Helicopter Parents

Discussion in 'College' started by Mamacita, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Apr 12, 2009

    You know those pathetic, annoying helicopter parents who hover over their children constantly and do far too many things FOR them that the child should be doing himself/herself?

    They are doing this at the college level these days, too. I've had parents call me at home to ask for exceptions and make excuses for their adult children! Incredible, isn't it.

    And instead of being humiliated by this, their kids actually EXPECT it!

    Parents are even contacting businesses, demanding to know why their child wasn't hired, etc.

    Talk about Gypsy Rose Lee's crazy mom!!!!
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I've made an enemy or two saying "I'm sorry, I cannot legaly discuss and student's grade, standing, and progress in my course with anybody who is not the student himself." The broken record technique works fairly well here, though it does serve to anger a few parents.

    The only expecption to this is the parents of the students enrolled in a particular program that is the last two years of HS and the first two years of college combined. Since they are minors, and HS students, then we technically DO have to talk to parents, though I know a couple professors who refuse to teach any class that has a high likelyhood of having those students enroll simply because they don't want to deal with them.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    One day at lunch a teacher in my school said that she was tired because she had stayed up late to type her son's paper for a college class. I asked her if she was going to retire when he graduated so she could type his reports at work. She said, "Yeah, I know but he needs really high grades to make up for a low GPA his first 2 years".
     
  5. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Our students can sign a waiver, permitting us to talk to their parents, but you can imagine what kind of student does that.

    We have a lot of students here on what we call "The Parental Fantasy Plan."
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm sure there's a waiver somewhere at my college, but I've sure never seen it. Besides, I like not having it...it means I don't have to talk to parents no matter how mad they get or how many threats they make to my job :D
     
  7. newbie1234

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    I read about some companies sending out recruitment letters to job applicants and the job applicants' parents since parents have become so involved in the job search process. It's unfortunate that this is becoming socially acceptable. If I go to a doctor, and she asks me to wait a few minutes while she confirms my diagnosis with her parents, I'm going Thoreau and living out my days in a shack in the woods.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    As the parent of a first-year college student, I felt "out of the loop" at first; I needed to learn to trust that I don't need to see every mark or assignment (not that I ever did assignments for my kids or argued grades!). I know that if there are serious struggles, I will know.
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I was not involved in any of my kids college papers. They were taught from early on to take care of their school responsibilities. We always told them that if they didn't do a good job, it could be fun being the biggest kid in 3rd. grade(or whatever grade.) It all begins in my classes of Pre-K. I kid you not, I have these twin girls who walk in with their mom and drop their coats at her feet and walk away, as she bends down and hangs them up for them. Poor parenting from little on is such a handicap for these kids.
     
  10. Canadian Gal

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    As someone who is dyslexic - my Mom typed my papers and still types things for me, because I have a hard time transcribing work from paper to typing, but that was the extent of it. She didn't ever make changes - though she would call me over and ask me questions if she didn't like my wording or was confused by something.

    So parents typing things - that I can understand, but that was the extent of her involvement in my University career, and as I got to be a better typer, I just typed my papers without handwriting them first, thus eliminating the problem.
     
  11. HMM

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    Many of our students have done this at my college, but I have yet to talk to a parent and I've been at my current position for 3 years. Quite franky, I don't think I would talk to them anyway. I'm under No obligation to talk to them. I'd rather talk to the student.
     
  12. McKennaL

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    The first time my daughter went to a college counselor...she was on orientation and they welcomed parents to come and see the campus.. this counselor shoved a piece of paper in my face as we entered the room.

    It said...in not so nice a tone... sit down and stay quiet. We don't/won't deal with parents. Seriously...considering that I hadn't said a word t that point, I was a bit insulted. YOU (the college INVITES and ENCOURAGES us to come to see the campus and meet the faculty...and then you ASSUME I need to be put in my place.

    I can't remember what my daughter asked me at one point... but I looked at the counselor and said smuggly, "Do I have you permission to speak?" I think he got the clue.

    Helicopter parents get THEIRS eventually...but you can't assume that all parents need help in cutting the strings.
     
  13. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I get irritated when parents of my 6th graders come to do things for their child/expect me to do something for their child (clean out their locker, give their homework to their brother so they won't lose it on the way home, etc.) I can't imagine how irritated I would be if someone's mom asked me to handle or tried to handle something the college student should. When these college graduates are back living at home not lifting a finger to do anything for themselves I'm sure the parents will wonder why.
     
  14. indigo-angel

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    I find this whole "helicopter parent" thing so amazing. I kinda feel like I missed out on the hovering:). When I was in school, my mother came to school only a total of 6 times, including my 4 graduations (K, 8th, 12, college). She believed that school was my business and my responsibility. She did help me get my first job though.
     
  15. WaProvider

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    :spitwater::lol::lol:
     
  16. HiFlyer

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    At the college where I work we sometimes have contact from parents who are concerned about their children's progress. In Australia it's against the law to divulge information provided by an adult (over 18) for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was originally provided. It's also illegal to discuss anything much with parents of an adult, without the student's written permission.

