North Texas Daily

Helicopter parents bad for everyone

Helicopter parents bad for everyone

September 04
01:07 2014

Parents are a bit protective when you leave for college. That’s understandable to an extent, but the relationship’s dynamic should begin to change. Parents should not attempt to control grown students and students shouldn’t let them.

The term helicopter is normally reserved for big, bug like flying machines often operated by the government, or rich people. They’re loud, obnoxious and, when hovering in a close proximity, make it difficult to think. Like your mom when she found that 7th grade report card under the trash, under your bed.

Well in 1990 the word was used to describe methods of parenting, which cut out children’s independence in favor of overbearing adults.

If you were lucky to avoid ‘helicopter parenting,’ thanks mom, it’s likely you’ve at least observed overprotective parents. It’s undoubtedly an ugly sight, and causes more harm than the opposite, not to mention it’s bad for your health.

In a 2013 study conducted by West Virginia University, helicopter parents hinder “their [children’s] effective decision making, independence and self-confidence.”

All are desired skills for college life. It’s difficult to function without them when tasked with juggling school, your social life and, most likely, a job. To become an adult, students must separate from parents to become individuals, which is scary for both parties.

Sometimes the helicopters never leave the dorms. In a Sept. 2 article from the Washington Post, Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University, said parents called about roommate issues. Really mom and dad?

“Don’t you trust your child to deal with this on his own?” he told the post.

While it’s okay for a parent to be involved, contacting the president is an extreme example of crossing the line. Can you imagine if your mom or dad contacted UNT president Neal Smaetresk to report that your roommate borrowed that ugly sweater they bought you?

Another 2013 study published in the “Journal of Child and Family Studies,” found that college students with overbearing parents experienced “behaviors [that] were related to higher levels of depression and decreased satisfaction with life.”

This doesn’t advocate dumping your parents like you would a dull significant other. Nor does it ask you to develop a Peter and Meg Griffin father-daughter relationship. Instead it suggests that independence is necessary for students to thrive in this constantly moving world.

Remember how your mom used to handle your laundry? Pour your cereal? Those are unreasonable things to ask of your parents when you live on your own.

It’s hard for parents to say goodbye and watch their children become adults, but it’s part of life’s process. So ask your mom about advice on how to deal with your roommate, but don’t ask her to handle the confrontation for you.

College is about discovering who you are and what you want to be, so don’t let your parents dictate.

Plus it’ll make visits home more meaningful, the cooking taste better and the conversation interesting. Who’s against that?

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