netherlands are absolutely not like France.

But it is written from an American perspective.

As Belgium looks more like France, I recognized several of her issues, and realized how odd I must look like to Belgic standards ;)

 

Yes, that saying is what is termed tall poppy syndrome. I don't know who came up with that term. But how to turn that phrase in English... Don't stick up in front of the lawn mower. Yeah, it sounds scarier in English, lol.

 

I read that book, Bringing up Bebe, a while ago. I thought the differences she found were interesting. It's amazing what one culture thinks is normal that another culture finds weird and exotic.

 

I'm an oddball too. So pushy. By American standards I'm so laid back. But here I'm pushy.  ^_^

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... Now, of course, I saw a Dutch parent who is probably an extreme in many ways (not many Dutch families have 4 kids and a SAH mom), but I've rarely seen such creative and smart kids - not because of parent coaching but because of freedom.

 

 

Or genetics or life experiences or x or z or ....

 

Maybe she gave them such freedom because it worked well for her children. Perhaps if it didn't, she wouldn't have. 

 

We can never be sure why those kids are smart and creative. Freedom doesn't always result in creative and smart kids. Which is, I believe, the point some of the posters are making. Our lives are much too complicated for neat and tidy categories. 

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Hard to define.

 

I think helicopter parenting is mostly about not allowing kids to make mistakes and learn from them.  Basically we just can't bear to see our kids disappointed or disadvantaged in any way.

 

Tiger mom, to me, is having high standards and high expectations for the kid.  Tiger moms allow their kids to try and fail and cry and try again.  Another thing about tiger moms is that they put in more time on the mom stuff than most people consider sufficient.

 

Not sure if there is a difference between tiger and Suzuki mom.  I'm not that familiar with Suzuki, but as a "tiger cub" mom myself, what I do sounds similar to what you describe under "Suzuki mom."

 

I call myself "tiger cub" because yes, I ask my kids to do stuff because *I* think it's good for them, even if nobody else in their school or neighborhood is doing it.  But I think I know when to pull back.  Just because my kid "can" do something doesn't mean she needs to.  I put a high value on free time, fresh air and exercise.  I'm able to reluctantly let things go rather than make everyone miserable.  My kids don't have to be #1 at anything, but if they're pulling up the rear, we're going to work on that.

 

My tiger cub self also pushes my kids to take age-appropriate risks, advocate for themselves, and deal with logical consequences out in the world.  So, not a helicopter mom.  Though there are probably some things I do for my kids that would not have been done for me as a kid.

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I don't know but generally I think parents in other countries trust their school system a lot more, and generally with reason from what I can tell.

This proliferation of "gifted" children is a purely American phenomenon, for example. What it is ime is a reaction to a mediocre school system and a way to allocate more resources to one's child. I don't blame anyone for that but let's be realistic about what's happening. Also these kids tend to be concentrated in certain geographic areas. Gifted clusters, if you will ;)

When I'd ask (say) a French mom what the kid is doing in math so he can continue on while at my house, she asks the teacher because it is not her job to be on top of that, she already has a day job.

 

Oh yes, there's a "leave it to the professionals" idea here. As long as your kid arrives home after school, everything is fine. Since there's school choice here, that gets some involvement from parents, but once the choice is made, that's pretty much that.

 

There's pros and cons, like I said. I saw somewhere that the government did a study and found that some 50% of gifted-intelligence kids were being streamed into the lowest track of higher education. With 2e issues especially, you can't always count on a teacher to understand what is going on. But with school choice, yes, if you have a gifted kid you just move him to the gifted school (if, if! there's one nearby and it has space) and then that's that.

 

The Math Kangaroo here absolutely can not be taken outside a school. My DH looked at me like I was crazy for suggesting that it should be. That's something teachers do! On the one hand, it could even things out - all kids in the school take the test without the advantage of parent-selection or parent-grooming. But on the other hand - some kids get left out because their school doesn't offer it, or doesn't explain that kids who aren't good at arithmetic can still be good at math.

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I think American culture is very competitive, which is what gives birth to tiger moms. The definition of a tiger mom to me is pushing the kids to the full extent of their abilities. So tiger mom is defined in terms of educational pushing and my friends think homeschooling and tiger mom is one and say.

 

I often think of helicopter parenting as more of a social behavior - two kids are quarreling and a mom has to intervene, not allowing kids to walk alone or do anything alone.

