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Worst Helicopter Parent Stories!

PrepveteranPrepveteran Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
edited May 2010 in Prep School Parents
I would like for everyone to share their worse Helicopter Parent stories to illustrate how ruinous this behavior is for a childs healthy development. I know of a parent who created spreadsheets and had every minute of her daughters day planned out for her and organized her study schedule to keep her on track. As a result, her daughter is completely dependent on her mom to keep her organized and has to be chided to do her homework and study. Had she empowered the kid a long time ago to be responsible, this might not be the case. She also had her house up for Sale when her other daughter went to the University of Michigan to move closer to her while in College. She did eventually take the house off the market thank God!

Please share sinilar crazy Helicopter parent stories so others who are hovering and managing every aspect of their kids lives can see how ruinous this type of invasive parenting can be.
Post edited by Prepveteran on
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Replies to: Worst Helicopter Parent Stories!

  • BenleyBenley Posts: 1,532Registered User Senior Member
    Some kids mature later than others, and need more parental interventions to be on track. I know of a 9th grader who is incredibly smart but so easily getz distracted that whenever her parents "intervene" she'd easily get A's while getting C's letting herself manage. The parents are working hard to develop her self-discipline and self-control, but it takes time and when she's not ready, the extra push is needed so she is not lagging too far behind. Be careful not to too quickly call others "helicopter" parents. Each kid is different. In the end, these kids may grow out of it and become responsible adults.
  • PrepveteranPrepveteran Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
    That's appropriate parenting and does not fit the description of a Helicopter parent. Hopefully her D will be able to handle herself better in 10th grade or at least by her Senior year. I would hate for the parent to feel she has to stay local or put her house for sale to follow her to the town her college is in. There are parents who move to be near Boarding Schools their children attend. The question is why Board if you feel the need to do that. Also, there are parents who insist their kid call them everyday while they're in Boarding School and freak out if a day goes by without hearing from their kid or if he decides to not pick up when they call. Ridiculous Helicoptering!
  • BenleyBenley Posts: 1,532Registered User Senior Member
    In this case, the parents admit that while they know their daughter they mis-judged on how quickly she could grow. They also thought that the boarding school would change her work habit, which is naive thinking of course. It is not as easy as one would think to pull the kid back to the local school after one year. Besides, the boarding school is a great school after all if somehow she can make use of the resources (their daughter absolutely loves it). They actually are planning to move closer to her school (from mid-west and pay a morgage plus a rent - ouch).
  • IBfootballerIBfootballer Posts: 2,250Registered User Senior Member
    my friend's dad used to teach at one of the rural Ivies. she has an acquaintance from when she lived there who got into the Ivy in that town and another Ivy. This person was essentially told to go to her hometown Ivy--which is not as strong in her field of interest-- (fortunately this Ivy does not let freshmen live at home), and she is majoring in the department where her father teaches.

    The girl is 18 years old. This is ridiculous.
  • IBfootballerIBfootballer Posts: 2,250Registered User Senior Member
    same friend has an HS-aged cousin whose father tacitly consents to her (the cousin) going to parties where they both know there will be illegal substances. He has also expressly forbidden her to date. Up until a year or so ago, she was not allowed to have male friends or speak with guys her age except for school purposes.

    This girl's father is on his third wife.
  • PrepveteranPrepveteran Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
    This is ridiculous and another episode of crazy invasive parenting. I hear that chopper landing!
  • D'yer MakerD'yer Maker Posts: 3,421Registered User Senior Member
    This is a twist on the theme: When I went away to college, about 12-13 hours away by car, my mother's side of the family was pretty much unanimously of the opinion that she must be a horrible mother (a) for me to want to go so far away, and (b) to let me get away with it.

    This was something that would come up at family gatherings without fail and with no compunction about throwing it in her face. For instance, if there was a big Sunday dinner -- say at Easter time -- when I couldn't be home, someone would mention how it was just not the same without me (yeah, like they cared: I was still sitting at the kids' table!) and that would open up a big discussion at the table over dessert and coffee, with everyone in full agreement, telling each other, in front of my mom for her benefit, about the evils of colleges where students couldn't come home every weekend. (I should say that my maternal grandmother never got in on that act...having endured similar abuse when she took a job to pay for my mother to live away at a 4-year college at a time when that was unheard of for women -- if only because it was a waste of family resources since the woman should get married and then stay at home anyway).

    I always found this family dynamic to be funny (and still do), proving a long-held belief that the main purpose of extended family is to inject insanity into your life. As a parent, however, I have a greater appreciation for just how powerful and intimidating it can be for family members to sit in open (or behind-your-back) judgment of your parenting decisions -- even when you regard those relatives as totally loopy.

