Helicopter parenting on steroids: Parents are volunteering at colleges because they just can't let go

Some parents have taken the term "Helicopter Parent" to a whole new level. According to a recent New York Times article, some parents are volunteering at colleges and universities. They are working at college fairs and participating in admission interviews. These parents also help with mailings to potential students.

Helicopter parenting has entered a new stratosphere.  Where will it end? The young adults that go to college should not have their mothers hovering around campus.  Students should not be waving to their mother on campus because she is volunteering in the admissions office.  Those days were over in elementary school.

According to Hara Estroff Marano, editor at large of Psychology Today and author of “A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting,” it’s just a way for parents to stay close with their children when they should cut the cord: “Let’s be honest about the emotional purpose it is serving. It allows parents to be overly involved in their kids’ lives. There is a lot of rationalization going on.”

Parents defend their helicopter parenting by saying that they are helping other parents and students by honestly answering their questions about the school and student life.  How about we let our young adults have their own experiences in college without any preconceived notions from others? They feel as though they are helping the colleges recruit highly qualified students that can help improve the school's national rankings.

The colleges and universities claim that the parent volunteers help them financially because they can't afford to pay staff to attend all of the college fairs.  So let me get this straight, parents are paying anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000 in tuition and they are volunteering their time.  All of this, so they can continue to hover over their child.

Parents need to let their children grow up and find their own way.  That is not going to happen if parents go to college with them.  College is the time in a child's life, when parents need to take a back seat.  How can they become fully functional adults if their parents are involved in every aspect of their lives?

A great benefit to the helicopter parents on steroids, is the access to their child and the professors.  I have read various articles about parents contacting professors about their child's work in college.  A friend of mine teaches at a law school and she has been contacted by parents about students grades.

I think that Hara Estroff Marano summed it up best when she said "parents should stop turning parenthood into a profession." Parenting is a job that never ends but your duties change. Helicopter parents keep ignoring the memo that tells them that their duties have changed.

 

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