So, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper yesterday. It seems that there is a new phenomenon that is being labeled as “helicopter parents” and it is starting to be a major problem in college campuses all across the country. Named such for the “hovering” that they do, these parents cannot allow their children to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives.
The main problems, as I understand them, are that these parents are stepping in and interfacing with college advisors and professors on behalf of their children. They also use cell phones to frequently call their children during the day and the students check in with their parents after every exam to let mom and dad know how they did. They micromanage relationships with roommates, etc.
The universities are taking action by offering seminars for parents of freshman, instructing them on the proper amount of contact they ought to have with their children and letting them know that the school will be establishing guidelines for limiting a parent’s access to teachers, etc.
The reason this is such a problem? This behavior handicaps the students in areas of problem-solving, decision-making, and an overall sense of independence. Administrators acknowledge that a large part of the college experience is learning to develop these skills as one leaves home for the first time and prepares to have employment and establish families of their own.
Of course, as I read this article, I was thinking of this blog and its goal of encouraging young Christian women to consider going to college. The article also confirmed to me, in more clear terms, why there are those who would not want a girl to go to college.
Those who are part of a hyper-patriarchal belief system, those who believe women should not make decisions on their own, but rather, have decisions made for them by their fathers and husbands, and those who believe problem-solving ought to be left up to the menfolk are the ones who, for the most part, are pleading for daughters to stay away from college. Of course, these ideals are couched in terms such as “protection of daughters” and “keeping a girl under her father’s authority” etc.
But I believe in reality these anti-college views are really another way of keeping a woman from becoming her own person. You can use all the fancy terminology you want, but this is really what you get when you boil it all down. Who would have thought that independence is a four letter word?