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