Aug 26, 2013

Helicopter Parents

If working with college students is teaching me anything it's that I will not be a helicopter parent.  I repeat, I will not be a helicopter parent.  For starters, in case this is a new term for you here is the definition from Wikipedia (I know not the best reference):

A heliicopter parent is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead.

Before I go in to more detail I cannot forget to thank my parents for making me fight my own battles, and solve my own problems.  Both of these things mentioned seem to be lost skills.  Thanks mom and dad, you are amazing!

I deal with helicopter parents regularly  but the start of the academic year, at midterms and when grades post bring a higher frequency of calls and foot traffic to my office from parents.  What about Ferpa you ask?  It appears most of my students have given their parent's permission to their academic records and therefore I can speak with them.  I would be lying if when I receive a call from a parent I am not hoping that their name will not pop up on that information screen.  99% of the time I am disappointed and they have their parents listed on the Ferpa form.  I do not disclose much of anything to the parent as I want to redirect all conversation back through their child, but I am still on the receiving end listening to the requests.

In the parents defense, I work in the Disability Resource Office.  The students that I serve have a disability and qualify for services.  Parents of children with disabilities are great advocates for their children, they have to be to often get the best education and services for their child.  I totally get that, but your child is 18, 19 or even a graduate student.  

Ok, ready for my top 5 helicopter parent moments from Saturday and today??  

1.  A parent came in to my office to ask if I could assist in waiving his son's fee's at the library.  His disability prevents his son from remembering to return things and as a result he always has fees.  This is not fair.  He cannot remember and therefore there should be an exception for him.

2.  Dear Courtney-

John (name changed) is thinking about dropping a class but I am not sure what he should take.  I am on his portal and can see there is very little to choose from because all classes are full.  I know this week is add/drop so I was planning on just keeping the screen up and refreshing every few minutes so I could snag a seat in a class I think he would really enjoy.  Is this what you would suggest?


John's Mom

3.  (ring, ring)  Hi Courtney!  Kara (name changed) will be coming to see you in a few minutes to pick up her accommodations for the semester.  I wanted to ask you if you could not show her the documentation I submitted or tell her the diagnostic information.  I don't want it to hurt her self-esteem and I don't know if she would think she could be successful if she knew she had a learning disability.

4.  (ring, ring) Hi Courtney, Sarah (name changed) just left your office and I wanted to follow up and make sure I (Mom) understand the process.  Sarah said she is to contact all of her professors, but I already did to let them know that she will need a little more time to complete assignments.  I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes but I just don't think that she will articulate herself correctly.

5.  A mom came to my office today to tell me she is going to meet with her son's academic advisor this week to make changes to his schedule.  She also shared that she followed him to all of his classes today and introduced herself to all of her son's teachers.  She wanted to ensure he was getting his accommodations and that he (her son) would be well cared for.

Doesn't my job sounds fun?  Luckily the students are awesome!  The parents, well, they can be challenging.

 photo courtney-post-signature1_zpsa6911a6b.png

1 comment:

  1. Oh Good Lord. That is RIDICULOUS! You must just laugh and shake your head in disbelief. Thanks for the laugh. :)