Ground your helicopter

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2009
Ground your helicopter
18
Wed, 08-29-2012 - 9:55pm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/grounding-the-helicopter-parent/2012/08/24/bc164088-ebcc-11e1-a80b-9f898562d010_story.html Here is an OPED piece by  Barry Glassner is president of Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, where he also teaches sociology. Morton Schapiro is president of Northwestern University in Illinois, where he also teaches economics. "College is a time when parents can grant their children the precious opportunity to take responsibility as they develop into independent young men and women, fully prepared to be productive and engaged citizens. To the parents of children who don’t like their roommates, teachers, academic advisers or grades, we urge empathy and calm. The social and survival skills young people develop in these situations will serve them well later in life. And we are proud to note the tremendous effort we put into enrolling a student body that reflects almost every difference you can imagine — income, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, and spiritual and political beliefs. If a child lives in a cocoon of familiarity, that effort is wasted, and there is little chance that he or she will be prepared for the world after graduation. So parents can help by gently pushing their children to embrace complexity and diversity and to stretch the limits of their comfort zones. Some of the most important learning we provide is uncomfortable learning — where students take classes in subjects they find intimidating, and live, study and play with classmates from backgrounds very different from their own. As for those who choose to ignore that advice, we have a simple message: Should you decide to park your helicopter in the middle of the freshman quad, you will be ticketed and towed." I like his emphasis on how much we learn when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones. My husband was interviewing for jobs and when he called one applicant's phone the mom answered and told him her child would be there. Ge was a little shocked but told her to have them return the call. The day of the interview the mom called him and wanted to know how long the interview would be!

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Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 9:58pm
I am amazed that how crazy parents are, I know some who won't let their kids go away, period. They never helped then look at options that were not commutable. Now I did both stay at home for school and go away, both have their merits, but this was my choice. I was also awestruck at the parents' agenda at Freshman registation at dd's school. I am done with school, why do have to go. The Wall Street Journal has an artical about this too. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577546922089035282.html

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Re: Ground your helicopter
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 8:11am

Tooner, it's nice that your son can talk politics with his classmates.  One of our shortcomings as a nation, is that we older adults cannot discuss politics among friends, neighbors and coworkers; that certainly doesn't help the gridlock in DC. 

Except with family, usually when I bring up politics people clam up.  Even my in-laws don't want to discuss politics.  I do have one conservative friend in her 30s with whom I express my liberal opinions, but she politely listens and never shares hers. 

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http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/meet_the_new_health_.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQTBYQlQ7yM

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 8:34am
I agree that we need to talk. I think that the vast majority of people in this country want the same things for themselves, their families and this country, they just have different views of how to attain those goals. If we could talk to each other without immediately assuming the other person is the enemy or has some hidden agenda I believe we could learn a lot from each other. Robin
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 3:59pm

I agree- Weedo didn't helicopter. Kids need to advocate for themselves, but first they need to learn HOW to do that. And that is what Weedo taught.   As the old saying goes, "Give a man a fish he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime."

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 7:35pm
I did step in this week (you guys can tell me if I helicoptered; I don't mind) - when ds20 changed Us, he got a letter saying he was on 'conditional acceptance'. I emailed and the admissions counselor was super apologetic saying no, he was supposed to be on 'provisional acceptance' because they were waiting on his summer grade from a class he took at the local CC. Then this past week he had to make an appt with a 'transfer counselor' - I thought ok, that sounds reasonable, but he says he was supposed to go weekly. I said for what? He wrote back saying it was because he was on 'conditional acceptance'. So I emailed the admissions counselor Friday asking why this is the case; I thought that had been cleared up?! I also forwarded the email to ds from the admissions counselor with the apology saying no, it was provisional, and told him to forward that to the transfer counselor. I could've put it all on him but he seemed a little intimidated by the meeting Friday when she started asking him about his study habits... (to me, why wouldn't she have looked at his transcripts and seen he got an academic scholarship, and his transfer GPA was fine - vs. being a candidate for 'conditional' acceptance...) Did I step in too much?
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 9:43pm

Did you step in too much?  No, I don't think so, because yourr son seemed too intimidated to ask the hard questions himself.  My kids were "trained" by the end of HS, but that was because they were ADD, and had been going with ( and WITHOUT) me to hearings and meetings with teachers, admin and guidance, for years.  By college, whenever I'd say "Did you talk to...?"  they were like, "We're not KIDS Mom.  We can DO this!"  But even then, I still had to go with them on some of the financial stuff, because they just didn't know what to ask.

