Helicopter Parents: Are You Helping or Hindering Your College Kid?

You’ve heard it on the news, read about it in books, seen it all over websites—the term “helicopter parents” has really taken off in the last few years. It’s often used to describe parents who are extremely involved in their child’s life, and “hover” over everything they do. Some say this type of parenting works, while others think it puts children at a disadvantage when they journey out on their own into the real world.

What do you think? If parents are so intimately connected to every aspect of their kid’s academic and social life as they grow up, what will happen when that child goes off to college? And, how do helicopter parents deal with their kids being so far out of reach?

An article we came across from msnbc.com highlights a study conducted in 2010 that took a closer look at the effects helicopter parenting had on college students. The study, done by researchers at Keene College in New Hampshire, found that these students were more vulnerable, anxious and self-conscious than those students who didn’t have helicopter parents.

Being overly dependent and more neurotic are probably not the qualities most parents try to cultivate in their college kids, so that makes helicopter parenting a huge problem, right? Well, not so fast… The National Survey of Student Engagement found children of helicopter parents reported more satisfactory college experiences and did better in areas of critical thinking and writing.

Wanting your child to do well and succeed in life is every parent’s aspiration. Yet, according to many college professors and administrators, the helicopter parents take this a little too far by constantly swooping in and solving their kids’ problems.

From calling professors about grades to contacting RAs about roommates, parents are getting more and more involved in college life. If you think this sounds a lot like you, you may want to take a step back and find a balance between guidance and interference.

It just makes sense: The more you do for your kid now, the less they’ll know how to do for themselves later. Learning from their mistakes may seem like a cliché, but all clichés are grounded in truth. College is a time for your child to take everything you’ve taught them, and use it to overcome challenges on their own. As one college parent put it: You’ve got to let go to let them succeed.

Do you consider helicopter parents a good or bad thing? Let us know what you think.

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About The-Prof

When it comes to bringing our readers the most relevant info out there, I aim to be head of the class. Some say I have my Master’s in serving up tips you use, topics you want to view and facts you never knew. I’ve been a researcher/writer for almost 15 years, and I’m crazy about everything college. From mascots to midterms, I’m obsessed with reporting on all aspects of college life in today’s world—so parents can better connect with their college kids.

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