Ask yourself an important question: When something goes wrong, to whom do you turn? We’re not talking about something serious, like an unexpected pregnancy or the death of a loved one. Just the little stuff. Let’s say, for instance, that your computer malfunctions. Or maybe there’s not enough hot water for your morning shower. Or you find that your car has a flat tire. What do you do? Do you try to fix the problem yourself? Do you ask a friend for help? Do you start scanning the online directory for a university staff member who can lend you some assistance?
Or do you flip your cell and expect Daddy to save the day?
For far too many students at Kent State, and across the country, cutting the apron strings is harder than ever before, and the result is a phenomenon known as “helicopter parenting.” Parents hover around the university, badgering administrators and looking to solve every single little problem that comes their student’s way.
“We have a generation of parents who are heavily involved in their students’ lives, and it causes all sorts of problems,” said Dean Adam Weinberg of Colgate University in a recent article featured on CNN.com. Author Helen E. Johnson says that the Baby Boomers are to blame for this debacle. “This is a group of parents who have been more involved in their children’s development from birth on than any generation in American history.”
But helicopter parenting is a two-way street, and all too often, the students have their role to play in this sad little melodrama. Most everyone has dealt with an overprotective parent — or at least a parent they thought was overprotective — but nowadays, students invite the sort of overprotection that results in helicopter parenting. For as much as they claim to treasure the independence that comes with life away from home, they are quick to fall back on their parents’ support when things go awry. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Their mantra is reflected in the title of Johnson’s guide for college parents: The book is called Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money.
None of this is to say that frequent calls home are a bad thing, or that parental reliance is always and everywhere a means for students to shirk responsibility. Checking in to see how things are going back in Podunkville is no sin, and consulting your parents when it comes to making life-altering decisions is certainly wise. But you’re a big boy/girl now, and it’s time to start living like one.
No matter how far along in your academic career you are, it’s not too late to liberate yourself from helicopter parenting, which is frequently a result of students refusing to use their college experience as a means of personal growth. Parents only want the best for their children, and oftentimes they become helicopter parents because their children refuse to assert independence and start solving their own problems.
It’s been said that the habits one develops during their college years will stick for the rest of his/her life. Helplessness shouldn’t be one of them.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.