Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education
30 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2012 Last revised: 2 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 2013
“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.
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