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Teen Perspective: Helicopter Parents

by Louise | September 29th, 2010 | Teen Perspective

It used to be that allowing your child to go to an overnight camp meant that you wouldn’t be able to contact them during the time that he or she was there, expect maybe by mail. In this day and age, especially now that it seems standard for everyone to have a cell phone, you can keep in touch virtually as much as you want (provided that your child keeps his or her phone on). Webcams and programs like Skype even allow you to see your child in real-time video for free. You don’t even need to feel separated at all! However, the technology is equally a blessing and a curse.

It is my first year in college, and I can’t help but notice some of the students who are still extremely dependent on their parents. I know a student who forgot to bring a grater and had her mother send her one in the mail, which cost three times as much as what it would cost to simply go out and buy one. I’ve also seen a bag of flour sent in the mail–talk about expensive cookies! Try not to send supplies that your children can simply go out and purchase on their own. (On the other hand, “care packages” with home-baked goods, or items that you know your child can’t buy wherever he or she is, are great and strongly encouraged!)

It is important that your children learn to be independent. It’s okay to be the parents who expect a phone call every other night, but you shouldn’t panic when it doesn’t actually happen. If you live nearby, limit the number of times you visit, even if, and perhaps especially if, your child encourages the visits. Don’t hover like helicopters; encourage your children to flourish on their own.

It is important that your children learn to be independent. Don’t be the parent who expects a phone call every night, and panics if one is not received. Even if the child wants to talk every night, it might be wise not to encourage this call every night, especially if we’re talking about a teenager.
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