 

I often read that free time makes kids more creative, and I would say when I was growing up in an age of no internet, 2 TV channels and video games, I used my free time to read since there was nothing else to do. Now I see my friends' kids spend every waking hour outside of school play video games. I don't see any creativity there at all. Day after day, year after year, their brains are being fried by the video games. I say there are kids out there who would use free time to be creative, but it's not a given. I am happy to schedule my kids. They get a variety of experiences that way instead of just couch time.

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Regarding learning/practicing the recorder at home. It would be regarded as tiger mom locally because it is school music lessons and not school recorder ensemble or practicing for school Christmas concert or private music lessons. So unless the school music teacher gives homework which is never heard of here, then practicing at home is just not expected.

 

Suzuki moms are those with kids in suzuki music programs. Have not heard that extended to education in general.

 

Tiger moms are what we locally call people who prep their kids for Ivy League admissions from birth or plan even before having kids. They are the ones who will rank competitions in terms of value to college admission and rank public and private schools in terms of where the graduates get admitted to. They also rank music teachers in terms of how many awards the students get. Some would also go to the extent of ranking your kids to see if your kid is a "threat".

 

Helicopter moms do hover and here I do see many that does things that their kids can do on their own. It is like being an aide when a child doesn't need one. For example going to youth workshops (8 years and older) and you see parents who stand/sit behind/beside their kids looking over their kids shoulders and doing things like picking up pencils and flipping pages for them. When the parent goes to the restroom, you see the child is okay doing everything for themselves. Sometimes it gets so bad the instructor would ask the parents to wait outside the room/area instead.

 

There are parents who are both tiger parents and helicopter parents. I have seen helicopter dads too. However there is this one-upmanship vibe with tiger parents that helicopter only parents don't have.

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As for school music - I found this interesting.  When I was a kid, I started violin at school in late 4th grade.  The teacher told me to practice at home for 15 minutes a day.  My parents would occasionally ask me if I did it, but that was all from their side.  (They didn't read notes and that was long before the internet.)  If I didn't come back to school the next week being able to play more and better, the teacher would scold me.  Come high school, the violin was out, so they suggested the French horn.  They told me to go teach myself how to play my brother's trumpet, and come back when I could play songs.  A week or two later, I returned and they rented me a French horn for $1 and said go teach yourself how to play it.  Band class was for playing together with the other 50 instruments, not for teaching individuals how to play.  Of course you practiced at home, or you made a fool of yourself and got an F in band.

 

Fast forward 40 years.  My kids started band in 4th grade.  They had 1 instrument practice and 1 band practice per week at school.  Their teacher did not ask them to practice at home.  At first I did ask them to do so, assuming the teacher must have expected it, but nope.  So this year in 5th grade, I told them that surely they will be required to practice at home.  Nope.  About 6 weeks into the school year, the teacher started offering extra credit for home practice, to make up for missed classes at school.  There is no requirement to practice at home, though it is recommended.  I'm surprised.

 

As for recorder, my kids practiced theirs at home in order to pass the tests at school.  Like any test, I guess you don't need to practice if you are a fast enough learner.  I can't remember if I ever practiced recorder at home or not.

Edited by SKL
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To me helicoptering is hovering when you do not need to hover and not slowly giving kids freedom. It is not letting kids do things that they can do. It is protecting them from any minor hurt or scrape including emotional hurts. It also is not letting kids take responsibility for their own actions and blaming other people when the kid is responsible. I do not see helping a kid through things they have a hard time with or trying to tailor things for their actual weaknesses or strengths helicoptering but I am sure some would disagree with that. Some kids do need support and I think it is better to give it then let them flounder but some schools just let some kids fall through the cracks and are ok with it.

Edited by MistyMountain
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As for recorder, my kids practiced theirs at home in order to pass the tests at school. Like any test, I guess you don't need to practice if you are a fast enough learner. I can't remember if I ever practiced recorder at home or not.

Hubby and I didn't have music tests in public school as kids. It was a non-graded subject. My kids didn't have any music tests when they were in public school either and nothing for music on their record cards. My local public school expects most parents to rent or buy instruments for school band class because there is a shortage of donated instruments. No recorders at all, they just have singing for music lessons until 3rd/4th/5th grade depending on each school's PTA funds.

