Helicopter Parents

Consider this. Studies have shown that students with involved parents do better academically in school during elementary, middle, and high school and are more likely to go to college. Things reverse when your child goes to college. The National Survey of Student Engagement reported that college students with higher levels of parent involvement had significantly lower grades.


"Helicopter parents" refer to parents who hover over their student son or daughter and are too involved in managing their day-to-day life, making decisions for their student, or rescuing their student from their own mistakes. This type of parenting can be detrimental to the student’s maturing into a responsible, independent, fully functioning adult. We all have a common goal and that is the safety and success of your student. Your student needs to learn how to manage that on his/her own both now and for the rest of their life.


Helicopter Parents versus Parents Coaching from the Sidelines?

  • College is a transition for both the parents and the student.
  • College is a progression of four years and your student will experience progress over this maturing timeframe.
  • Parent is an important job but now it is a different role. Focus on the long-term goals and not the short-term goals – leave that to your student.
  • The student is in the driver’s seat now and the parents have relinquished the driver’s seat.
  • Help your student take control of their college experience so they will be capable of moving from College Career to Employment Career when they graduate.
  • If you as a parent need to feel more in control of “yourself” as a parent of a college student, additional articles can be found at www.collegeparentcentral.com
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Questions to ask yourself – Are you a helicopter parent?

  • Do you communicate with your student via phone, email, or text three or more times a week or do you let them get on with living their own life?
  • Have you ever contacted one of your student’s professors regarding their coursework or do you let your student be responsible for their study habits, commitments, class work, relationships, and self-advocacy?
  • Do you select your student’s courses for them or are they responsible for meeting with their Advisor and making the decision of what they want and need to study to graduate in their major and on time?
  • If your student is an athlete do you contact the Coach regarding the amount of playing time or other sport team related issues or does your student manage and negotiate their athletic commitments and responsibilities?
  • If your student is having academic course issues, or difficulty writing papers, do you get involved in the solution or does your student assume responsibility for achieving their academic success and seeking assistance from The Learning Center, The Writing Center, and tutors?
  • If your student is having roommate issues do you get involved in solving the problem or do you let your student develop new relationships, resolve interpersonal conflict, and learn when to escalate issues to the proper authority?
  • If your student has been identified by the university as having a conduct violation do you try to take over resolving the issue with the university as opposed to reinforcing with the student what behaviors are appropriate per the university policy?
  • When you visit your student do you take over as if they were at home and it was your house and not their room?
  • When your student is having problems do you stay in constant contact to “manage” the successful resolution of the problems or do you let your student learn problem solving, self-advocacy, and problem resolution skills?
  • How many times a semester do you go to the campus and visit your student rather than let them get on with creating and living their own college life?


Have some fun!


Read the Post University blog article “The 5 most extreme college parents (INFOTOON)”