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Helicopter Parents

markhammarkham 775 replies9 threads Member
edited September 2010 in Colgate University
If you are an applicant and/or you think your parents would benefit from learning in advance of your first day on campus what is on LAC administrators' minds when they encounter helicopter parent behaviors tendencies, please read this article:


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/education/23college.html?ref=todayspaper


It would be interesting to hear how posters have successfully managed to cope with the transition to independent college life given parents' (understandable) deep interest in all aspects of their "new" lives.

I do not believe that there were helicopter parent issues when your own parents were in college. So this is a relatively recent phenomenon. In any case, developing yourself according to your own priorities should start as soon as possible so that you can achieve the maximum personal benefits from college.
edited September 2010
6 replies
Post edited by markham on
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Replies to: Helicopter Parents

  • ticklemepinkticklemepink 2720 replies44 threads Senior Member
    Although my dad's the real helicopter parent, it was pretty easy to get rid of them, just by saying that I wanted to see X in another dorm. Of course, it was when they actually left, reality set in.

    From my parents' perspective though, when I was at Colgate, all the games gave them something to look forward to in terms of seeing me again so they didn't "check in" so much. I think for all 5 semesters I was at Colgate, I saw my parents at least once a month due to a sporting event or family stuff back home (2 hours away).

    But when I was at Michigan for graduate school, it was a lot tougher. My dad was still a helicopter parent- he wanted to drive to Ann Arbor just for the weekend and my mom twisted my arm a little to let him come for a weekend as he's often home alone. I set out tough parameters, I think, as he/they could come only A) when I had a light reading schedule or just handed in a big paper and B) there was a football/hockey game or a big activity going on on-campus as to give us something to do. This only gave them a choice out of 2-3 weekends per semester. Entertaining your parents for a whole weekend, even in a fun town like Ann Arbor, is tough and mentally exhausting! (Compared to a day trip for Colgate)

    I guess I can dread a little when I get to a PhD program... Luckily as I go up the academic ladder, the less my parents know about what to do and can do, the more I have control of the situation :) Actually, after meeting my Michigan professors at a graduation reception, I think they realized that they *don't* really want to do anything with my life in graduate school!
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  • LoopholeLoophole 99 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Why did you attend Colgate for only 5 semesters?
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  • morrismmmorrismm 3382 replies181 threads Senior Member
    I remember dropping our S (first child going to college) off at Colgate. After moving him in, H and I attended a parent meeting. They essentially said "It's time to go home. Your kids needs to learn how to deal with decisions, stress and difficulties. Do not try to help them w/ every issue. We will call you if it is necessary." They also said "Do not tell your kids that these are the best times of your life. Colgate students will often have a lot of stress because of the demands of school. If they are feeling down, or stressed, they do not need to hear that these are the best times!"

    Our S, unfortunately, did have some problems. Colgate was excellent about informing us. I really credit them w/ seeing a problem, and informing us, before it was too late. Our S is now a proud alumni of Colgate.
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  • ticklemepinkticklemepink 2720 replies44 threads Senior Member
    I transferred in as sophomore and took a leave of absence for a semester to study abroad in my junior year. :)
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  • markhammarkham 775 replies9 threads Member
    Morrismm,

    Your account of your son's early days at Colgate and now his pride as an alumnus show teamwork is best when a student makes the transition to life on his own two feet. That's a most satisfactory result for everyone! I am sure he appreciates your support. Plus he has sustained that sense of connectedness to the school which no doubt brings him back for periodic visits. It's a beautiful place to enjoy.

    Thanks for your note.
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  • ColgateDadColgateDad 200 replies3 threads Junior Member
    This generation of parents -- the children of the Sixties and all that -- have, rather bizarrely I think, doted much too heavily on their kids. This has made these kids more dependent and turned the parents into a generation of aging busybodies. I say this as a 40 year high school teacher who has dealt with many of them. My own parents never once called any of my teachers to inquire how I was doing. I do admit I had one math tutor for a couple months but only because my math teacher insisted. Today's kids are more likely to have serial academic help just to survive in school. For my Dad, a look at the report card was sufficient. They did not want to get involved in my high school.

    When they dropped me off at Colgate in 1966, they met my roommates, went down into Hamilton and picked up a lamp, a rug, and a waste basket, dropped them off in my room while I was at a freshman class meeting, and left. No tears, no campus tour, no hanging around, nothing. "Have a nice time, son. Bye." That's how that generation did things. Short and simple. My generation, the Baby Boomers, seems to have reinvented emotional dependency, perhaps based on our experimenting with sensitivity and touchy feeliness in our younger years. Who knows? It's not a pretty picture.

    As far as taking your child to college, Colgate wants you to leave promptly -- just as any other school does. When we dropped our daughter off, though, I have to admit we did hang around quite late in the day and had to drag ourselves away after awhile. Not a good idea. What were we thinking? That she'd be unable to cope? She coped just fine. Now she's a rugby player who seems to enjoy bloodshed. Who knew?
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