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It’s painful for any parent to watch their child mess up, or not achieve their (or their parents’) goals. “Increasingly, it appears any mistake could be fatal for their class outcome,” said Philip Cohen, a sociologist studying parenting and inequality at the University of Maryland.
“The moms — the four or five moms that started it together — we started it, we helped, but we did not do it for them,” Ms. In its less outrageous — and wholly legal — form, snowplowing (also known as lawn-mowing and bulldozing) has become the most brazen mode of parenting of the privileged children in the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation.
That’s why parents hide certain toys from toddlers to avoid temper tantrums or take away a teenager’s car keys until he finishes his college applications.
If children have never faced an obstacle, what happens when they get into the real world?
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Nicole Eisenberg’s older son has wanted to be a star of the stage since he was a toddler, she said. To apply, she said, “I had to take him on 20 auditions for musical theater. The parents charged in this investigation, code-named Operation Varsity Blues, are far outside the norm.
“There’s no amount of money we could have paid to have got him in,” Ms. “We’ve been working on this since he was 3 years old,” she said. According to the investigation, one parent lied about his son playing water polo, but then worried that the child would be perceived by his peers as “a bench warmer side door person.” (He was assured that his son wouldn’t have to actually be on the team.) Another, the charges said, paid someone to take the ACT for her son — and then pretended to proctor it for him herself, at home, so he would think he was the test-taker.