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Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education


Kathleen Elliott Vinson


Suffolk University Law School

March 2013

Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 29, pp. 423, 2013
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 12-05

Abstract:     
“They are needy, overanxious and sometimes plain pesky – and schools at every level are trying to find ways to deal with them. No, not students. Parents – specifically parents of today’s ‘millennial generation’ who, many educators are discovering, can’t let their kids go.” (Valerie Strauss, Putting Parents in Their Place: Outside Class, Wash. Post, March 21, 2006.) Some parents, called “helicopter parents” for constantly hovering over their children, are now making higher institutions their landing pads. They hover from the prospective admissions stage to graduation and the job market beyond – contacting presidents of universities, deans, and professors, disputing their child’s grade; requesting an extension for their child; complaining their child does not receive as much praise as the parent would like; completing assignments for their child; requesting notification of grades their child received; and even attending job fairs and interviews with their child. They are intervening in their children’s higher education in increased frequency and intensity, presenting challenges socially, pedagogically, and legally.

This article explores the phenomenon of helicopter parenting hovering over higher education institutions and the possible implications that may affect students’ learning, teaching, grading, curriculum, future employers, and the law itself. Finally, the article provides recommendations to help strike a balance between the changing rights, roles, and responsibilities of higher education institutions and their students’ parents.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

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Date posted: January 11, 2012 ; Last revised: April 2, 2013

Suggested Citation

Vinson, Kathleen Elliott, Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education (March 2013). Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 29, pp. 423, 2013; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 12-05. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1982763 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1982763

Contact Information

Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States
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