And FWIW, there are plenty of ADULTS who are too intimidated to ask why they didn't get the promotion or the raise, why they haven't been given a higher credit limit, why they got the ticket when they DID stop...  It takes some doing to not only know WHAT to ask, but to get a thick enough skin to handle an answer you might not like.

 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 10:39pm

<<<I come from the opposite background from helicoptering with parents who were completely uninvolved and rarely helped either to advise or to advocate.>>>  This recalls "discussions" I've had with many parents of kids with Executive Dysfunction or ADD.  They preface their refusal to help their kids get up in the morning, do their homework, take their meds or talk to teachers/doctors/police by saying "They're already in HS.  When will they ever learn to do it for themselves?"  My answer is, they will learn when they CAN.  Some kids CAN, in 5th grade.  Some in 10th grade.  Some, when they're 37.  In the meantime, what's gained by leaving a kid to flounder, and possibly fail, just because they "should" be able to do something by themselves--but demonstrably cannot?  I feel that a kid who is secure in the knowledge that they WILL get help if they need it, will ultimately be more able venture into the unknown or the uncomfortable.  it's like knowing that Daddy's behind you, to grab the bike if it gets wobbly.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 09-10-2012 - 10:49am

Really interesting discussion going on here!

The two examples that Weedo and Suzy gave are both NOT helicoptering, IMO.  And we do need to look at what our kids are capable of and help them grow further.  20yo DS is bipolar and has Aspergers and a lot of social anxiety.  He has no trouble managing his time, getting very high grades, managing public transportation, and a lot of things many college students stumble on, but the smallest things that involve interaction with other people can completely flummox him.  We have to give him more help so he can succeed in those things.  Of course I often think, "Gosh why doesn't he just GET IT?" but the fact is, he may never "get it" intuitively; however he can *learn* to handle things in a way that isn't intuitive but gets the right end result (a satisfying conversation, an introduction, an interview, etc.).  That's not going to come from leaving him to sink or swim on his own, we have to help. 

The way I look at it is, if he had a physical disability that eventually he could learn to overcome, we'd help him with it until he could handle it on his own.  Anything else, however, that he should be able to handle on his own - grades, jobs, roommates, etc. - we need to let him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Mon, 09-10-2012 - 3:50pm

I agree, very interesting discussion here. 

I worked hard with dd last year to get her ready to go to school this year.  By the end of the summer, she was doing her own laundry, making decisions on stuff (but I still can't get her to write a check- sigh). 

The issue we're having right now with school is tuition.  They say she owes about $2000.  The bill that I got- was paid in FULL the end of July.  I even called to find out. 

So I called the business office (or whatever it's called now) to try to find out what's going on.  Left a message (after trying 2 other voicemails- arrrrgggghhh)

I could leave dd to try to figure this out on her own.  But we did say that we would help out with any overage that's left after scholarships, financial aid- and any money that she can pull in.  So I don't see this as helicoptering. Hopefully this office will talk to me.  If they won't- we go for parent's weekend in 2 weeks and I figure dh and I can get there early enough so we can go with dd and help her try to straighten this out.  If it's not straightened out before then.

I do agree.  You know your kids best- you know what they are capable of/ not capable of.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Mon, 09-10-2012 - 4:25pm
Ugh, I feel your pain... We had some problems with my son's bill and I called to ask about it. My son was also trying to work with the school to figure out the problem. In fact he figured it out and took care of it, but since pay the bills I really wasn't comfortable

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