LJWorld.com weblogs Schoolhouse talk

Hear the whirring? It's just a helicopter parent.


So, everyone is talking about [helicopter parents][1]. (Um, hello...there's a Wikipedia entry on them!)As a child with a helicopter parent (although I'm no longer being blown away by the chopper since she's gone to higher elevations and is now focusing on my 18-year old brother), I know the symptoms. I know how to spot them. And at the [East Heights Early Childhood Family Center][2] open house yesterday, [I saw them][3].That's right - I spotted you. The ones who just didn't want to let go. The ones you know are crying right now at the fact their kid is in school for the first time. (I also managed to peg parents that were the exact opposite and couldn't wait to get things done since their kids will be out of the house.)As a [Millenial][4], I lived through the wind-blown hair and teary eyes of having a helicopter parent. But, alas, they had yet to coin that perfectly on point phrase. My mom wanted to call my college professor when I got a C. I told her I'd rather fail.And finally, CNN has figured out how to ["ground" those hovering parentals][5]. And we still can't cure the common cold? Please.Don't get me wrong - I love my mother. (My dad? Not so much of a copter. More like a really nice limo that just drives you where you want to go and trusts your decisions.) She's my best friend. But, the hovering wears on kids. Trust me.How about you? Are you being blown away by a helicopter? Or are you one of those helicopters just trying to land? [1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent [2]: http://schools.usd497.org/eastheights/ [3]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/aug... [4]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millenial [5]: http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/08/13/helicopter.parents/index.html


Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 10 months ago

omg when i heard the video I could not believe it come on parents cut the cord and kids grow up already.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 10 months ago

Could be worse... could have a Zeppelin parent... crash and burn.

Peaty Romano 9 years, 10 months ago

I thought the term has been around longer than 91? "Love and Logic" uses the term and L&L has been around since 1977.http://www.loveandlogic.com

alm77 9 years, 10 months ago

I think my mom was of two extremes. Part time hover parent, part time I'm-too-busy parent. Intrusive enough to embarrass me in public by calling out my behavior in front of everyone (especially the "cool kids") and busy enough not to sit in the bleachers at my volleyball games.

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure that the term "helicopter parent" necessarily applies to preschool-age kids. High school and college definitely, but not preschool. I think you have to hover somewhat when you have young kids because they can get into so many things. It is the parents who no longer need to hover but continue to do so that officially become helicopter parents. Just my opinion though. Maybe a better term for younger kids would be overprotective? I think a lot of the difficulty is realizing that your baby is not a baby anymore. My child just started preschool and although it was emotional, he was so excited, that my husband and I were excited too. He waved goodbye and never looked back! Of course, that presented a whole new set of emotions like, "He doesn't need us anymore!" Then we realized, "Okay, he's 3, he probably still needs us. Maybe..."

cms 9 years, 10 months ago

If I were an employer I would do just the opposite of Ernst and Young. And if the parent of a young employee called to complain about workplace issues, I would be polite with the parent then immediately turn around and find some excuse to fire the employee. I agree that this practice is some sort of sick attraction, unless of course, the cord is a mutually agreeable financial arrangement which I suspect to be the case. Junior doesn't get a new car if Mom and Dad don't make the decisions for him......

MaryKatesPillStash 9 years, 10 months ago

I worked for KU Info throughout some of my undergraduate and graduate years at KU. The helicopter moms (more often moms than dads) were always abuzz during Hawk Week, of course. But what killed me was what I would hear or see at the end of the school year. I can't begin to count how many phone calls I would get that sounded like this: "Hi! My name is Mary Smith and my son Kyle goes to KU. He's graduating with a degree in business next month! Anyway, I need to order his cap and gown. Oh, and where can I order his graduation announcements? Yeah, and his class ring..." Maybe Kyle was lucky, and his mom wanted to take some pressure off of him during those difficult last weeks of school. But I don't think so. In reality, Mrs. Smith had most likely babied Kyle all throughout his years of college, and he would walk down the hill without the ability to even order his own commencement regalia. Mary would then write his resume and follow up on job interviews for him. And when Kyle meets a girl to settle down with, Mrs. Smith will take over organizing the wedding and start picking out baby names...

mom_of_three 9 years, 10 months ago

Now, if your kindergartener is going to school for the first time, most parents might shed a tear at that. It's the end of an era. And then most of us go home and celebrate that they are gone for 4 hours!

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

I think these types of parents are very disturbing. They produce weak children.

domino 9 years, 10 months ago

I just sent my youngest off to college this week. There were no tears - he was excited about this new stage of his life and I was excited about the new stage in MY life! After 30+ years of kids at home, I was ready for him as well me to enter this stage. I wouldn't trade any of my kids for anything but there are seasons for everything in life and this is one of them.I have a friend who is VERY much a helecopter mom- hovers over every aspect of her kids lives. For example, her teenage daughter went on a church youth outing and was completely miffed when one of the sponsers told her No, that she would not carry the girls camera, ipod and other items while they were at an amusement park. The girl looked at her and said, "My mom always carries stuff for me." to which the sponser replied that she only carries items for her 2 year old - that the 6 & 8 year olds carry their own! I'm afraid when these go off to college ( 2 of them within the next two years!) she (the mom) and they will have a very rude awakening. I'm also sure that she thinks I should be more hands on in some things, but my kids have done ok in the world. At 18 years old, they need to be equiped to handle most things on their own - it is part of a parents job! They also know that I am here if they need me.

trinity 9 years, 10 months ago

totally agree confrontation. lordie, when mine stepped out on the first day of school each year? i'd have a tear or two-mostly just nostalgia that they were another year older-and then go toast myself with a nice cup of coffee and bask in the silence of that big ol' two story house! :) i luuuuvvved the beginning of the school year! :)

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 10 months ago

The term "helicopter parent" was first used in a Newsweek article in 1991. Just wanted to point out that this isn't a relatively recent phenomenon.

davidsmom 9 years, 10 months ago

I work for another university and answer switchboard calls several hours a day. It is amazing the calls I get. "My daughter doesn't know which building class XYZ is in. Can you help?" is typical. I want to say, "Good grief, this isn't kindergarten! Let your child figure this out on her own. How on earth do you expect her to grow up?!" But of course, I don't. My youngest son is getting ready to leave for U.S. Marine Corps boot camp. I found a parent brochure online (this was NOT published by the USMC but a parent organization) and was astounded by this sentence: "Do not contact his commanding officers of any rank directly..." I don't think this would have needed to be said to a previous generation of parents. I am embarrassed that someone felt it needed to be said to mine.As a long-time PTA member and officer, I have always believed that the right amount of involvement in your child's life was beneficial, but there are so many things I never considered (such as giving my opinion to a coach.) The challenge is to know where to draw the line, and with my generation, the "Helicopter Parents, " I'm afraid too many have crossed over it...way over it, in some cases.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.