Are You A Hover-er (AKA Helicopter Parent)?
Do you stand ready to come to your child’s rescue at the first sign of trouble? Have you ever picked up your phone to call your high school or college student’s teachers? Do you arrange your child’s class/course schedule? Micromanage most aspects of your child’s routine and behavior much? Is your child your friend? If you can answer yes to two or more of these questions, chances are, you’re a Helicopter Parent. You hover over your children making decisions for them and denying them the opportunity to grow from their life experiences.
Educators from grade school through college reference the phenomena od Helicopter Parents as being detrimental to the growth and development of youth. In one national survey cpr.indiana.edu of college students, 38% of freshmen and 29% of seniors said their parents intervened on their behalves to solve problems either “very often” or “sometimes”. College Counselors report higher rates of general anxiety, heightened levels of depression, a lack of confidence, feelings of less competency and showing less initiative than their peers in students whose parents were overly involved.
As a former collegiate Academic Advisor who has worked closely with hundreds of students, I saw this often. I had parents to call to tell me their child seemed sad when they last spoke and could I call the student into my office to be sure they were ok. A parent who was concerned about a roommate not keeping her side of the room tidy and asked what she could do about it. By the way, this person’s daughter didn’t have a problem with the roommate at all! How about a student who had to call a parent during our advising session so that she could be in on the discussion? Are you thinking it’s too much? If so, you’re right!
There is a difference between fulfilling your parental responsibilities to your child and being a Helicopter Parent. One teaches, nurtures and always has the child’s ultimate independence in mind. The other lives for the dependence their child has on them. The latter parenting style is stifling and crippling to the child. These children are not good at conflict resolution because their conflicts have been handled by their parents. These children aren’t capable of making sound decisions after weighing all of the facts because they’ve been limited in the opportunities to do so.
But wait parents, it’s not too late! Back up, back off and land the helicopter! Give your child the chance to choose. If they fail, so what? Let them learn. Give your child the tools needed to speak up and advocate for him/herself. The more they do, the better at it they will get.
Do you have an opinion about Helicopter Parents? Share with us.