Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parenting is a term that is used to describe parents who are so closely involved in their child’s life that they seem to hover around them like a helicopter. Often this is taken to the extreme when a child’s academics are at stake. While there is nothing wrong with parents taking an interest in their children’s lives, schoolwork, and activities, helicopter parents often take this interest to the extreme to the point that it becomes detrimental to the child.
SAT preparations and the college application process can be particularly trying times for helicopter parents and their children. A helicopter parent may attempt to oversee their child’s SAT test prep and college applications, pushing them to excel at all costs and on the parent’s schedule. Often, this is detrimental to the child who may feel discouraged with their parent’s expectations and stifled by the pressure.

For students, having a helicopter parent can be frustrating, especially during the years when they are faced with some of their first important adult decisions. While parents should encourage their high school student to dedicate time to SAT test prep, practice tests, and time to applying for colleges, it is important that these decisions are made with the child and not for the child. This is the time that high school students should be learning to take charge of their responsibilities and plan their own schedules.

The best thing that a parent can do for their child during SAT prep and the college application process is to prepare them for independence. This means taking an active interest while allowing them the space to step up and take responsibility. This will help them to form the skills that will allow them to function after leaving home, perform well in college, and make good decisions. Often encouraging independence means allowing your student to make decisions with your guidance, not making decisions for them.

Children of helicopter parents can easily feel lost in college and out on their own. They may feel a lack of self-sufficiency and unable to make good decisions without parental approval and involvement. Parents can prevent these things by empowering their child to learn and grow, getting comfortable with making decisions that are right for them. Taking a step back can be a critical step in your child’s success.

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