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Todays helicopter parents??

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I really must be getting old!!

Up until just recently I had never run into the term Helicopter parents.

Lord knows I don't have all the answers and have been known to mess up.

But I really never have ran into problems with parents.

Please don't think I'm on any sort of an ego trip. Really I'm not! But I think the reasons for this might be:

Parents know that I do care about the kids placed in my charge.

The kids know that I care.

While maybe at times I have been guilty of having favorites? I do try and be fair.

Parents and Scouts know that I can be trusted.

I really do go out of my way to establish open communication between myself the Scouts and the parents.

I don't rely on written communication, I like meeting people face to face or talking with them on the phone.

I tend too make Scouting Families an extension of my own family. I get to know them well and they get to know me and mine.

I make a point of visiting the home of every Scout and meeting his /her family.

The parents and the Scouts think that I know what I'm doing and I'm honest about telling them when I don't know!

While they know I think that Scouts and Scouting should be a safe haven, we all know and accept that there is and are risks involved.

When and if need be I'm really OK with things being "My Way Or The Highway"!

As a rule the "My Way" thing is the BSA way.

I'm not known for ever suffering in silence. If a Scout is being a little toad, I have no problem telling him or her and if asked will tell the parents the same thing. (Sometimes I don't wait to be asked!)

I let it be known that I'm the "Go to Guy" if you have a problem? See me. To this end I do quickly return emails and phone calls and deal with problems ASAP before they start to fester.

I'm OK with telling parents that their son or daughter can do something which they think maybe he or she can't do as long as I believe it to be true. This works both ways if I believe that a kid can't do something, I'll let them know.

If this gets in the way of them doing something. So be it!

I do admit it when I'm wrong or do mess up and am willing to face the consequences and say I'm sorry.

I go out of my way to let everyone know that what we are doing is fun. Parents know how much I enjoy their kids and how much I appreciate the time we spend together.

I do respect the wishes of every kids parents, even when I disagree with them. Most times when I tell the parents why, I'm disagreeing with them they do tend to come around and see things from my point of view.But I never ever forget that this kid isn't my kid and when all is said and done if a Parents isn't happy with something and says no. No is the final word.

I don't have much time for people who want to sit on the sidelines and watch. I will find everyone something that needs done.

So far for the past 20 + years this seems to have worked for me and I have not had any problems with Helicopter parents.


(Maybe we need a heading Working with Parents?)

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Eamon...I'll bet you dealt with them...just not attached a label to it. My wife, an educator with 25 years, notes she deals with this on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.


What is a Helicopter Parent. (Collected from various sources)


They fly into school in attack mode ready to confront the teacher or coach for "unfair" treatment of their kids.


They obsess over teacher assignments.


Some demand that their child be moved to another class before the school year has even begun.


At Hewlett-Packard, parents have gone as far as contacting the company after their child gets a job offer. They want to talk about their son's or daughter's salary, relocation packages and scholarship programs.


They text message their children in middle school, use the cellphone like an umbilical cord to Harvard Yard and have no compunction about marching into kindergarten class and screaming at a teacher about a grade.


They show up mid-day, taking time out of work to bring in homework, lunches, sleeping bags and missing socks.


Some blame the use and commonality of the cell phone for this.


Our families Black Hawk in grounded.

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Helicopter parents only care about their Scout and no other Scouts. Those Scouts don't get a chance to make their own decisions---their parents do all their thinking for them. I have watched it: a Scout gets questioned about somthing and the first thing the Scout does is look back at the parent

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I don't get the Helicopter Parent/Finding Nemo comparison.


If I recall the story correctly, Dad was nervous because it was his boys FIRST day of school - and sure, Dad was suffering a greater separation anxiety than the boy was, but that's not unusual in parents at all when their offspring go out into the world for the first time (first day of school).


I also recall that the times that Dad wanted to rush in, he held back - because he didn't want to be that type of parent. If anything, it showed Dad overcoming the urge to become a helicopter parent.



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Marlin (Nemo's Dad), "You think you can do these things, but you can't. You're just not strong enough..."


Marlin, "I just don't want anything to happen to him."

Dory, "That's a strange wish... its not much of a life if NOTHING ever happens to him..."


Not to hijack the thread - but guess I was left with a slightly different impression by the movie.