 

In another city which is more affluent, public school kids get recorders in K/1st and most kids have afterschool private one to one music lessons anyway. So many are in Suzuki programs since they were 3 or 4 years old, before entering K. It is really zipcode dependent for public schools.

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I think the general definitions have already been given. My personal definition - they are labels given to other parents regarding children who are not yours.

 

I think most of us act differently with our individual children and support them as individuals. I think most parents are trying to do their best to support their kids. If I tell DS to not climb a specific playground, am I a helicopter mom? Or do I actually know DS and his history and want to prevent (another) ER visit? If I make DS do more schoolwork than you, am I a tiger mom? Or do we need or want to spend more time on a subject because we took off more days than you last week?

 

Parenting is relative, and also cultural. So we try to do what's right for our family.

Edited by displace
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Or genetics or life experiences or x or z or ....

 

Maybe she gave them such freedom because it worked well for her children. Perhaps if it didn't, she wouldn't have. 

 

We can never be sure why those kids are smart and creative. Freedom doesn't always result in creative and smart kids. Which is, I believe, the point some of the posters are making. Our lives are much too complicated for neat and tidy categories. 

There was definitely a family culture of "we do things ourselves" and no TV that helped creativity, but it was her husband's family culture of extreme freedom that she was mimicking, not an evaluation of individual kids. There was a spectrum of freedom depending on the kid, but all of it was about 4-6 years ahead of American children.

 

I think American culture tends to go to extremes. It helps your children to have someone teach them soccer, so Americans have their kids at age 8 in soccer five times a week with professional coaches. Maybe, something-is-better-than-nothing-always-aim-for-more generally characterizes American culture. Cutting your carbs helps you lose weight? Cut out all carbs! Some oversight helps kids achieve more? Let's have more structure at all times!

 

I definitely believe family culture is of utmost importance because there are families lacking resources who "free-range" their kids out of necessity to bad results. This was a family culture of trust and production.

 

Emily

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Hey, provide some of those links. It would be interesting to see if any of them are actually talking about parental involvement in education.

...

The new trend is to direct students to ask peers for support before asking the teacher. "Ask three before me," meaning ask three students before asking the teacher, is a slogan is some local classrooms here. Sounds like teacher neglect to me, or laziness.

This article about "overparenting" spark some debate when it came out. Some news articles titled it helicopter parenting https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/06/09/what-overparenting-looks-like-from-a-stanford-deans-perspective/

http://www.stanforddaily.com/2010/09/14/helicopter-parents/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/parenting/ct-helicopter-parents-20151019-story.html

 

I don't think "ask three before me" is bad. It depends on the implementation. I had homework as a public school kid. I would call or walk over to my classmates' homes to brainstorm difficult homework problems. Some of my teachers were my neighbours but I won't go to their homes to ask so that would mean waiting until the next school day. During school time, we asked the teachers direct but if the teacher was busy explaining to a classmate then we asked the classmates near us. Our class size was 45 though from 1st to 10th grade, then 26 for 11 and 12th grade. So peer support is essential.

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I don't see them as distinct categories. I think, unless in an extreme situation, we are all a good mix of these and other categories. Parenting is hard enough as it is. People who go around judging and labeling might find better use of their time building community over competition.

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I think American culture is very competitive, which is what gives birth to tiger moms. The definition of a tiger mom to me is pushing the kids to the full extent of their abilities. So tiger mom is defined in terms of educational pushing and my friends think homeschooling and tiger mom is one and say.

 

I often think of helicopter parenting as more of a social behavior - two kids are quarreling and a mom has to intervene, not allowing kids to walk alone or do anything alone.

 

I often read that free time makes kids more creative, and I would say when I was growing up in an age of no internet, 2 TV channels and video games, I used my free time to read since there was nothing else to do. Now I see my friends' kids spend every waking hour outside of school play video games. I don't see any creativity there at all. Day after day, year after year, their brains are being fried by the video games. I say there are kids out there who would use free time to be creative, but it's not a given. I am happy to schedule my kids. They get a variety of experiences that way instead of just couch time.

 

 

Re: kids and video games - Yes, totally. I've found that even when I set up playdates the kids just want to sit and play Roblox to "together." I don't mind the occasional LAN party, but sometimes they aren't even playing the same world! Drives me bonkers. So, yeah, I pick out books for him to read, I plan activities for him and his friends, and I deliberately introduce things to him. This summer DH and I yelled at him to go out to the woods and build a fort, and he looked at us like we were crazy. Kids these days just don't have that idea on their radar anymore or something.