    Having said that, I'm perfectly happy to talk to parents if they want, and with their child's permission. Generally the parent wants the same thing as the child, which is the same that I want, so I see it as an opportunity to speak to both, and support them both as parent and child.

    None of this means that parents can do work for the child, or that we treat students as incapable. Far from it - they have to develop adult responsibility of their own, which is at least as important as whatever academic goals they achieve, in my view. But if parents want a part in this process, and the child doesn't object, I have no problem. Any way I can help the student to grow in responsibility, and support him or her in that growth, I'm up for it, including having discussions with significant others in their life.
     
  17. AJLive

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    I would simply ask the student what they think of the situation first, and then let them know my opinion. If they choose to take my advice and talk to their parents themselves, then I would send a quick and nice email to their parents letting them know MY opinion. Ultimately, I would be neutral in my email and let them make the decision themselves.
     
  18. TeacherSandra

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    Oct 31, 2009

    Helicopter Parents? Love the title of this thread! :D
     
  19. Miss W

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    I'm just shocked that parents are still doing this at this level. I haven't been out of college long (6 years ago), but even then I thought it weird that the school would send my grades to my parents. Hello. I was the one paying for school. I was responsible for my school work. Not them.
     
  20. TeacherSandra

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    wow; I can surely see your pont Miss W. Now listen to this one...we pay for our daughter's college education and the university DOES NOT let us see her grades! Go figure! :mad:
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    If your kid made it into college, you probably didn't need to see every mark or assignment when they were in grade school.

    Which is really the bottom line. Any kid who gets into a university, should be capable of managing their own education. If not, then they belong someplace else.
     
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    They may have sent the grades to your parents, but the envelope was likely addressed to you. That you allowed your parents to open it was your concern.

    My grades went to my parents to, but that was only because that was the address I gave them.
     
  23. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Actually, they were addressed to my parents. Yes I lived with them, but that was the only thing they had to do with my college experience. Me living with them rent free at that time was how they helped me with college.
     
  24. Mamacita

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    I learned today that our military is plagued by these helicopter parents, too! Sergeants are being trained in "dealing with mothers" now.

    Unfrickinbelievable. Not to mention shameful.
     
  25. MissCeliaB

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    Well, some colleges have open admissions policies. This means that anyone, regardless of high school GPA, test scores, or actual ability to read or write can attend college.

    Even more selective colleges are finding that they have more and more students in remedial course work. I think parents should be able to see what they are paying for: semester grades, purchases made with meal-plan money, etc. I know where I went to college, you could buy cigarettes and porn with your convenience points, and then charge it to home. Yikes!
     
  26. Shanoo

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    I think it's shameful.

    In the area where I grew up (Atlantic Canada), it was pretty standard that after high school graduation, you were an adult and expected to act, and be treated, like one. Some, but not many, stayed at home while they went to university but the majority of us moved out. Throughout my university career, I believe I lived with them for, oh, about 1 year off and on. My grades were my grades. My expenses were my expenses. If I fell into trouble, they would help me, but never once did they bail me out. The few times they lent me money, I was expected to pay it back.

    Now, I live elsewhere in Canada and I find that so many parents AND children cannot cut the strings. I work with a woman who has told her son (in his first year of university) that his cannot move out nor can he go to a university outside of the city in which we live until he's finished his undergrad. Then, if he chooses to go through a graduate program, he can choose what he wishes, however she strongly suggests staying home. She hs told me that it's so that she can have him home for as long as possible.

    By the same token, I have a teacher friend who is in her 3rd year teaching, lives at home with her parents and has no interest in leaving. She's a professional, makes good money and little debt that I know of, and has no interest of leaving home.

    I find it all very scary, actually. Kids need to learn how to be adults and to take responsibility for their own actions. If you (in a general sense) choose to pay for your child's post-secondary education, that's your choice. However, your children are ADULTS. If you don't like not being privy to their grades, what they spend their money on, etc., then don't pay.
     
  27. Mamacita

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    If the student is paying for his/her own education, then all decisions and consequences are his/her own business.

    If the student is still leeching off Mums and Daddums, them what pays the bills makes the rules.

    Them what don't pay, don't get.

    Ditto for curfews and rules. Those who are not paying their own way must obey other people's rules. Those who pay their own way can do whatever they like in their own house.

    People who live in my house obey my rules. Those who don't like my rules can move out and make their own rules.

    Of course, if you're 35 years old and still living in your mother's basement, you've got problems no forum can help you with.

    If you ARE living in your mother's basement, however, you'd best obey her rules, unless you've got a lease and are paying viable rent.

    I don't care how old you are, or how much money you make, or how mature you think you are: if you're living in someone else's house, you live by their terms. If you don't like their terms, move out. If you can't move out, you're not an adult yet.
     
  28. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    wooohooo I made it to adulthood three years ago (moved out of hubby's parent's basement). I always told my mother my grades but she never called the professors about them. If I did do well in a class it was my own fault.

