O.M.G. Parents these days are CRAZY! As a parent to a teen, I see it all over. Helicopter parenting begins early when parents of little kids follow them around the playground in order to catch them if they fall. Then it becomes parents who check every homework assignment and have little Johnny or Suzi correct every mistake. Then they start doing their kid’s projects for them (as if they think they are fooling anyone!). News flash! Getting a “B” in 4th grade won’t doom your kid to a life on the streets!
Fast forward and Johnny and Suzi are now 30 and living in the basement.
It is a scene being played out in families across the country; anxiety ridden, young adults who have no clue how to take care of themselves and lack any resiliency from failure. College professors were the first to see the shift in competency of college students. Parents calling professors, questioning grades or asking for extensions on projects led to a generation of snowflakes. Each year, it seems to be getting worse.
As stories started to seep out in the early 2000’s about parents making these calls, parents likely got embarrassed. Who does that?! My parents wouldn’t have even thought for a second to call my college back in the day (which was only the early 90’s by the way!). So what to do? Certainly the snowflakes can’t be responsible enough to advocate for themselves! So, sneaky parents now are impersonating their kids when they call (again, not fooling anyone).
Check out these crazy stories from colleges across the country…
H/T New York Post
“I’ve seen it across the board,” said Jonathan Gibralter, president of Wells College in upstate New York. “I don’t quite understand why but there seem to be parents who are insecure about letting their kids go.”
“I think the wackiest example was when a mother called and asked for permission to do her daughter’s internship for her because [the girl]had too much anxiety. I said, ‘It sounds to me that this would be a fun and interesting experience for you but I don’t think your daughter is going to get any credit for it,’ ” recalled Gibralter.
An administrator at a liberal arts college in the Northeast, who asked to remain anonymous for professional reasons, has trouble keeping up with the parental texts and e-mails that flood her phone.
“Over the last two or three years it’s become unbearable,” she said. “I’ve had parents calling up and impersonating their children, asking questions that could have been easily asked by their kids. One lady didn’t even bother to disguise her Long Island soccer-mom voice.”
Recently, a student reached out to the administrator via e-mail to sign up for a peer-mentoring program with a rigorous registration process.
“We paired him up with a [mentor], did the registration,” she recalled. “And when he never showed up, his mom admitted she had signed him up without him knowing. We thought the whole time we were having an [e-mail] conversation with the student” — but it was actually his mother.
An assistant athletic director at a Connecticut college has seen similar parental behavior.
“In their mind, they’re paying you.” She explained how, “We have numerous parents asking if we can wake up their kids and walk them to class. They ask for these things in all seriousness; there’s no, ‘I’m sorry to do this to you.’ I’ve seen a parent ask my associate if we can make sure their kid is taking their medication.”
The assistant athletic director has also seen the long arms of moms and dads extend into the classroom.
“I know of parents who have done their kid’s homework for years,” she said, recalling a recent incident in which a student turned in an unacceptable paper. The professor gave him a second chance to complete it — and shortly after, the student’s mother e-mailed the professor asking for details on the assignment.
“When the professor got the homework back, it was written in a completely different [voice]. It was clear the mother had done the assignment,” she said. “And this happens on more occasions than I’d like to admit. These students are supposed to be ‘adults,’ but it’s just anything to get that degree.”
I’m as guilty as the next parent in hovering. It takes an enormous amount of restraint to pull back from being a helicopter parent. Seeing your kids hurt or fail is hard! As a parent, you want to protect them from emotional pain. The problem is, protecting them now is ruining them for later!
Kids can tell when we don’t believe in them. It makes capable kids feel incapable. It is a complete disservice to our kids to bail them out. The temptation is real, to be sure. It seems like nobody else is letting their kids fail, so without your help, yours will be the only ones who don’t measure up. It’s a terrible situation we’ve created.
But in the long run, those failures along the way will shape a much stronger adult. We have to keep the goal in mind! We want competent kids who can stand on their own. Those kids will be the success stories of the next generation, and they are few and far between these days.
And parents, don’t forget – these little snowflakes may someday be your caregivers. If they can’t take care of themselves, they certainly aren’t going to be taking care of you!
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