 

About competitiveness, yes, I think it's an American thing. I think because now any good job, any respectable path, is funneled through college, with extra life bonus points for maximizing the brand name. With the streaming education here, only a small amount of students are on the University track. Most students, the average average student, is on the professional/vocational track, which leads to a respectable job and a respectable life. There's no incentive for parents to groom, train, or otherwise prop up their kids education. If the student struggles in school, it's fine to drop down to a lower track (not the very lowest, that's bad, but anywhere in the middle is fine) and just get decent grades. I'll admit that I'm looking at the hardest high school program in the province for my kid (math ability plus already being fluent in English means he'll be bored in most other programs) and while this would make my American family cow about bragging rights, to the Dutch family it's "that's nice, but that's really hard, are you really sure you want to try to put him there???"

 

One of the helicopter parenting links posted on the FB group, since someone asked. From the article "“Some parents choose their adult child’s subjects, edit or complete their assignments and badger lecturers to improve their child’s grades,†Dr Locke said." I guess this is what I understand the academic side of what "helicopter parenting" is. â€‹This isn't a nice thing to say in America, so I don't say it, but when I hear about a teen having to do hours and hours of homework every week, and sport and music, and volunteering, and test prep and everything else to chase high grades, high test scores, lots of APs, and make it to a brand name college, all under the thumb of a stressed-out mom fretting over how "mean" a teacher is and how her kid doesn't do his SAT homework, and I just want to say "Maybe your kid just isn't cut out for that college?" I'm feeling like this is one of the things standing behind helicopter parenting (as I think I understand it), trying to create children into people that they aren't by micromanaging their lives and papering over their weaknesses. Of course, Tiger Moms also micromanage their kids, but there I feel like it starts early with explicit expectation of the hard work leading up to it. The helicoptering seems to be more of a superficial expectation of the result, without the solid foundation. Which is why I feel like it is Tigering done American-style, Instant gratification for practically free please!

 

 

 

I've been interrupted a zillion time tonight, so just trying to put my thoughts in coherent order - 

 

I'm not so much angsting over myself, y'all. The recorder was just a recent example of the cultural (and generational, perhaps) differences in my life. I do try to objectively assess where I am ocassionally, just to make sure I'm still clinically sane. I don't really get involved in the FB discussions at all. I just read them through, and then I get confused about what, exactly, people are trying to say with certain terms. And I wonder if there should be better vocabulary choices we can use on this topic. Especially now, when we're trying to grapple with addicting technology, the college education game (in some parts of the world), and the clash between differing cultures.

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Suzuki moms are those with kids in suzuki music programs. Have not heard that extended to education in general.

 

 

No, you heard it first right here on the WTM boards. From me.  :hat:

 

I'm just wondering if there's a term which describes being a supportive parent, without getting into judgments about "good" and "bad" parenting.

 

And if you're postmodern enough to think that language creates reality, maybe an expansion of the Suzuki concept into the popular lexicon to describe the supportive coaching parent would encourage some parents to take the label on and not be tigers or helicopters.

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And if you're postmodern enough to think that language creates reality, maybe an expansion of the Suzuki concept into the popular lexicon to describe the supportive coaching parent would encourage some parents to take the label on and not be tigers or helicopters.

Until a certain age, Suzuki method expects the parents to sit in during lessons and take notes, as well as ensure whatever music homework is assigned is done well. My opinion is that whether it is tiger or helicopter or suzuki, there is a sense of a bigger amount of parental oversight when people use these labels in conversations.

 

I thought mentoring or coaching puts the goals setting on the child with the parents just giving as much help as their child requires. So for my kid who is slower at executive function skills, I do lots more reminding and hand holding for planning. For friends with 2E kids, the parental help and guidance is different.

 

I don't see tiger or helicopter used as labels by friends on Facebook other than as references when the Stanford article came out. There is a lot of cultural context with these terms. A helicopter mom in US might be mild compared to China's "little emperor" syndrome (due to China's one child policy). A tiger mom in US would probably be mild in Korea's or Japan's context. Even the Korean govt behaves very paternal during the annual college entrance exam day.

 

"So much importance is placed on the Suneung here that the government grounds or reroutes flights during part of the test to limit noise that may distract the students. Businesses open an hour late to ease traffic for students on the road."

