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UNC seeks to ground 'helicopter parents'

Posted July 25, 2008

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— To ease the transition to college for parents, the University of North Carolina has started included sessions for them in its annual student orientation program.

UNC officials said some parents have such a hard time letting go of their children that they show up on campus for academic advising sessions and even try to smooth out difficulties with dormitory roommates. Such interference hinders the students' transition to their new lives on campus and, in the long run, their maturation as young adults, officials said.

"We know that they are attached to you and you are attached to them, so we are going to be slowly cutting that string," UNC Dean of Students Melissa Exum told parents during an orientation session Thursday.

Hattie Brevard and Cory Calderon, whose sons will begin classes at UNC on Aug. 19, said they know it will be hard to say goodbye to them in a few weeks.

"I'll probably cry the first week," Brevard said. "(Him) being the baby, this is going to be very hard."

"I've tried not to be a 'helicopter parent,'" Calderon said, referring to parents who hover over their children.

Exum told parents to communicate with their children and to ask tough questions of them but not to show up on campus and try to solve their problems.

"(They're going to be) learning about life and how to negotiate life, and if somebody is always doing that for you, you really don't grow up," she said.

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  • fuzzmom Jul 28, 2008

    Wow, what a dichotomy of parenting. We go from one extreme to the next, from no-parenting at all with teenagers in a melee at the mall, to overparenting by helicopter parents. Either way, our society is in for a rude awakening when our next generation is handicapped either by having no home training at all or by having no life skills at all. One is just about as bad as the others. I'm sure this is a HUGE part of the problem with the schools, "I haven't seen Johnny all week and have no idea what he's done in school" v. "I don't allow my child or his teacher to breathe, let alone allow the teacher to actually do her job without my input and say-so."

  • kitelover110 Jul 25, 2008

    and it is not just the colleges in which the helicopter parents are hoovering - just ask some of the DI's in our armed forces - mommie wailing to the senator or representative in DC because a mean old SGT yelled at her baby.

    Guess I came along at the right time - basic training at Ft. Jackson 5 days after graduating high school and then when I went to UNC, dad and mom took me and all of my belongings over to CH and dropped me off - their one and only time on campus for any reason.

    sure hate to see what these "kids" are going to do after mommie and daddie are no longer around to look out for them.

  • chfdcpt Jul 25, 2008

    Amen Warden. Probably the same parents who never see their kids doing nothing wrong, "My kid would never do that"...except when you are out of town and they use your house for the party.

  • Warden Jul 25, 2008

    "(They're going to be) learning about life and how to negotiate life, and if somebody is always doing that for you, you really don't grow up," she said. - Amen, lady! If we only declare a war on helicopter parenting. I'm not talking about a valid concern for the *safety* of one's child at a college. This is a different thing altogether.

    I work in a field where I deal with college-aged young adults on a daily basis. And if this is one trend that has clearly gotten out of control. Gone is the pride of going away to school and becoming an independent adult... soon, you've got mommy, grandpa and an uncle harassing a school whenever junior is unhappy. Being involved is great. Removing any chance at your child becoming a mature, confident adult is almost cruel.

  • Mustange Jul 25, 2008

    Well lets see campus violence + college kids being robbed and killed + lack of security on campus = very very very concerned parents go figure. What do they think parents are going to do.Its obvious that if you love your kids and send thim off to school now days you must be involved because WE NO LONGER HAVE FAITH OR CONFIDENCE IN OUR COLLEGE CAMPUSES TO LAY DOWN AND SLEEP AT NIGHT WITH OUT WANDERING ABOUT THEIR SAFETY.