    Morals of the story:

    (1) My mom didn't just not helicopter: she battled against extreme external cultural/ethnic/familial pressures to not be a helicopter parent (and maybe some ingrained internal pressures too); and

    (2) Sometimes helicoptering is a coping mechanism for parents who make the decision to provide for a child to go away to school (especially so before college) but they have to soften the guilt/backlash for doing so. This latter might occur when the parents have made the "right" decision for their child even though it cuts against their cultural surroundings (for example, in the South, we found it useful to have a short elevator speech at-the-ready for when we disclosed to others that our S was at boarding school since that's an atypical thing and culturally frowned upon, at least until you acquaint people with the concept) OR it might occur if a parent made the "wrong" decision and, in retrospect, felt guilt associated with the realization that maybe they had pushed boarding school on their child prematurely.

    There's a lot going on with helicoptering. None of it -- that I can think of -- is healthy. But it's not always simply a needlessly and comically clingy parental predisposition. Sometimes, if a parent only had some kind of support mechanism -- perhaps a trusted source of validation and affirmation -- that would be enough to counteract the forces that impel them to go all-out helicopter.
  • BenleyBenley Posts: 1,532Registered User Senior Member
    Sometimes helicoptering is a coping mechanism for parents who make the decision to provide for a child to go away to school (especially so before college) but they have to soften the guilt/backlash for doing so.
    Maybe possible, but ask the parents in my story - it's all headache and dilemma, which involves job changing and huge cost on top of the tuition. It has nothing to do with "coping mechanism" but has everything to do with their determination to deal with a situation where there is no easy solution. Maybe we are not talking about the same thing after all. I guess I just don't understand the "helicoptering mental needs" at all - isn't the whole purpose of bringing up a child to let them stand on their feet when they can? Wouldn't it be easier to get another baby and enjoy the whole ride one more time?
  • oldfortoldfort Posts: 16,123Registered User Senior Member
    my friend's dad used to teach at one of the rural Ivies. she has an acquaintance from when she lived there who got into the Ivy in that town and another Ivy. This person was essentially told to go to her hometown Ivy--which is not as strong in her field of interest-- (fortunately this Ivy does not let freshmen live at home), and she is majoring in the department where her father teaches.

    Maybe she gets free tuition because her dad is on the faculty? Many colleges offer that as a fringe benefit to its employees.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 24,281Registered User Senior Member
    That's what immediately leapt to mind as well, oldfort - free tuition. Not a perk to turn down lightly.

    I know someone who has her daughter, an upperclassman in college, email her papers and she edits / corrects them. Nothing untoward, no accusations of "writing the paper for the daughter", but I find that a bit much at the college level.
  • PrepveteranPrepveteran Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
    Exactly Pizzagirl, the insanity of invasive parenting. There are others that call the teachers in B Schools to argue that the kid should have gotten a better grade. B School & College admissions officers reject kids because they don't want to deal with that Helicopter noise hovering above a child they're trying to educate and make independent. I was at a seminar where a parent said her daughter couldn't go to a College more than an hour away and that she would drop by her dorm unannounced to keep tabs and spy on her daughter. Those Helicopter blades spinning can sometime get out of control. Ofcourse I told the Parent they were overboard and told them to google "Helicopter Parents".
  • Burb ParentBurb Parent Posts: 2,100Registered User Senior Member
    A helicopter legend.....

    General D. MacArthur's mother moved into the Hotel Thayer on the West Point campus. She watched him with binoculars during the daily marches, and lived there the entire 4 years that he attended the West Point.
  • nylecoj007nylecoj007 Posts: 509Registered User Member
    That does it. I'm packing my flip-flops and hoodies and moving to into East Main dorm in September (and MY binoculars are digital).
  • jaharrison1620jaharrison1620 Posts: 217Registered User Junior Member
    This isn't exactly helicopter parenting, but when my father went to boarding school back in the 50's, some of his international classmates had "watchers." Or at least that's what he called them. As I understand it, various governments would send a person along to keep an eye on their students. 'Don't know if this still goes on today or not.
  • PrepveteranPrepveteran Posts: 117Registered User Junior Member
    I heard about that Burb! lol To think that in the 21st Century, people are willing to move down the street from their kids Boarding School so that they can hover above and keep that watchful eye. They will probably sit there and help their child unpack and rearrange the room for them. Heck, they might even tell them which posters should go where. I kid the Helicopter parents with love! But for G_d sakes let your kid make some decisions on their own and foster their own capacity for figuring things out without being dependent on the parent to arrange their life even at Boarding School. Some parents love their kid long time and never want to let them learn responsibility through the natural course of making mistakes and recovering from them. Duck, I see a Helicopter coming with a ladder urging their kid to climb aboard, you'll never have to worry because I'm here to protect from every possible mistake. Oh by the way, why didn't you call me right after math to tell me what the teacher taught today.
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