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/world/south-korea-tests-suneung-protests-park-1.3854968

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Oh my goodness. All this over a recorder. Must look up that meme: "If there is music in hell, it's played on a recorder."

LOL.

Recorder really is a beautiful instrument. I  enjoy playing my recorders and listening to recorder consort music. It's very unfortunate that so many people don't appreciate it because their experience is mostly of small children blowing too hard on recorders.  I don't know whether it's commonly taught by teachers who aren't actual music teachers and/or recorder players, or whether some kids just enjoy making horrible noises?  But I've just taken my daughter through two years' worth of school recorder material in three months, and it only took a few weeks to get past the stage of feeling like my ears would fall off.

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Yes, that saying is what is termed tall poppy syndrome. I don't know who came up with that term. But how to turn that phrase in English... Don't stick up in front of the lawn mower. Yeah, it sounds scarier in English, lol.

 

I read that book, Bringing up Bebe, a while ago. I thought the differences she found were interesting. It's amazing what one culture thinks is normal that another culture finds weird and exotic.

 

I'm an oddball too. So pushy. By American standards I'm so laid back. But here I'm pushy. ^_^

I had a baby in Mexico. It was 110F with the heat index, but every Mexican asked me why I didn't have my baby wrapped in a blanket. :)

 

I agree with the observation that Helicopter Moms are anyone who pays more attention to their kids, and Tiger Moms, anyone who pushes harder, than me. ;)

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There was definitely a family culture of "we do things ourselves" and no TV that helped creativity, but it was her husband's family culture of extreme freedom that she was mimicking, not an evaluation of individual kids. There was a spectrum of freedom depending on the kid, but all of it was about 4-6 years ahead of American children.

 

Which American children? I see lots of variation in how much freedom American children are given. I see 4-6 years difference in the level of freedom just at a random park, play group, co-op, or any gathering of parents and children. Maybe I somehow visit unique places in various states.  :huh:

 

Maybe your friends started out with freedom because that is the default or the only possibility with that family for whatever reason. It worked well, so there was no reason to change. For some families, though, repeated serious injuries, trouble with the law, grades slipping, etc, are causes for the parents to remove some of the freedom. There are some children and teens (or adults looking back) that wish they were given more oversight and/or guidance. 

 

When something goes wrong, the tears and agony of a parent that did too much and the tears and agony of a parent that did too little are both painful to watch. It's always easy from the outside to parent other people's children. Inside, it gets a whole lot messier. 

 

 

I don't see them as distinct categories. I think, unless in an extreme situation, we are all a good mix of these and other categories. Parenting is hard enough as it is. People who go around judging and labeling might find better use of their time building community over competition.

 

 

Well said. 

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As people touched on above, helicopter parenting is hovering and being hyper involved and not allowing the child any freedom.  But to me, it's even more than that.  It's trying to keep them safe and have everything turn out great for them so that you never allow them to be in any situation that could be dangerous or bring them harm in any way.  You never give them the freedom to make mistakes either.  The damage is that when they get into college, they have their mommies calling professors because they don't know how to approach a discussion with their professor because everything has been done for them.  They don't know how to bounce back from mistakes.  They had their parents fix their small mistakes as a child, and now that the mistakes carry larger consequences, they don't know how to cope.  

 

A free range parent (which is more European nowadays) gives child freedom to walk around more and isn't as worried about keeping them in a safety bubble.  A free range parent would teach their child how to walk down the street to their friend's house and have them check in once they arrive.  A helicopter parent would walk them there.

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In my opinion, teaching a 13 yo child how to use his planner is, in fact, good parenting and teaching him and explaining the consequences for negligence.  Then I would think it is his responsibility to follow through.  Filling it out for him and reminding him what's in it every hour is helicopter parenting.

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It's all relative, both across cultures (we have raised our kid across four different countries over 12 years) and individuals.
 

 

A free range parent (which is more European nowadays) gives child freedom to walk around more and isn't as worried about keeping them in a safety bubble.  A free range parent would teach their child how to walk down the street to their friend's house and have them check in once they arrive.  A helicopter parent would walk them there.

