Former Stanford dean explains how helicopter parenting is ruining a generation of children

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Christcorp, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Yes, but...

    I am not here to defend "helicoptering" but when Stanford Admissions is only accepting those applicants that "were brilliant and accomplished and virtually flawless, on paper" it creates the motivation some parents use to justify these actions.

    Perhaps this Dean of Freshman (who held the post for 10 years) should have focused on breaking the cycle and preparing Freshman to "take care of themselves" with some appropriate level transitional course work.
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    My guess is that the dean is a progressive. Typical, do as I say, regardless what I do.

    I don't know what is better, stressing at a college, or stressing about life with $100k in college loans and a worthless degree.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There's a different between helping your kid(s) through the administrative process, and all the OTHER things mentioned.

    By all means make sure your kids have the best application presented. Review it; look for missing things; help emphasize accomplishments and overcoming adversity. But a parent probably doesn't need to be "As Involved" with their kid's teachers, counselors, coaches, etc. Many parents simply "Don't let their kids grow up". When your kid mentions a problem in school, with a person, with a teacher, with a coach, with the application, with ANYTHING....... the first question out of your mouth should be: What did YOU DO ABOUT IT to correct the situation? e.g. What did the teacher/coach/person/etc. say when you went to them to work it out???

    This thread and the link wasn't started to really start any controversy or to make anyone defensive. It was posted specifically to have parent's look at themselves, subjectively, and not rationalizing their actions, and to ask themselves..... "How much am I DOING for my kid, instead of letting THEM do for themselves"?

    The MORE you do for a child, the LESS they are able to do for themselves when the time comes most when they need it. Again; not saying you can't help. But THEY have to TAKE THE LEAD on ALL situations concerning their Post-High School future. If they don't take the lead, because of your "HELP", then YOU are causeing them a disservice. I've seen it way too many times. To the point where I will be arrogant enough to say that I will not ever change my opinion on it. I've seen some parents who are VERY INVOLVED with their kids. With school, sports, applications, etc. But they WEREN'T HELO PARENTS!!! They knew how to make sure their KIDS were taking the lead. They were simply there to provide assistance. "Think of it as a boss/employee" relationship. The boss is there to HELP, but NOT to do the job of the employee. I've seen a lot of good parents who knew the difference.

    I've also seen some parents where it was obvious that they wanted to be in charge, make decisions for their kids, and make sure the kid was going in the direction they thought was best. Especially with many academy cadets. The one GOOD THINK about the academy, is that it's usually TOO FAR away for most parents to be a hindrance to their child. Their child has to start making decisions for themselves. Mind you; I'm not saying these parents are bad, evil, self centered, etc. The vast majority truly mean well. They only have the best intentions for their child. They simply don't realize that they are doing more harm than good.
     
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  5. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Christcorp: I, for one, understood why you posted the article and the challenge it provides. No real controversy assumed. I enjoyed the article and the pro/con links within it.

    You make good points in the above post and the challenge to all parents to consider their actions is appropriate.

    Its easy to get caught up in this subject no matter what side of the discussion you fall on. I was trying to broaden the discussion to discuss the role of universities in preparing students for success during school and after they graduate.
     
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  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Totally agree. Unfortunately, in my many years dealing with universities; including the academies; I rarely find schools who prepare kids for school or the "Real World". Most of the universities are simply a "Business". You pay them, they teach classes, they grade you on your retention capabilities, and they give you a piece of paper. Then again, I don't really blame them. Primary schools up through high school, as well as parents, have slacked in preparing their kids for the "Real World". Most kids have no idea on how to handle finances. Not even how to balance their bank account; even to see if what their ONLINE account stated was correct. I was shocked when my daughter started college to see how many kids there didn't know how to do laundry or how to cook for themselves. Most of the kids didn't know how to handle controversy. They didn't know how to "Respectfully Disagree" with a teacher on topics of opinion. "If the teacher said it, it MUST BE RIGHT". So many kids are unprepared for the real world. It use to be where after graduating high school, you knew most basic "Life Skills". After college, you knew how to analytically think and transition into the work force as someone who could contribute. Many of today's kids have come along with a sense of "Entitlement". They're use to having what they want, and their expectations are such that they don't realize that what they came to expect based on their upbringing, isn't something their parents started with from day one. They had to work their way up to what they had when the kids graduated high school.

    I definitely think the universities do a bad job preparing kids for the real world. But that should be a time of "Fine Tuning". Enhancing your social skills and interactions. Enhancing your independence and becoming 100% responsible for your own actions. Unfortunately, the primary schools and parents haven't prepared their kids properly to take that next step.
     
