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College Students and Helicopter Parents; A Bad Combination

Sep 3, 2008
College administrators, many of whom are parents, know how tough parenting is. They fully realize how much parents worry about their children and how everbody wants the best for them.

However, just ask a college dean, faculty member, or residence hall director about his/her interactions with helicopter parents, and you will soon see how unwelcome they are on college campuses.

The term "helicopter parent" was coined to decribe parents who seemingly hover over their children. "There is a very real danger", one college counselor says, "that such parents both embarass their children and delay their personal growth by being excessively involved in every detail of their lives".

Want to know if you are a helicopter parent? If you answer "yes" to one of the following questions, it is highly probable. Two "yes" answers and there is no question. Three such answers mean you really need to lighten up quickly.

1. Did your child have less to say to students and staff during his/her campus visits than you did?

2. During college visits, did you respond to questions addressed to your son/daughter or add to his/her answers?

3. Did you fill out your child's application for admission?

4. Did you help write the admissions essay?

5. Would you intervene if your child and his/her roommate were not getting along well?

6. If your child has prolonged difficulties in one of his/her classes, would you consider having a conversation with his/her professor?

7. Did you rule out a college within a 5-6 drive of your home because you thought it was too far away?

If you were able to answer these questions honestly, think about your "yes" answers and how your involvement in your child's life affects his or her personal development. Sometimes parents who can't bear to see their children make relatively small mistakes inadvertently set them up to be unprepared to make later decisions of far greater consequence.
About the Author
Dr. Casper Poodel is very interested in online education of all kinds. His websites are on subjects including online schools, how to choose an online college and how to earn an accredited online degree.
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