Preparation H may begin at birth and continue through a child’s senior year of high school and beyond, requiring parents to monitor and manipulate a child’s social experiences and academic development. Parents do not mind visiting a school’s registrar to ask for a change of teachers; they do not mind standing outside a teacher’s classroom until the bell rings to advocate for a change in the seating chart; they do not mind stopping a teacher after Sunday service to ask why Joel received half credit on a Biology lab. One or both parents sat by Joel at the kitchen table until he completed the work, so what happened?
With a few additional grades like that, Joel will not be eligible for Harvard, or even Yale or Princeton. Without eligibility to Harvard, Joel will never graduate a contender in the worldly competition for status, expertise, and wealth.
Parents may check children’s online grades daily and may send urgent-sounding emails to faculty members regarding minor fluctuations in performance.
It should be noted that Preparation-H children have for years heard parents speak of teachers as civil-minded people who for some reason set aside normal human ambition to participate in a noble endeavor involving hours of community service. Teachers do important work, their parents say, but other occupations might utilize your talents and require less martyrdom. You deserve to be successful. So when it comes to choosing a career, Preparation-H children do not often choose teaching.
(When they do, parents are quick to suggest a compromise like Teach For America, an organization that puts university graduates in poor communities to teach in K-12 classrooms. The child / college graduate can use the “gap year” to experiment with an occupation parents know is not feasible for long-term success while parents can comfort themselves knowing Teach For America has a track record for allowing participants to move on to more lucrative careers after limited commitments in run-down schools, often with student loans reduced.)
Teens accustomed to high degrees of parent participation may leave home to discover they are unable to navigate the world and/or unwilling advocate for the well-being of others or themselves; their parents’ handicapping love has rendered them paralyzed from the neck up; hypertension will not go away.
See also: smothering mothering, alpha parenting, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Homework Helper, helicopter parents, VIP (Virtually Irate Parent), HYP (Harvard-Yale-Princeton)