Are you a Helicopter Parent? Find out for sure.

by Dr. Casper Poodel

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.

Helicopter parents are so named because of their tendency to hover around and over their children, a tendency that educators say slows the development of their children. “How can college students learn to become independent if their parents won’t let go?”, asks one university dean.

Answer the questions below honestly and you’ll see if the term helicopter parent applies to you. One “yes” means you certainly have helicopter parent tendencies. Two positive answers means that you are definitely a helicopter parent, and three or (heaven forbid) more affirmative responses means that you may want to ask yourself some hard questions about why you have so little confidence in your son or daughter

1. Did you do more of the talking than your son or daughter when you visited colleges?

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

3. Did you participate in filling out your child’s college applications?

4. Did you offer your child assistance in writing his or her college admissions essays?

5. If your child tells you that his/her roommate is very difficult to live with, would you get involved?

6. If you are convinced that your child is being treated unfairly by an instructor, would you become involved?

7. Did you insist that your child choose a college or university within three hours of your home?

Please think about your answers to these question. And, consider the advice of educators that you allow your college-age children to develop a sense of self-reliance, find their own solutions to problems, and make their own decisions whenever possible. By all means, continue to help and advise them, but only when necessary. It’s for their own good. Really.

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