Helicopter parents ruin college life

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket, Date: September 11, 2014
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For students at Slippery Rock University, college is the first fundamental step in moving into adulthood. For many, it is their first time living away from someone that needs to know where they are every minute of the day; it is an escape from the constant nagging to clean your room or do your homework that plagued life up until now.

Sometimes, the move to college isn’t quite the escape it was supposed to be. Your parents are still watching your every move, showing up every weekend and calling every day. 

“I’m just looking out for your best interests. I’ve been on this earth a lot longer than you have so just let me handle this,” a parent might say. This same parent may be under the impression that you’re still living at home full time and should be calling every single night.

This is your classic case of helicopter parents and they are ruining the college experience and a student’s transition into becoming an adult. They hover and push themselves into college life when those days are long behind them.

Of course, there are things to miss about being home. The home-cooked meals, having someone that loves you to come home to, do your laundry, be your advocate when you need someone to have your back and bake cookies for you are things that come to mind. Who doesn’t love those things?

The thing is, your parents are not at school with you. This is your time to embrace independence and establish your identity as an individual. It’s time to really learn those life skills like doing laundry, cooking meals and  how to manage your time. 

It can be terrifying for a student, parents and even the university at times, to think of students as competent young adults.

For a student, this could mean many mistakes and regrets. It could mean new challenges like talking with professors yourself about your concerns or balancing your academics with your social life. It could also mean figuring out how to adjust to life more on your own.

For parents, there is the fear of letting go and taking to the sidelines if you aren’t needed. Nothing is harder than witnessing someone you love struggle with something if you think you can make it better. More often than not though, you’re actually stopping that person from growing up.

The university, for the most part, seems to have a pretty good grasp on the fact that students are the ones now in the driver’s seat. A big contributing factor to this is a student’s rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which protects a students information from being disclosed to parents without the student’s consent.

Are mistakes going to happen? Probably. Are you going to learn more from handling something yourself than if you had a parent is handling the situation for you? Definitely.

It’s a delicate situation beginning to split off from your life at home, especially with all the good things you don’t want to leave behind. Find a balance because after all, you haven’t disowned your family. You’ll always love them and the life you have at home. But if you’ve got a helicopter parent, you need to let them know that this is your life and while you appreciate everything they have done for you up until this point, it is time for you to live it. You can always go to them for help when you need it, but they should not be involving themselves like they may have in the past. Tell them to let you come to them if you need them.

Parents: respect that. You’ve raised great kids, now let them prove it.  

Spread your wings Slippery Rock University students; it’s time to leave the nest behind. And parents, it’s time to let them.

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