Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Helicopter Parents and Their Millennial Student(s)

Helicopter Parents are EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, I have not have the pleasure of speaking with any of my students' parents (outside of summer orientation/parent's days). However, some of my colleagues have had the pleasure of doing so on a regular basis. I try to keep myself abreast of the new articles regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, but it seems parents (and students) utilize a variety of strategies that may challenge the rights provided by this act.

For example, it seems that a few millennial undergraduate students give their parents access to their university (and personal) e-mail addresses. Sometimes, I will receive an e-mail from a "student", only to discover that the e-mail was written by a parent and submitted through the students' e-mail or blackboard account. However, all of the e-mail that I received (via their student's account) have been focused on upcoming or past absences/sicknesses.

As a professor from the millennial generation, this was very surprising to me for a variety of reasons:
a) I would never give my mother (or father) access to my e-mail account.
b) My parents just learned how to send e-mail. However, they do not use the feature frequently.
c) I feel that college independence contributes to the student development process. Therefore, students should learn how to prepare for the post-graduation world through this four (perhaps five or six) year acculturation process.

Today, I found an article titled, "How Not to Be a Helicopter Parent - but Still Be a Parent". It seems this article/book's content will help our undergraduate students' parents become less involved in their students' lives, but more involved in sustaining a positive experience that conducive for student growth and development.

What experience do you have with helicopter parents? What are your opinions of helicopter parents?

Millennial Professor

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