Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hover Parents from Hell

That thwup, thwup, thwup sound you heard last week was the helicopter parents gathering at St. Edward's University for one of the orientation sessions held over the summer. Having never been to the parents portion of an orientation session, I was totally unprepared for these overprotective parents who hover ceaselessly over theiir children monitoring course schedules and bowel movements with the same intensity. These people would reattach their children's umbilical cords if possible. And woe to the person who suggests that the whole point of raising children is to get them to the point where they are capable of taking care of themselves.

It was interesting watching the university staff and faculty tiptoe around these people and attempt, in the nicest way possible, to encourage them to let their children go and be adults. I don't know if this is a bigger problem at St. Ed's due to the the fact that it's a small university, but it's obviously an issue. I mean they call a parent who shows up on campus in response to an issue (usually minor) "Black Hawk Down."

Okay, we're only going to say this once: If your child does not know how to do laundry, take care of himself, do their own schoolwork without having it checked over by you, etc. by the time they are headed off to college, then you really haven't done your job as a parent. In fact, it's a pretty good bet that you don't understand what a parent's job is. Your job is to turn out a responsible, independent grown-up. If your child has learning disabilities, then your job is harder, but in most cases, it's not impossible. And if you are not allowing your child to make decisions for themselves of ever-increasing importance throughout their childhood, then you are pretty much guaranteeing that as an adult, your child will make the wrong decisions. People learn from their mistakes. So do children, unless they are never allowed to make a mistake. A little failure now and then can, in some instances, be more valuable to a child's learning processes than continual success, especially if the success is because the parent stayed up all night working on a project.

So, it's time to stop hovering fellow parents. Let your children learn the hard way. Like most of us did when we were young. I'm not saying don't support your child. I'm just saying let him or her have a little freedom and responsibility.

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