 

 

But this is not just parenting style - in Germany I was happy for my nine year old to walk around the corner to the bakery or ride his bike. No way he was going to ride his bike around the corner to the bakery in the UK - the lack of cycling infrastructure, the lack of safety on the roads, it wasn't happening. Ditto here in Turkey - the drivers here are so bad I worry about my distracted 12 year old crossing the road on his own in places! And in places we don't even have footpaths/sidewalks. Yet if we were still living in Germany he would have a lot more freedom to walk and cycle about on his own. So if the infrastructure is different (safer) and/or societal attitudes are different (people expect kids to be riding on roads/crossing roads on their own) you are going to act differently.

 

In some situations we seem like helicopter parents - but with a kid who has aspergers/EF issues and anxiety issues, if we don't 'hover' more than some parents do their kids his time is extremely miserable AND the situation for those he is interacting with can be pretty bloody miserable too. To some we seem like we are bordering on neglect because in other areas he has a lot of self-direction and lack of parental involvement.

 

 

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As people touched on above, helicopter parenting is hovering and being hyper involved and not allowing the child any freedom.  But to me, it's even more than that.  It's trying to keep them safe and have everything turn out great for them so that you never allow them to be in any situation that could be dangerous or bring them harm in any way.  You never give them the freedom to make mistakes either.  The damage is that when they get into college, they have their mommies calling professors because they don't know how to approach a discussion with their professor because everything has been done for them.  They don't know how to bounce back from mistakes.  They had their parents fix their small mistakes as a child, and now that the mistakes carry larger consequences, they don't know how to cope.  

 

A free range parent (which is more European nowadays) gives child freedom to walk around more and isn't as worried about keeping them in a safety bubble.  A free range parent would teach their child how to walk down the street to their friend's house and have them check in once they arrive.  A helicopter parent would walk them there.

Maybe we're mixing up free range with laissez-faire. Free range sets up and models healthy and appropriate structures while giving freedom within structure - "tell me the way to the organ concert you're walking to and when do you expect to be back?". Helicopter watches every single move - "You can't go to the organ concert without an adult until you're 13.". Laissez faire (which I see in some poor communities around me where the parents have very little margin) sets the kids free to fend for themselves - "don't bother me, I'm busy".

 

(I'm using the organ concert because that was a favorite activity of my son and his Dutch friend.)

 

Emily

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It's all relative, both across cultures (we have raised our kid across four different countries over 12 years) and individuals.

 

 

But this is not just parenting style - in Germany I was happy for my nine year old to walk around the corner to the bakery or ride his bike. No way he was going to ride his bike around the corner to the bakery in the UK - the lack of cycling infrastructure, the lack of safety on the roads, it wasn't happening. Ditto here in Turkey - the drivers here are so bad I worry about my distracted 12 year old crossing the road on his own in places! And in places we don't even have footpaths/sidewalks. Yet if we were still living in Germany he would have a lot more freedom to walk and cycle about on his own. So if the infrastructure is different (safer) and/or societal attitudes are different (people expect kids to be riding on roads/crossing roads on their own) you are going to act differently.

 

In some situations we seem like helicopter parents - but with a kid who has aspergers/EF issues and anxiety issues, if we don't 'hover' more than some parents do their kids his time is extremely miserable AND the situation for those he is interacting with can be pretty bloody miserable too. To some we seem like we are bordering on neglect because in other areas he has a lot of self-direction and lack of parental involvement.

 

It's funny, lots of Dutch people refer to American schools as "prisons." With schools now often having gates, security, and lock-down rules, I see their point.

 

Here in NL, the Jr. High / High schools are very open. They're run more like an American college, really. If a kid has a free period without a class, he can leave school and go to the local shops to buy some candy or just hang out. Kids are expected to just get themselves to or from school with public transport. There's rarely a school cafeteria, just maybe a small snack shop and a main area with some tables and chairs. Kids will try to design their schedules so they have the first class period free, so they can sleep in. The 12yo "bridge" class might have slightly tighter rules, but by 14yo they have pretty free reign.

 

This causes some internationals to fret over the safety of their kids, which then can result in someone bringing up helicopter parenting. Sure, some kids will leave school to get into trouble (my DH used his school breaks to smoke joints, yes, lol), but really, having it happen outside of school rather than the toilet stall doesn't make that much of a difference, does it? And at least in the Dutch system teens learn a bit about decision making, independence, and how to navigate real society. Rather than be infantilized. Oh goodness, I got so mad at my undergrad because we weren't allowed to buy our own books at the campus bookstore. We had to hand over our class list, and then our books would be selected FOR us, even used books. Grrrrr..... What moron thought college students couldn't be trusted to buy their own books????

