Helicopter Parents - To Be or Not to Be
Parents love their children more than any other beings on the planet but no parent of a college student wants to be considered a “Helicopter Parent” i.e. a parent that hovers and intervenes inappropriately. So when does a parent cease being a nurturing, loving, concerned parent and cross over to the “helicopter” category?
A parent of a college student should not run “interference” for the student. That is, the student should be encouraged to problem-solve on his/her own. The student should line up a tutor if necessary. The student should talk with a professor if there are performance questions. The student should meet with Residence Life staff in the event of roommate conflict. The student should make an appointment with the Center for Health and Counseling if there are physical health or emotional issues.
One of the best approaches that a parent can take is to become fully aware of the University resources that are available and then nudge, cajole, require and/or just hope that the student does the leg- work! One purpose of the Center for Student Success and Retention website is to help parents become familiar with these resources as well as the names of the professionals that their student can call for assistance.
One of the strongest aspirations for parents is that their children develop into self-sufficient and capable problem-solvers able to cope with the challenges that life will bring. Students need to hone these coping skills during college just like they need to enhance academic expertise. Too much parental involvement can stunt the growth of these vital abilities.
There is no chapter in the parenting handbook that describes exactly how to manage the balance between helping and helicoptering. But as a partner in the process, Creighton stands ready to assist and advise.
Parents….please call (402-280-5566) or e-mail the Center for Student Success and Retention if you have questions or need some advice. Then, armed with the knowledge and information, encourage your student to take the next step i.e. make the call, see the professor, meet with the RA or schedule the appointment. Your student may stumble along the way but by doing his/her own problem-solving, will develop the confidence and self-sufficiency that every parent hopes for.