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Helicopter Parent Assessment

Am I a 'helicopter' parent, hovering too much and not letting my young adult child grow up?

Helicopter parents hover, helping their young adult children too much. They may clean up after them still, help them with their school work, decide their major and help them with their class schedule. They will intervene to solve minor problems with roommates or professors. More and more colleges report that helicopter parents are making their presence felt on campus. Some even show up for college job fairs to help their child interview! Hovering parents have negative effects on themselves, their child, and the schools. Helicopter parents suffer more anxiety and less satisfaction with life. Children of these overly involved parents are arriving at colleges without basic social skills and the knowledge they need to solve their own problems. Colleges have to spend money on the resources required to deal with the phone calls and emails, contributing to increased tuition costs. Answer the questions in this quick assessment to see if you might be a helicopter parent, so you can begin to allow your young adult to become independent and assume the responsibilities that will lead to successful adulthood. Remember, the mistakes your children make along the way are some of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn.

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A   The last thing I want to be is a helicopter parent; my goal is to see them independent so my husband and I can move on and enjoy our own lives for once. The problem is they both have LD/ADD/Anxiety. This is not easily visible to counselors and instructors and the girls choose not to always share this info. While I can do no more for the older as she has successfully entered Grad school with a high GPA and I am happy to let her make her own mistakes, the younger one is still on the fence and can fail out at the drop of a hat not because she is not a good learner or unmotivated, she is actually the opposite. Her problem is she is HIGHLY DISORGANIZED and still LACKS PRIORITIZING SKILLS and her anxiety keeps her from seeking assistance and understanding that support is available without negative consequences. If I let her fall without giving her the support she would otherwise get from the educational institution, this will have a massive financial impact on me that I can't handle because she will no longer have medical insurance (which she needs for treatment and existing conditions) and not only will her college bills (about $40K to date) become available, but she will have very limited earning potential, no socialization opportunities, and the anxiety of losing her chosen goals will disintegrate. School support systems don't take into consideration these underlying reasons for parent involvement and often choose the easy labeling of "helicopter parent" without undetsanding that we are just protecting our own interests while desperately trying to give the support the school would otherwise but does not because the student is judged for admission to programs like Project Connections (which would be exactly what she needs) based on a prior education without successful support. So to get her to that point, I have to attempt to do the job. The truth is though, neither of my girls would have successfully completed HS, never mind made it into college, and Grad School without my watchful eye and nagging (them, not the school--nor did I assist with their assignemnts beyond reminding them to spellcheck, be mindful of required formatting and neatness/presentation). There education level exceeds mine so I could never be so presumptuous as to get involved with their content. So while I resent the label in my case of "helicopter parent" I prefer to accept one of "liaison" to a Spec. Needs student who needs it. And seriously, while the school will say "let them fall on their own and learn the consequences", how many years can we afford to let them stay in college. My older daughter, though successful now in college, had to spend $140K so far to qualify for a job that pays $55K (teacher) and will now have to spend about another $50K to get extra certifications and degrees so she can move up the ladder to afford to pay her college loans. Schools needs to have committees to hear these concerns and understand why "Helicopter Parent" is sometimes an unfair label and why we have this need to supervise. You do have support in place--but you can't force the kids to seek what's available when they think their motivation and commitment to their goals is enough, yet find themselves surprised when they fail. - 10/1/2010 8:46:59 AM

D   I agree that parents are like this. We are the baby boomer generation, worked hard, independent, and of course we are control freaks. I have seen first hand how "disabling" being a helicopter parent can be... I have three teens in my house and the moment I decided that they were "grown up" and had to do things on their own, they started to DO THEM!!! Wow, now we are all much happier than when I was the one making sure everything was right and perfect. Let them take the steering wheel so they learn to drive! - 9/7/2010 12:56:05 PM

Z   Parents are spending all their hard earned money, so I think it is better to be a helicopter parent....Better safe than sorry!!! You will only understand this when you are funding the education with your hard earned money!!! - 2/14/2008 10:50:07 AM


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