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  7. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    The balancing a checkbook just made me chuckle………

    We sponsored cadets for many years (and this was many years ago). I cannot even tell you how many cadets I taught how to balance a checkbook. And the concept seemed difficult to more than one of them. Yep, near perfect SAT scores, but can’t balance a checkbook…… :oops:
     
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  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Helicoptering certain does no child any service. I think it is more a "pride" thing for the parent, and often, is a defacto but subtle acknowledgement that Junior is not quite up to snuff, or up to the parents' snuff, anyway.
     
  9. shock-n-awe

    shock-n-awe Member

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    This reminds me of the stories of some young privates and their new brides who first got a checking account, and thought as long as they had checks, they had money!
    They were never taught how to manage money or a checkbook from their parents or school.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  10. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Not sure that I agree with that. In some cases, yes (which I think you're implying.) I've met people who I consider to be "Apache helicopter" moms, but it was more because they had an over-inflated opinion of their kid's abilities & wanted to ensure that he/she got all the advantages and "help". Of course, when their kid failed at something, it was always someone else' fault. I've also met a mom who lost a child early on & worried so much about her others that she became the "bubble wrap" mom... so many reasons for helicoptering.
     
  11. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    GradWife, that is so true and in the past I was guilty of that as well. I lost a son to meningitis when he was 16 in 1995 and I was definitely a helicopter mom when my other two, DD and DS, were very young. I leaned on God and what I learned from 20 years in the Navy to help break the habit and I most certainly now let them fail before I would ever think of bailing them out. I am a very involved parent, but I think it's good for them to skin their knees a bit as I really don't want them relying on mom and pop for a place to live and groceries when they are forty. And you can bet your bottom dollar that they know how to balance a checkbook and cook for themselves. In fact, for each of their 12th birthdays, I gave them both the pleasure of doing their own laundry. They thought it was the greatest birthday gift ever! NOT! :yllol:
     
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  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I think we all agree that there's a difference between being involved with our children, even excessively involved, and being a helo parent. My kids are brats. As such, with all the moving around, I, my wife, and kids are very close. We are each other's best friends. We were use to making friends, then us or them PCS'ing in a year or two. We are very close. Closer than most families. Many military families are.

    But we also realized how self sufficient we had to be. Wife taking care of everything while I was deployed. Kids handling their own school problems. Was I involved with my son and daughter's college apps and academy app? Most definitely. Being an ALO, you'd think I would be "too" involved. But that wouldn't be good for either of them. Did I harp on them to make Surtsey did the app, or coordinate with the school to get their transcripts and profile? Yup. I was on their butts constantly. Was I on them to get homework done, get to practice on time, meet their commitments, etc? Constantly. But I NEVER did ANY of it for them. Did I explain portions of the application for them? Yes. Just like I help many on this forum. But I didn't do the app for my son. I didn't speak with or contact his ALO. (No, I'm not allowed to be my sons ALO).

    The point is, I, like many, HELPED my kids. I explained the applications, I reviewed and critiqued their resume; I assisted with academy stuff the same way I help many here. But I never filled out one thing for him. I never spoke with his admissions counselor. I never contacted his ALO. I made sure he did it all himself. Same with my daughter applying to civilian universities.

    Same with other facets of their lives. My wife taught each how to cook and do laundry, including as part of their chores at home, by the time they were 14. They knew how to manage their finances, use credit properly, work on their cars for basic issues, etc. if they had a problem in school with a class, THEY worked it out with their teachers. I'm not saying I'm the perfect parent. I'm not. My kids will agree. But I've always believed that my number one responsibility, as a parent, besides unconditional love, was to prepare my children to be independent and self sufficient the day they walked out of this house starting their own life. If I allowed them to "NEED" me, then I didn't do my job, and I was doing them a disservice.

    And remember, there's a difference between NEEDING me and my help, and wanting it. Just the other day, my son called me from Florida to get my advice on buying a new tv. He didn't NEED my advice, but knowing me as the "techno geek" I am, he used me as a resource. And my daughter, who just left a week ago to move to California with her husband, texted me every time they stopped for a break, just to let me know all was good. Again, we are a very close family. But as I was pointing out, my kids WANT my input, opinions, etc. SOMETIMES. But they never NEED it. If your kids WANT your involvement after graduating, that's good. If your kids NEED your involvement, that's NOT good.
     
  13. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Love it! I actually waited too long to teach my DD to do laundry, but she did it before HS graduation, at least. I learned a lot about what I did and didn't do right with her. Now her brother gets the benefit of my experience. :)
     
  14. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Well said!
     
