In Defense of Helicopter Parents
College Parents of America (CPA) often finds itself in the position of defending parents and our behavior in support of our college-aged, or soon to be college-aged, children.
In the view of CPA president James A. Boyle, some small percentage of us may go over the edge and try to do too much in support of, or on behalf of, our kids. Examples of this behavior are filling out the college application itself or writing an application essay in the pre-college years, or calling a professor about a grade or e-mailing a residence hall advisor to settle a roommate dispute during the in-college years.
Unfortunately, that small percentage of parents who do engage in over-the-top and intrusive activities tend to get the lion’s share of attention from college officials and some members of the media.
Boyle is convinced that most current and future college parents simply love their children and wants to do whatever they can to support their children’s activities on the road to and through college. That’s why the mission of our organization is to empower you as parents to best support your children on that path.
As Boyle tells news organizations on a regular basis, it is important to note that, as a society, we have gained a near-universal consensus in support of the importance of parents being involved with and supportive of their children in the K-12 school years.
This involvement is encouraged because a wide body of research shows that the children of supportive parents are more likely to continue in school, to succeed in and finish high school, and to go on to college.
So with that as a given, it is unrealistic, in Boyle’s view, to then ask parents to suddenly turn off that involvement at the college campus gates.
Let Mr. Boyle know if you think that he is off-base, but he believes that, in general, today’s parents tend to:
- have children later in life;
- have fewer children than back in the day;
- provide, or strive to provide, a “best of” support system for their kids, whether it be an academic tutor, a SAT/ACT coach, a bevy of ballet lessons or a commitment to a travel youth sports team.
Reprinted with the permission of College Parents of America. © 2007 CollegeParents.org
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