Helicopter Parent? Your Kid May Have Trouble in College

I'm in trouble.

A new study says helicopter parents may have an effect (and not a good one) as kids transition to adulthood.

Guilty as charged.

As thousands of young adults prepare to leave the nest and attend college for the first time, parents may want to examine whether they are kind and supportive or hovering into helicopter parent territory, according to newswise.com.

Parental involvement is crucial to a child’s development into an adult, but Florida State University (FSU) researchers are finding that crossing the line between supportive and too involved could indirectly lead to issues such as depression and anxiety for young adults.

“Helicopter parents are parents who are overly involved,” says FSU doctoral candidate Kayla Reed. “They mean everything with good intentions, but it often goes beyond supportive to intervening in the decisions of emerging adults.”

I suppose it makes sense.  If you do everything for your kid (me), and try to influence teachers over a bad grade (me, again), how can they learn to do things for themselves?

True confession.  I wanted to go argue with a teacher over a grade my son got in his freshman year of high school.  But he said, "Let me handle it."  I held my breath, and did.

Of course, you don't always get the result you want when you stop hovering.  (He still got the "B.")  But I did recognize that it was important for him to stand up for himself and thankfully, he's doing it more and more (and thankfully, I'm letting him).

In the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Reed and Assistant Professor of Family and Child Sciences Mallory Lucier-Greer write that what has been called “helicopter parenting” can have a meaningful impact on how young adults see themselves and whether they can meet challenges or handle adverse situations.

Though much attention has been paid to the notion of helicopter parenting, most of the studies have focused on adolescents. This study specifically looks at the emerging adults, or college-aged students who are navigating the waters of attending college.

I still have a ways to go before I have to worry about that.  But I'm listening.


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