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An occurring epidemic has entered into the relationships between parents and their young adult children. These children have greater parental attention than any generation before and these children are known as the “millennial children”. Millennial children are those that were born between (1982-2000) and their parents are part of the baby boomer generation. The issue occurring within these relationships is that these parents are emotionally supporting these children, which in turn ends up crippling these young adults. Even though parents who choose to financially support and emotionally support their adult children have the best intentions, their actions however, give little opportunity for adult children to learn and grow from experience. Unfortunately, parents that chose to financially support their young adult children are in fact crippling that child’s chance of individual success.
Highly involved parents have adopted a name for themselves known as “helicopter parents.” Kathleen Elliott Vinson, a professor of legal writing and director of the legal practice skills program at Suffolk University Law School says, “Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe a phenomenon of a growing number of parents, obsessed with their childrens’ success and safety, who vigilantly hover over them, sheltering them from mistakes, disappointment, or risks, insulating them from the world around them” (2). Furthermore, an even more damaging parenting strategy is micromanaging. Parents may have the best intentions while micromanaging their children, however, this is a very damaging effect for young adult children.
Parents cripple children by micromanaging them throughout high school and into college. This is a very crucial time for a young adult, because it gives them a chance to take charge of their own life, but when “hovering” occurs this could disrupt a child’s individuality. According to Wendy White a senior vice president and general counsel at the University of Pennsylvania says, “The “helicopter parent,” or hovering parent who repeatedly tries to intervene and manage his or her child’s life, seems to be a growing phenomenon on many campuses (1). Micromanaging in todays society is with out a doubt perceived as a “not to do” parenting strategy. It would seem obvious that most parents want the best for their children, and most would do whatever for their children to be what they want to be and be good at it or successful. However, there is a fine line between appropriately parenting a child and micromanaging a child. Helicopter parents obsess with the idea of their child being successful; therefore, they try to control every aspect in their child’s life in order for that child to be successful.
The excessive attention that child may encounter could damage their self-worth and individuality. Micromanaging a young adult transitioning into college is harmful because at this stage in their lives they are ready to make their own decisions, so when parents make decisions for their child, that child will then rely on that parent to make further decisions throughout their life. According to Vinson, “College deans christen freshmen as “crispies,” who come to college already burned out from the treadmill of success their parents have placed them on and ratcheted up the speed and incline from preschool; and “teacups,” ready to break at the slightest stress. As a result, students often cannot analyze important decisions associated with the high school-to college transition, making bad choices regarding…unresolved and escalating conflicts with roommates; and academic dishonesty” (15).
Without a doubt parental involvement is necessary if approached the correct way. The problem is parents need to see the red light and pump the breaks when parenting gets to be obsessive and or controlling. Rick Shoup, a research analyst at Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research says that, “At the college level, research of the effects of parental involvement is limited, but a recent review by Carney-Hall (2008) found studies noting positive impacts in student development areas such as alcohol decision-making, health issues, and career development. Others have shown that parental and family support and encouragement, including financial, positively affects student persistence” (9). All of which are positive things, yet some parents are overinvolved and in turn this may be detrimental to their child’s maturity and growth. All of which are positive things, yet some parents are overinvolved and in turn this may be detrimental to their child’s maturity and growth.
Parents not only invest in their children emotionally but also financially which in turn is linked back to being emotionally invested. According to Joel Lampert, who is the assistant director of orientation at Pacific University, “The average cost of tuition at US private, four-year, colleges and universities was 5.9% higher for the 2008-2009 year than in 2007-2008, totaling about $25,143” (8). Lampert then confirms that this makes parents “co-investors” in their children’s education and motivated to protect that investment (7). At the college level students are expected of the following; completing assignments, attending classes, developing set skills, time-management, and dealing with different stress levels. College is a time in which young adults turn into adults, and where responsibilities must be prioritized appropriately.
Parents may see this as threat to their child or to their “investment.” Parents then become protective of their child and decide to step in and intervene trying to control that investment. According to Glenn Kepic, an assistant director and academic advisor at the University of Florida says, “Parents often feel that their child is “too busy” to handle the bureaucracy of college so they must do it for them” (2). He also says, “Some parents believe their child is not capable of handling tough situations themselves and they require the assistance of an “adult” (2).
Even though parents who choose to financially support and emotionally support their adult children have the best intentions, their actions give little opportunity for adult children to learn and grow from experience. The issue occurring within these relationships is that these parents are emotionally supporting these children, which in turn ends up crippling these young adults. Parent involvement is without a doubt necessary but it becomes a public concern when parents are overly-involved within their child’s higher education.
White, Wendy S. “Students, parents, colleges: Drawing the lines.” Chronicle of Higher Education 52.17 (2005): B16. Shoup, Rick, Robert M. Gonyea, and George D. Kuh. “Helicopter parents: examining the impact of highly involved parents on student engagement and educational outcomes.” 49th Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research, Atlanta. 2009. Vinson, Kathleen. “Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education.” Suffolk University Law School Research Paper 12-05 (2012). Lampert, Joel N. “Parental Attachment Styles and Traditional Undergraduates’ Adjustment to College: Testing the” Helicopter Parent” Phenomenon.” School of Professional Psychology (2009): 57. Kepic, Glenn. “Causes and Implications of Parenting Involvement in the Advising Process.” Parent involvement in advising (2010): 1-6. Document.