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I work on a college campus, and one of our Associate Deans gave a great talk about this very problem. She has collected stories from the other deans and from other sources that would curl your hair. They include a student not being able to decide between 2 sections of the same course, taught by the same professor, different only in the time slot, without calling her parents. The worst ones had to do with HR departments of companies that had hired recent graduates being contacted by parents of their new hires because of various issues- ranging from not getting big enough raises to complaints after disciplinary actions. I suppose that this is the worst case scenario- allegedly full-grown adults with college degrees not having the skills to deal with the issues that everyone has to deal with on a day to day basis. But the problem stems from parents meddling too much in the affairs of their kids when they were younger. I see this with my own kids to some extent (their mother and I are divorced). When they are with me, they are expected to pick up after themselves, and generally take care of their own stuff. When they are with their mother, she picks up after them constantly. They can't even get to a lot of their toys, games and art supplies without her help. It drives me crazy, and I am slowly making some progress in re-training her to let them take more responsibility for themselves. I wish I had the magic answer, but I don't.



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Ever signed an homework slip for a middle school-er? I have, many of times. A bad test score "sign here dad". Yep!


The school and I suspect that this transcend schooling is holding me responsible for my kid's grades. A really bad grade maybe I can understand that but heck the school publishes interim grades, semester grades and year end grades. On one side the school is talking independence at PTA meetings an luncheons and then at night then send me slips to sign because junior didn't finish all his math homework. How involved does the school expect me to be?


I feel that this is just not an issue for the parents of a trophy child. There are societal forces at work to create a sense of urgency on the part of parents to maximize the accomplishment of their children. You are successful only to the extent that your children are successful. My son isn't failing to complete his homework, I am failing as a parent to clarify his priorities.









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Your post made me smile.

HWMBO has a girl friend who struggles every night with her son's homework.

Her older son is soon to be 20 years old and doesn't have a driving license. The poor kid has to beg rides to get anyplace.

He attends the local community college and his Dad drops him off on the days he has classes.

Problem with that is that Dad drops him on his way to work at about 0700 and some days his first class isn't until noon.

I don't think it's about money (Buying another car) As both parents have good jobs. I think she just doesn't trust the Lad.




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  • 3 weeks later...



I think teachers frequently get caught in the wash from helicopter parents.

I think the abundance of letters home for signature a reaction to complaints from helicopter type parents that see their child's report card and then blame the school for not warning them that junior wasnt turning in home work or doing poorly on tests.

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"I don't think it's about money (Buying another car) As both parents have good jobs. I think she just doesn't trust the Lad."


Pardon me for the minor hijack... but... if he's over 18, can't he get his license on his own?

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Shortridge and Eamonn:

Legally yes; but it sounds like this young man has not been raised with the level of independence to actually consider that. And who would drive him to the DMV? Whose car would he drive once he actually got his license?


I wonder what the parents would say if their darling bummed a ride not to the DMV but to the local recruiter's office and enlisted? Might be the only way he will ever get the opportunity to grow up and get out of the house.





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  • 1 month later...

OK. I can't take it anymore. I have NEVER seen anything like this year's new batch of parents.

Neither have the two prior scoutmasters I have spoken to.

They are interfering with the program by their insistence on absolute safety and special requests for their individual sons! One has told me that she "does not know about this "boy led stuff"..."my son needs structure."


Can;t go bicycling because, "my son has never ridden in the street before." Well, just when were you going to let him??? When he's thirty?? Then, my favorite."We want to know the exact route. We have to be sure that our sons are safe." Well, lady, you are right. I was just about to bring them down

Rt 80 during rush hour.


"Can I go on the campout with my son?", says another. "I just want to be sure he's ok."


Every week, it's cross examination and emails. One is now saying she's going to pull her son out of the troop because during a project, her son asked his patrol leader if he could do something, and he was never given anything to do. Note that the new scouts have only been in their patrols for two meetings. Everyone is still trying to get to know each other and understand where they fit in.

When I saw her son, he was having a great time with his fellow scouts and laughing his head off. It doesn't matter...it's not what Mom wanted.


i just don't get it. They are interfering with the aims and goals of the program. If any of you can offer some advice on how to handle this, I would appreciate it. At least some of it is my makeup; I admit, but I still need to deal with it.

I don't suppose BSA has any protocols on this burgeoning problem yet.

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