College Helicopter Parents

It’s tough being a national media star, but someone’s got to do it. You see, this week I took my turn in the spotlight after being quoted in a little publication called The Washington Post. I don’t know, you may have heard of it. Whatever. In all seriousness, it was a really interesting piece about helicopter parents in college, and I was interviewed as well as my parents, about our experiences. Turns out, the article has really struck a nerve. In the wake of the piece, an interesting dialogue has emerged about student independence in college and reaching the right balance of “letting go” for parents. For all the info and advice, read the article here or check out the subsequent Today Show piece.

Me and my  parents in front of Cowles Library during my first year at Drake. Aren't they cute?!

Me and my parents in front of Cowles Library during my first year at Drake. Aren’t they cute?!

I don’t pretend to be some kind of expert who has these issues all figured out. And honestly, I’m not qualified to give parenting advice of any kind. I mean, I can nanny with the best of them, but issues of parental involvement are a whole lot more complicated than doling out fruit snacks. What I do know is that my parents are the reason I am who I am today. They are still the most important people in my life, and I always want to maintain our great bond.

Simultaneously, I also know that I need to take ownership of my own life. We can’t all pull a Peter Pan and retain the simplicity of youth forever. So I decided to leave home and go away to college at Drake. I decided to live as independently as possible and make my own way in the world. And most importantly, my parents decided to let me do just that. I’m forever grateful for their support and encouragement, but equally as grateful for their distance and understanding. My apologies for the Dr. Phil-esque tone here, but I really do mean it. The transition to college is difficult, I’m not gonna lie to you. But with enough room to live and explore, and yes, even make mistakes, it can be a great experience for kids—and parents—to set the stage for the future.

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