Posts tagged ‘helicopter parenting’

September 27, 2013

‘A parenting style that abjures risk at all costs’ may be bad for the economy

by Grace

A parenting style that abjures risk at all costs may be at least partially responsible for the country’s economic doldrums.

Mollie Hemingway makes that bold statement in a blog post describing tricycle helmets for preschoolers and parents’ fears about letting youngsters mow the lawn.  The tendency to protect children from all risk is not healthy.

So to sum up, letting your child take risks allows them to conquer fear and develop “a sense of mastery.” Irrationally shielding them from risk creates phobias and psychopaths.

Excessive risk avoidance may even affect economic growth.

… a parenting style that abjures risk at all costs may be at least partially responsible for the country’s economic doldrums. In June, the Wall Street Journal pointed out four trends, observable since the 1980s, that showed a marked declined in risk-taking psychology. “Risk Averse Culture Infects U.S. Workers, Entrepreneurs” notes that ongoing job creation and destruction has slowed, that investors are less willing to back startups, that startups in general are down and that the workforce itself is resistant to migration and job change.

So maybe it was a mistake to hire a lawn service instead of making my kids mow our lawn?

.. If we’re ever going to fix America, we have to understand that freedom’s just another word for letting the neighborhood kids mow your lawn.

A bit dramatic, but I see the point.


September 26, 2013

Parental involvement in college has increased

by Grace

More evidence that parental engagement in their children’s college has increased over last few years.

Colleges and universities have noted parents’ seemingly boundless concern for their children’s well-being and have shifted strategies in response. They have boosted parental involvement, or engagement, as it is known in the fund-raising industry. Schools have doubled the number of on-campus parent associations in roughly 10 years, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and parents, in turn, have given generously, even as college costs have hit new highs. Parent donations to higher education, from 2001 to 2010, increased by nearly 50 percent, according to a study published by the Council for Aid to Education.

College parent orientations used to be rare until recently.

According to the National Survey of College and University Parent Programs, in 1999, some 35 percent of institutions offered parent orientations. In 2007, over 95 percent conducted them.

Is this good or bad?  Probably both, depending on the type of parental involvement.  One thing to consider is that skyrocketing college costs may have caused parents to become more careful about making sure their money is being spent wisely.  Hence, the increased oversight of how their children’s college is adding value.

March 9, 2012

Is it wrong to be your kid’s administrative assistant?

by Grace

Many parents believe there are valid reasons for acting as your kid’s administrative assistant in the college application process.  Here is how one mother expressed it in a CollegeConfidential thread:

I feel a like a helicopter mom… but my kid is so busy with 4 AP classes, tons of EC’s, and writing application essays like crazy. I’d rather she focus on getting A’s and writing good essays; I’ll happily do the labels and envelopes and online ordering.

College admissions is a high-stakes game, so I agree with this.

I am a helicopter mom when it comes to the college admissions because of one simple reason – it costs alot of money. I’m not just going to let my child go with it….

Kids tend to take the world as they find it, so unless the parent seeks out and presents opportunities, the kid is likely to miss some good ones. That’s been my primary role in the college search: suggesting colleges, arranging trip logistics, researching FA information and filling out EFC calculators.

In some cases, kids going it alone have needed therapy!

… Our D handled the entire college application process all by herself without asking or accepting any help from me or my husband. I’d like to point out that she was accepted to every single college she applied to. She applied for scholarships by herself and was awarded a full academic scholarship at the college she is currently attending.

The entire process was EXTREMELY STRESSFUL for her and she began to suffer from anxiety and depression for the first time in her life. We ended up getting her counseling. She is doing much, much better now….

D was very adamant about handling the entire admissions process without any assistance. I offered to help out on numerous occasions, but she firmly declined my offers. Even though it was extremely stressful, I believe that she gained a great deal of self-confidence. Believe me, I hated to see her suffer from anxiety. Her therapist agrees that she is a much stronger person now that she realizes that she is capable of handling life’s challenges on her own….

What’s the deal?  Can’t the average kid handle the college application process on his own without ending up on the therapist’s couch?  Why are parents so involved?

  • It’s very expensive.  Parents who want to be sure they’re getting the best deal feel they need to step in because their child is not savvy enough to handle that aspect of the college search.
  • It’s very competitive.  Applications often need to be packaged in a way that will make them stand out in the increasingly sophisticated enrollment management  process.
  • It makes a difference.  Adding or removing a college from the list, not missing an important deadline, and suggesting essay topics can be key in opening up opportunities that otherwise would have been missed if a parent had let their kid go it alone.

Our local school guidance counselor did a terrific job in overseeing the college application process a few years ago, but from what I’ve read this is very unusual.  Many high schools are understaffed or poorly informed, leaving students to fumble through the college choices, applications, recommendation letters and financial aid information on their own.  Lucky is the kid whose parent will step in to help.

August 24, 2011

How much parent involvement is too much?

by Grace

According to the National Survey of College and University Parent Programs, in 1999, some 35 percent of institutions offered parent orientations. In 2007, over 95 percent conducted them.

It seems amazing to me that just over ten years ago only 35 percent of colleges offered parent orientation.  Is this development good or bad?

This generation of parents has readily accepted that they have earned the Helicopter Parent label. Some flaunt the label proudly, despite warnings that their “hovering” may undermine success and prevent their children from learning some fundamental lessons of young adulthood — such as negotiating conflicts, advocating for themselves, and coping with disappointment.

I’m unaware of conclusive evidence showing that “over-involved” parents are causing serious problems for young adults.  Also, I’m a bit suspicious of a label that educators seem to promote as a way to push parents out of the way when their involvement is inconvenient to the schools.  On the other hand, I know that some parents are guilty of making it hard for their children to develop self-sufficiency skills.

Some parents speak with their college children every day

How much contact between college students and their parents is too much? The Second Annual Survey on College Parent Expectations indicated that 72.5 percent of parents communicate with their college students at least 2 or 3 times per week. If parents wish to foster independence, this number of weekly contacts may be excessive, depending on the purpose of the communication.

Parents need to ask themselves whether they are calling to simply touch base or keep tabs on their students. Parents and students should determine a communication plan that is comfortable for both parties.

Why parents should leave their kids alone at college – WaPo

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