No Helicopter Landing Permitted

An alarming trend is becoming more prevalent: helicopter parents. As an college academic advisor, I am seeing more helicopter parents landing in my office. To my dismay, the prospective student sits there wide eyes as the parents ask ALL of the questions about why they should go to school here and what the program is all about. As the parents start activating their helicopter blades, I turn to the student, stare right into their doe eyes and ask why they want to go to school there. Some look at me like I am speaking another language, others look to their parents to answer.

This is very perplexing and worrisome. Many contribute this to parents wanting the best for their child’s success. But the key phrase is “their child’s success”. It’s not the parents’ success, but perhaps many do base their success on their children. Since it’s the child’s success, shouldn’t the child be the one in control of the steps to get there? Shouldn’t the child define their own success?

I have had countless conversations with students who say they would rather be studying music or art, but their parents are forcing them to be a business major. Who is really ending up successful in this situation? The child who longs for a different path, but follows the one dictated by a parent? Or the child who follows their passion, but may struggle financially? What’s your definition of success? Is if fair to apply your definition to others?


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