The Heliparent

Hello, my name is Kelly and I'm a helicopter parent.


While I don't manage every aspect of my children's lives, I know I've been a pushy mom when it comes to encouraging them to take certain steps in school that should help them when the time comes to apply to college. It's really hard not to be that way–partly because of how my parents raised me, partly because we live in a college town where everybody's life is impacted by what goes on at the university, and partly because of the career path I've chosen. Poor kids. I've worked with colleges for 16 years which means they've been hearing about college admissions since they were born.

I'd like to think I'm a "recovering" helicopter parent–that I've reached that place where I've realized my kids really don't need to me to hover (not that they ever did). Having just returned from visiting a college with my teen, I had to smile at the way some of the students on the panel responded to the question "What was your biggest adjustment when you came to college?" One student said "having to wake up on my own and I had three 8 o'clock classes!" Another said "cleaning the bathroom — there's no cleaning lady on campus — you're the cleaning lady!" A third said "managing money." While I think I've already covered those topics in my "tell you-everything-you-need-to-know-for-the-rest-of-your-life" approach to parenting, really only time and experience (their's, not mine) will tell. I hope I've reached that point where roar of the helicopter is a sound they hear only in the distance and not overhead.