I wonder when the phenomenon of parents who think their children cannot make decisions or make it through life without their help sprung up (AKA – The Helicopter Parent). It was most certainly after I was a kid because there was NOBODY talking to my teachers about grades (except me) or calling the department office when I was in college to try and change a class schedule for me (I’m not kidding!!) while I slept-in. My mother was pretty hands-off when it came to “fixing” supposed wrongs dealt me. If I felt it was unfair I had better deal with it myself.
I, myself, am what I like to call a “mildly free-range” parent. My kids know I’m behind them 100% for things that require mom back-up. Talking to the teacher about an assignment or a grade on a paper? Ummmm, no. I’ve heard the “did you put the blue folder in my backpack?” a few times and my kids always hear back, “it’s not my backpack, why would I put a blue folder in it?” If I do everything for them (yes, I saw the blue folder, but I knew my kid was going to be along to pack his darn backpack and assumed he would actually look on his desk and put it in his backpack) what are they going to do when there isn’t anyone around to get stuff done for them? They will flounder. I don’t want that. I want kids that know how to get from point A to point M on their own, even if there are obstacles in their path. I also want them to know that there are consequences for their actions and decisions. Forgot the blue folder and have to go to homework jail at recess? I’m pretty sure he’ll remember his folder and books in the future.
Working at a University I see first-hand just how some parents are with their children and frankly, it’s embarrassing sometimes. These parents aren’t just hovering – they have landed! And they will stop at nothing to make sure little Jimmy or Janie doesn’t so much as break a sweat during their college years. I have been cussed at, threatened, coerced and called names. So you think embarrassed was harsh? I don’t.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I know exactly what I won’t be doing when my son starts college next year and that is calling the admissions, registration or department offices on his behalf. I give him advice when he asks for it but he then handles things on his own – same with my 12 y/o. If they don’t learn these skills now I don’t know when they will. And who better to teach them than the person that loves them more than anyone else in the world? Just sayin’