I suppose teenagers and college students have always complained about helicopter parents, parents who overparent, overwatch their children, and keep their kids on too short a leash. For an extreme example of overparenting, I don’t think you can beat Pinky MacArthur. She was the widow of General Arthur MacArthur, a famous Civil War general. She was also the mother of General Douglas MacArthur. Douglas MacArthur arrived at West Point in 1899 at the age of 19. As soon as he got there, his mother Pinky left her home in San Antonio, Texas and moved to West Point as well, where she rented an apartment directly across the street from the military academy. As soon as she settled in to her new apartment, Pinky purchased a powerful telescope which she mounted in her front window. The telescope was aimed at her son’s dorm room. She watched her son Douglas every night while he was doing his homework through the telescope and let him know that she was watching him. She sent notes to her son when she felt he wasn’t spending enough time on his assignments or was goofing off. Strangely, Douglas MacArthur never complained about this. Wouldn’t you? Pinky’s overparenting seems to have paid off. Douglas MacArthur graduated West Point in 1904, first in his class. During World War 1, he became a nationally famous war hero, and in 1922, became superintendent of West Point. Douglas MacArthur became a 5-star general during World War 2 and Supreme Allied Commander during the Korean War.

So – would you feel that your mother was violating your rights if she did what Pinky MacArthur did when her son went to college?

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