I raised my daughter to be independent. She is a take charge person, who likes to do things her way and rarely asks for help, which can sometimes be annoying. However, self-governing is not what many young people are today. I was surprised by the summaries of many of the lectures offered. Such as the one titled Live Where You Learn, "Housing staff will acquaint you with Residence Life policies and procedures, and provide recommendations to help your student make the most of their experience." Why do I need to know the policies and procedures of living in a dorm? I do not plan on moving back into one ever again. My student is the one who needs to know this information. Or there was the lecture on Academic Support, "The Center for Academic Achievement staff, which provides academic support services to students, will discuss their programs and provide tips for academic success for new students." I can't for the life of me figure out why parents need to know where their student would obtain academic support, the student needs to know this, they are the one attending college.
I did not attend every lecture and tour scheduled throughout the two days, but somehow the school made me feel as if I were a "bad parent" for skipping. Maybe it was the sentence on the agenda that said, "Your parents and other guests are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions as well."
The website livescience.com posted an article by Rachael Rettner called "Helicopter" Parents Have Neurotic Kids, Study Suggests, which stated that, "Overly protective parents might be leaving a lasting impact on their child's personality, and not in a good way, a new study finds.
The results show having so-called 'helicopter parents' was associated with being dependent, neurotic and less open, a slew of personality traits that are generally thought of as undesirable."
If intervening for your child at every crossroad is considered ultimately harmful to their mental health, than why do Universities, the place where your student should be truly independent for the first time, foster this behavior?
This method of 'helicopter parenting' can also be considered codependency. According to Wikipedia, "Codependency (or codependence, co-narcissism or inverted narcissism) is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others."
I admit, I have had a codependent relationship with my son in the past. It started out of necessity to save his life, but it continued into something that allowed me to enable him in negative behaviors. By managing my son's life, I denied him a learning experience. Letting go was exceptionally hard, but gradually I took a back seat to organizing his life. Things may not have been done the way I would have done them, but my son received the care he needed. Allowing him to take charge of his life was what he needed, and what I needed. If I continued to run his life, he would have continued to let me, and he would not have learned how to take responsibility for himself and grow emotionally. This was a lesson we both needed to learn.
I am extremely happy that I did not take this approach with my daughter. She does not need or want me to manage her life, and for that I am grateful.