    My grandfather's golden rule is "He that makes the gold makes the rules"or something like that. BTW my sister thought that was the golden rule. We all laughed at her for a long time. (she was 20 and didn't know the golden rule).
     
  29. Shanoo

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    I agree. However, that is something that needs to be sorted out between parent and child, not parent and college.
     
  30. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Definately schools should send grades to the student. If a parent is paying for school and wants to see the grades that should be discussed between parent and student. As for the staying at home thing, I think intent is a big thing. I lived at home for a year after graduating. My parents were happy to have me. I'd been out of the country for 3 years and at college (where they saw me about 10 days a year) for another 5. However, when I lived at home I saved TONS of money so when I bought my house my downpayment was about 30% of the value of the house. I don't think there are too many black and white parenting rules but I would agree students should talk to their profs if over the age of 18.
     
  31. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Yikes! Saddened to see 'helicopter parents' is a thread in the college section! Sorry, we're doing the best we can to generate independence in the younger grades!
     
  32. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    My first semester of college I knew this guy. He kind of had his eye on me and we exchanged numbers. We talked on and off. One time he called me and I heard this noise in the background and I was all what's that. He said, "My mom's doing my paper." :eek: I tried to end the converstation shortly after that. As if that wasn't off putting enough he had NO shame in yelling at her just minutes later for not doing it right. :spitwater: :unsure: Let me mention, I found out later that was his second time taking the class and he still failed it.
     
  33. HMM

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    Hopefully the third time he takes the class he will get someone to write his papers that actually knows what they are doing. ;)
     
  34. newbie87

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    I'm not the type to wish ill will on anyone, but honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't graduate. Someone like that can't have a lot of success in life.
     
  35. HMM

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    Especially if Mommy is doing all his work.
     
  36. Toak

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    I'd have a heart attack if I had to be graded on my parent's work - the quality would definitely be worse than what I'd turn in.

    However, I think in many ways elementary teachers create helicopter parents. In example the school I sub in recently had fourth graders create a native american scene. I immediately identified the two children who created the scene entirely on their own - the boy I spoke with was very proud of it. Other teachers came in and said they wouldn't give him higher than a C-. But they'd give out an A+ to the scenes that were definitely created entirely by parents. Fourth graders do not drill holes in and sand coconut shells. Nor do they shellac their work. But by grading in such a way, the school is sending home the message that "if you want your child to do decently in school, you need to do his work for him"
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You're absolutely right Toak!!!!

    I'm very happy to say that my kids have always been graded fairly on those projects... and I'm one of those mean moms who will get them all the stuff they need, give them one idea to get them started, and leave the room for half an hour.
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm one of those mean moms as well, Alice! Trying to keep my husband from helping with science projects is another issue altogether--"It's her project, she needs to do it by herself. No, you cannot tell her how to change it so that it will work."
     
  39. Toak

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    My mom wasn't just a "its your work you should know how to do it yourself" person - she also refused to provide me with any materials, under the reason that if I needed materials for a project the school would have given them to me. That once resulted in the costume I needed for a presentation being partially made out of paper towels, while other students had high quality store bought materials (note: we could have definitely afforded such things, my mom just liked causing a scene. She'd also hotly deny that she knew about any project if a teacher brought up my lack of materials even though just the day before she was telling my dad that he better not buy me anything for my project)

    The one boy who did the Native American scene also clearly had to come up with his materials. So I took him around to show him the other student's projects, mentioning how he could use gravel, pine cones, and grass to make his scene look better. I also told him how to use construct paper to make a fire and background. I imagine he didn't take my advice is this was the day before a holiday break, but I really felt for him having to bring that project in because no one took the time to help him out to any extent
     
  40. CindyBlue

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    I've just heard of another type of parents - "curling parents" - they sweep the path smooth and clear for their child :)
     
  41. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    I have to say that I did live in my mother's basement at 28, but I was trying to student teach and my husband was under the threat of deployment and had things that took him away for long periods of time for training. I needed help with my son, who has very particular dietary needs. HOWEVER, as an adult, I knew that it was my mother's home and whether I liked what she said or not, I had to follow the rules. When some things got to be too petty in my opinion and I was working regularly, I moved 30 minutes away. I made the choices I had to in order to finish school and feed my family too!

    That being said, my mother asks about my academic progress, even now that I am 32 and getting my master's degree. And when I had any issue with a teacher she said, well, talk to the instructor or the go through the proper channels if you think they are being unfair. Only once in high school did she talk to a teacher who was being unfair, but that was to verify for the teacher what I was telling her. I have a fine motor skill deficiency and she wanted me to color pictures of things like cells, I told her that I had truly done my best, but the fine lines were very difficult. My mother finally contacted the instructor, after the 3rd assignment that was graded poorly to tell her that she could send the medical documentation, and that she worked with my neurologist and would be happy to put him on the phone. (the deficiency was due to epileptic seizures). The teacher, did not take off for small things not being colored correctly after that. Other than that, my mother NEVER 6 grade to college, argued with a teacher on my behalf!

    GO MOM!
     

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