 

Just an extreme example - when I lived in Jerusalem I met a newcomer to West Jerusalem who said that she never went to the Old City, it was just too scary. I thought this was pretty funny, as at that point I was used to walking around the Old City by myself, and on those visits I would often see the local 5yos walking themselves to and from school by themselves. The lady and those kids lived less than 5 miles away from each other, yet had entirely different perspectives on their environment.

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Maybe we're mixing up free range with laissez-faire. Free range sets up and models healthy and appropriate structures while giving freedom within structure - "tell me the way to the organ concert you're walking to and when do you expect to be back?". Helicopter watches every single move - "You can't go to the organ concert without an adult until you're 13.". Laissez faire (which I see in some poor communities around me where the parents have very little margin) sets the kids free to fend for themselves - "don't bother me, I'm busy".

 

(I'm using the organ concert because that was a favorite activity of my son and his Dutch friend.)

 

Emily

Not as familiar with the laissez-faire term, but I could see that distinction.  There are certainly degrees of free range parenting, but I wasn't implying that a free range parent doesn't care about their safety.  But they don't keep them in a bubble.  That's why I was saying they checked in to make sure they arrived safely, and I would also assume that many free range parents teach their child the rules and routes in walking down the street.  

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Hey, provide some of those links. It would be interesting to see if any of them are actually talking about parental involvement in education. From all the educational journals and information I've read, parental involvement is directly linked to better student achievement, certainly at the elementary level. 

 

Sure, but in a lot of those articles, the definition of parental involvement is how much the teacher feels the parents talk up the cleverness of the teacher and school.

 

I've just spent a painful semester reading these...

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Sure, but in a lot of those articles, the definition of parental involvement is how much the teacher feels the parents talk up the cleverness of the teacher and school.

 

I've just spent a painful semester reading these...

 

Yes, it's difficult to measure people's perceptions with any kind of objective value. Then try to generalize across students from the same country, and then onto other countries? Even the studies themselves warn about the limitations in trying to generalize. This bit of information doesn't get included in a news article, though.

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For me, the parenting labels describe more about the parent's thought processes than just describing behaviour.

 

So two mums walk with their kids all the way to the classroom every time. One is doing it because she has busy afternoons and other kids - this is precious, relaxed, one on one time to her.

The other mum walks her child to make sure she gets there safely, gets the child's things ready and makes sure that the other kids are being nice - it's high anxiety time for this mother.

 

We did suzuki violin for 5+ years, the intensity depends on the studio, but there is a definite vibe of involved in the education parent.

The problems start when another parent, who sees the mom walking the kid to the classroom, decides that they know what her thought process is and assigns one (and a label) to her. 

 

Your example above is a good way to point out that what we (as a third party) think we see is not always what is actually going on behind the scenes.

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I think American culture tends to go to extremes. It helps your children to have someone teach them soccer, so Americans have their kids at age 8 in soccer five times a week with professional coaches. Maybe, something-is-better-than-nothing-always-aim-for-more generally characterizes American culture. Cutting your carbs helps you lose weight? Cut out all carbs! Some oversight helps kids achieve more? Let's have more structure at all times!

 

I have to disagree with you.  There are many variations of "American" culture. There may be many American families that begin sports at 8, but most of those do not have professional coaches (maybe they do this more commonly is the wealthiest neighborhoods?).  America is a recent (recent enough that families from Italian, Jewish, German, Irish, and Asian backgrounds, even if they've been here for several generations, often still have very different traditions/values connected to child-rearing), large country with a heterogeneous population coming from many different world cultures.  From my life experience, I would argue that there is no single "American" culture.

 

*Of course, some Americans do tend toward what you describe... but I would say it is not the general default setting.

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At least in my area, the professional coaches at age 8 sounds about right.  A co-worker mentioned that her 3rd grade son decided he wanted to play football.  The school coach told him that he'd waited too late to start.  Of course, if he'd been a big kid, or super fast, it might have been different.  

Yup, we lived in an "all washed up by 8" area, BUT friends from other areas say it's not like this all over America. 

 

Even in areas like these, her son can probably play if he gets a private coach to work with him coming up to the next season. But something is wrong when that is the culture/expectation.

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