Journal Entry 1 – Description and Problem Statement

Hi All, this is my first journal entry.  My name is Dave Garrison and I am an EdD student at Drexel University writing my dissertation.  I also am an administrator at UC Davis, which is where I will likely be conducting my research.  I am married and have a beautiful two-year old, who will likely be three when I finish with this…

I am planning on studying the phenomenon of “helicopter” parenting.  Called that because these parents “hover” over their children at what many regard as a stage in life where the “children” should be independent – while at university (see also, “Velcro” parents).  This phenomena traditionally takes the form of advocacy and support that is, I believe, inappropriate and detrimental to the development of the now-adult child.  It is something that interests me not only because of my professional perception, but also because, being a relatively new parent myself, the notion of “over-parenting” is one that I have struggled with.

It is frustrating for me, as an administrator, when I meet with a student who brings their mom or dad along.  Typically, if I am meeting with a student they have had significant academic trouble, and parental oversight at that age – absent any disabilities that preclude the student from being able to manage their life – tends to in and of itself indicate dysfunction.  It is my belief that students with these hyper-involved parents do not tend to have the resilience, independence, and ability to manage failure that is necessary for success at university.  Even if and when they do graduate, such a success is not entirely their own and can lead to future confidence issues and dysfunction in the post-college workforce.

Here is the problem statement that I am working with right now:
Well-meaning but overbearing parents who support and advocate for their university student’s success may actually impede the student’s resilience and ability to solve problems for themselves.

Here is an alternative problem statement that I was considering:
Well-meaning but overbearing parents who support and advocate for their university student’s success create an undue administrative burden on university faculty and administrators.

Here is another, more open-ended problem statement that would likely require me to go with a broad, grounded-theory study:
Explore the phenomena of helicopter parenting.

Lastly, here is a collection of research questions that I have brainstormed and will be narrowing down significantly:

  • What are the patterns of parental involvement among university students?
  • How does parental involvement impact university student…
    • Success? Self-esteem? Resilience?
  • How does university student parental involvement impact…
    • Academic freedom? University administration?
  • What are the themes of parental advocacy?
  • What are the legal trends of institutional responsibility for university students?
  • How do university administrators and faculty perceive the impact of parental advocacy and support?

‘Til next time, DG

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3 Responses to Journal Entry 1 – Description and Problem Statement

  1. apu200 says:

    Hey Dave
    Your post above just addresses the negative aspects associated with Helicopter parenting. How about looking at it from a positive standpoint? I know that in the United States there is more stress on individuality and independence but in other cultures that are more collective oriented there is more stress on parents having control over their child’s future since they have taken pains to bring the child up hence would want to have a say in whatever it is the child decides to do. Some parents are over-protective and want to make sure that the child does not feel unsupported or gets into any kind of trouble, hence go the extra mile in being there for the child. There are some who also feel that if the child is left alone he or she might be unable to take charge of the situation hence they feel the need to intervene. I am looking at this from another perspective. For some reason I am not able to see the negative aspects associated with Helicopter parenting.

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for the link to your BLOG and written journal. Can you setup the BLOG for your group to interact and gain from your written journal? Have you included the rest of your group members to your BLOG?

    Professor Chavez

  3. tpp24 says:

    Thanks for the invite your blog. I am really appreciative that you along with Apu have gotten our blogging process started. This quarter has begun with some setbacks for me. First I was ill for most of last week with allergies and the flu and when I recovered from that my wife came down with asthma.

    I apologize to you and to the other members of my group for not having been on the ball as I should have been. But I am back up to speed now and will catch up quickly. I look forward to our conversation at 6:00 today.

    I like your pondering and and I think that you are on the right track with your thinking. I actually prefer the first research problem because it addresses the issue of helicopter parenting from the perspective of the university student as opposed to the perspective of the university administrator. I think that is the way to go.

    More thinking will follow as I continue to reflect on the research questions. Peace,

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