  15. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I have not balanced my checkbook in 25 years. Now I stare at the online banking. The bank does that basic math for you! Balancing a checkbook is a time sink. :)

    Re: Helicopter parenting. People assume different definitions. The article asked some key question.
    1. Check your language. “If you say ‘we’ when you mean your son or your daughter — as in, ‘We’re on the travel soccer team’ — it’s a hint to yourself that you are intertwined in a way that is unhealthy,” Lythcott-Haims said.
    2. Examine your interactions with adults in your child’s life. “If you’re arguing with teachers and principals and coaches and umpires all the time, it’s a sign you’re a little too invested,” she said. “When we’re doing all the arguing, we are not teaching our kids to advocate for themselves.”
    3. Stop doing their homework. Enough said.
    Nope, nope and nope. We talk with our kids a couple times a week; tops, never have approached a coach or principal EVER, we pretty much stopped helping with homework by age 12 and never used the word "we" to describe their events. Did we proof their application? Yep!

    We were extremely active parents. We coached them closely along the way and were heavily involved knowing a lot about their lives (and still are). To some, that involvement is "helicopter parenting". While we are at it, some probably assume parents that are active on this forum are a wee bit overzealous helicopter parents. Posters that still are heavily involved on the forum and parents Facebook sites after a year MIGHT have helicopter parenting signs. But it depends on the definition. But according the article we are not. thanks for sharing CC. :)
     
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  16. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I hope you told him that a 4K set without HDCP2.2 is worthless because the Content Protection flag will remove the 4K capability with pending 4K blueray players and set top boxes. Furthermore, he really should be buying a set with HDMI2.0(a). The letter (a) deals with the pending HDR sets (High Dynamic Range) which is MUCH more important that more pixels. HDR material is stunning and can only be played on HDR. So make sure those sets have HDCP2.2. Worse yet, there are different generations of 2.2 (4:4:4) is what you want. In conclusion, the right answer was to wait a little if he can for the new HDR sets. Else buy a 1K set that they are clearing out at Costco. No one beats their price. If he is off the ocean in FL, BUY THE EXTENDED WARRANTY. Salt is in the air and oxidizes the PC boards.

    Is that what you told him! :D I'll in fun CC. As you might guess, I study the topic. :)
     
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  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    As a father of two kids, I ask that question constantly. Unfortunately, we, some of us that are parents, don't know the right answer at that moment. At that moment, most of us do what we think is the best for our kids. We will have to wait a long time before finding out if if we did too little or too much for our kids.
     
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  18. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    In this regard, farm kids have a huge advantage over city kids in preparation for life ahead. I am not one, nor are our sons. However, we live in a farm state and almost all my clients are farmers and many of our closest friends grew up on farms.

    This is a question that simply isn't asked on a farm. There isn't time to ask, "Am I doing enough for my kid?" The cows need to be milked, irrigation pipe laid, hay cut, oil changed, grain harvested. "We can discuss it while mending fence, calving or at dinner. Also, many small town high schools don't offer higher level math and sciences, much less AP classes and forget about dual credit at a college 100 miles away. There are few extra-curriculars, but the student numbers are so small that everyone participates. It doesn't matter if your an athlete or not, the sports teams need warm bodies. I've seen football players in uniform in a marching band at half time.

    They all seem to turn out ok.
     
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  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I think the last sentence in my previous post sums it up.

    "If your kids WANT your involvement after graduating, that's good. If your kids NEED your involvement, that's NOT good."

    Most parents should be able to answer this question honestly. If your child says they have a problem with a teacher, the FIRST QUESTION you should ask is: "What did the teacher say when you mentioned it to them?" If the kid hasn't approached their teacher; or classmate, coach, or whoever the issue is with; then obviously, the child is "Expecting" mom or dad to intervene. If the kid HAS TRIED speaking to the teacher, fellow student, coach, or whoever, and they tell you this and there's still a problem, then probably the parent needs to get involved.

    Same goes with applications, homework, chores, or any task and/or interaction. "Has the child attempted to resolve the issue themselves?" "Has the child done their BEST to take care of it?"

    That's what this is all about. There's nothing wrong with needing help, asking for help, or providing help. But the word HELP implies that the person receiving the help has done the best that they can, but still can't accomplish the goal. Thus, they need assistance. But that assistance doesn't mean doing FOR THEM. It means standing along SIDE OF THEM and helping THEM do it. Then, afterwards, the child should have the knowledge and/or skills, to be able to do for themselves next time a similar situation arises. Mind you, there are limitations. Everyone has limitations. There's a difference between an individual needing help every week moving a 100 pound box of trash. The may simply not be able to do it by themselves. But saying that you'll just do it for them every week because you don't think they can do it, is equally wrong.

    AGAIN:

    If your kids WANT your involvement after graduating, that's good. If your kids NEED your involvement, that's NOT good.
     
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  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The next dilemma that I struggle with - what do I do once I determine my kids are not capable of doing something? What do I do if I determine that my kids have potential to do something but they are not applying themselves? Do I give up or do I keep on "helping?"

    For example, one of my kids have a potential to do play a HS varsity sports (my kid's high school is very competitive). When I say potential, it's not just me rather kid's rec/club coaches and other parents that have experience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015

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