Stress Test: On the Connection Between Gentrification and Helicopter Parenting

A subject sure to hit close home to many readers: the relationship between the modern concerns of parenting and expense urban living. In other words: how gentrification leads to helicopter parenting.

August 19, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"For all the attention these close-buzzing moms and dads get in the media, helicopter parenting is actually misunderstood. It’s not a set of values. It’s a nervous condition. And one of the chief causes of this widespread malady is the rising cost of being a middle- or upper-middle-class parent in an American city," according to an article by Mercedes La Rosa.

The article is full of provocative statements, many of which comes from La Rosa's point of view as a mother living in a neighborhood of Montreal with cultural similarities to Park Slope in Brooklyn:

  • "The acceptance of helicopter parenting is, to me, part of a broader process wherein income inequality — the root cause of helicopter parenting, in my view — is coming to be considered part of the natural social order of life in the United States."
  • "Nowhere does the business of starting a family seem more fraught with social consequence than the urban American beachheads of the young professional class, those neighborhoods flush with Mommy and Me Yoga and organic baby puree."
  • "In the United States, most childcare is subject to the same market fluctuations as real estate…. In 2011, reported that the cost of childcare in the Bay Area had risen 21 percent in the previous three years."

The article also contrasts the Canadian experience with the American experience for what that reveals about the kinds of communities families chose to live in. The article is a long-read, with a lot more anecdotes, data, and insight offered.

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