Helicopter parenting can be harmful for children

by Erik Cliburn | Editorial Assistant
Published: Last Updated on

Millennials are sometimes berated by members of older generations with accusations of being lazy and dependent on their parents: I agree with this. However, I believe an equal part of the blame falls on  parents. I have seen children grow up with their parents constantly at their shoulder and always there to take the reins should a problem arise. The parents of today’s college students surely have the best of intentions in helping their children, but by constantly solving every problem that comes the students way they are creating a state of dependency that will be difficult for our generation to break.

College is not only a great place to study towards a major and a degree, but it also is a place where many valuable life lessons can be learned, usually from some stressful problem in the life of the average student.  Perhaps the single most important life lesson anyone can learn in college is discovering how to be independent.

I’m not implying that students need to completely break away from their parents, only that they should not overly rely on parents to help them out. It is very important for college students to build a sense of identity while in school. This is nearly impossible to do if parents are constantly solving their children’s problems.

A big step many students need to take toward independence is with their finances; whether that be balancing and keeping track of financial aid or maintaining a checking and savings accounts. Learning how to budget funds and finances is an important step in starting life as an adult. Start by paying for a subscription of some kind, whether it be a magazine,  Netflix,  Hulu,  etc. as long as there is something that you are responsible to pay for each month. Many students are part of a family plan when it comes to cell phones and car insurance; as a way to develop more independence, start paying part of your insurance and phone bills.

Another way to become more independent is to start buying your own clothes. It helps with becoming more economical in your spending and gets you to recognize the value of your own income. I also suggest that college students should work a part-time job in order to bring some source of income for yourself.

An article entitled “How Helicopter Parents Are Ruining College Students” written by Amy Joyce of  The Washington Post mentions John and Mimi Barrow and their experience with helicopter parenting. John is an educational psychologist and Mimi is an elementary school teacher.

“We have seen the harm that helicopter parents can do and we see the need for children to grow and build their self-confidence,”  Mimi said. “When you hover, you take away that sense of self-esteem.”

I understand that  many  parents have saved for a long time to put their children through school. The problem with helicopter parenting occurs when parents are so involved with their child’s life that the student cannot do anything without their parents knowing about it within 24 hours.

Many helicopter parents believe that their children deserve special attention above other students, which is simply not the case.

Everyone is special in his or her own way, but the truth is, no one is any more special than anyone else.

As a student who pays for my books, bills and schooling I find it baffling when I run across a student who cannot even act independently enough to pick out their own textbooks, and have to rely on the help of their parents to do so. It is time for students to realize that college is not some trial phase of the “real world;” this is beginning of our adult lives and some independency is in order. Being challenged, having to solve problems and fixing mistakes is what determines someone’s character. Without those experiences, we cannot hope to survive in the outside world.

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