Journal Entry 4 – The Helicopter Generation?

I had an interesting conversation with my Dad about the concept of parental involvement and helicopter parenting; we looked it as a generational phenomenon. My Dad, solidly in the post-WWII Boomer generation, pointed out that the attitudes about parenting have shifted significantly since he was young. When he turned 18, he was expected to move out and make a way for himself. And he did – he joined the Air Force and was off on his own. I am a late Gen-Xer, and when I turned 18 twenty-something years later I was in college and still very dependent on my parents. Even I, who was very independent (I had held a steady, full-time job since turning 16), moved temporarily back in with my parents twice more over in the subsequent years. My 2-year old is a millennial – what aspects of my relationship with her will influence the degree that I hover when she is in college? Is this type of thing cyclical? How can this factor into my research?

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3 Responses to Journal Entry 4 – The Helicopter Generation?

  1. apu200 says:

    I think that other than just the generational gap, it also comes down to how the economy is doing at a given point in time. I think that due to the recession many kids are either living with their parents or have moved in with them just to save some money. My question to you is did you feel that your dad or mom were helicopter parents? How did that positively and/or negatively impact your image, self-esteem, or desire to be looked upon as an adult rather than as a dependent on them? I also think that in some cases parents do not realize that they are being overly protective about their children and that their children would like some extra breathing space. It is a natural born instinct among all species to be protective about their young ones. In some cases there are children who need that extra love and protection due to several reasons be it physical or mental.

  2. I see your point but would hypothesize that the overall trend in helicopter parenting has been on the rise for the last twenty years or so — during which time we have seen several economic crashes and booms — and so is mostly independent of the overall economy.

    I would agree that so-called helicopter parents tend to be unaware that they are “over-parenting” or “hovering.” True, it is a natural instinct of many species to be productive of their young, but at what point are these students considered adults and expected to make their own way? The issue is not the parenting instinct, but rather the continuation of parental intervention into the adult lives of their children. You also bring up students with special needs — If a student has a disability of some sort that is one thing, but most of the helicoptered students are perfectly functional adults.

  3. tpp24 says:

    I am of your Dad’s generation in that regard. Hence, I shared similar type experiences. by the time I was 18 I was off and running my own show. I got married at 21 one and have only been back home when my family relocated over here and I stayed briefly with my parents in Belize. By the time it came to hovering over my sons I was a struggling immigrant eking out a meager living doing lower level jobs so everyone had to get on their own feet and take care of themselves pretty quickly.

    I think because your child is a girl you will be more protective of her than if she were a boy. So, my hunch is that you will hover more over her.

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