Archive for College Age

It’s a bird; it’s a plane, it’s a helicopter parent

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Helicopter Parent: “A mom or dad who hovers over his or her children.”

In case you haven’t heard the term, “Helicopter Parents,” are always hovering–always helping–always rescuing–and always involved.

These are the parents who micromanage their kids’ play dates, science fair projects, and soccer game tournaments.

In high school they drive the teachers batty by hovering in at the first sign of a bad grade, making sure their kid’s schedule was stellar (with only the very best teachers), and writing those college entrance essays.

In college they are first on the scene setting up their kid’s dorm room (and complaining if the roommate wasn’t the perfect fit), and even calling the university president to complain about an unfair grade. Cell phones and e-mail have created umbilical bonds that are difficult to cut.

Well, now the kiddies have graduated and they are entering the workforce in mass numbers. It seems these parents are still hovering, but from all indications, their presence is now up a level — think “Black Hawk” mode. According to major businesses from coast to coast these parents are actually attending their kids job
fairs and interviews, negotiating salaries and benefit packages for their children and even demanding that the business call to let them know if their offspring got the job. And businesses are scratching their heads. What do we do with these parents?

Many are actually changing their long-standing practices to send notices of hiring intent to the parents as well as the kids.

This is over-the-top parenting. This isn’t mentoring but meddlesome, and it can rob kids of the self-reliance they need at this point in their grown-up lives. What can these kids fall back on if they have no internal resources of learning and failing because parents protected them from any ever experiencing failure?

Ask yourself a question before you jump in to save your child. What is the worst thing that can happen if you don’t step in?

If there was such a thing as a parent’s job description, it would probably say that we should raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted, independent children that contribute to society. Don’t wait till your child is twenty to celebrate Independence Day. Even very young children can and should have chores.

Though well-intentioned, the self-esteem movement of the last twenty years is what many believe to be the cause with the lack of self reliance many ‘twenty-somethings’ now face. Interestingly, that movement
started about the same time you would see those annoying ‘Baby on Board’ signs on cars.

It’s actually very simple. If you want your child to have self esteem, give them responsibilities. Begin when they are little with simple chores, and continue on as they get older.

Visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports, and get a copy of the Chore Chart Ideas for a few ideas; add your own creativity. For example, if you want a four-year-old to pull up his bed covers every morning, take a few digital pictures of each step in the process and label the pictures with a big #1, #2 and #3 for each step. Leave it on a small poster so he will know and remember what to do. That will make your child feel good about his achievements and he is more likely to take on more responsibility.

This is one of the best ways to communicate with, and stay connected to your child.
Great way to avoid all the helicopter traffic.

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How Do You Mail a Hug to Your College Kid?

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Living away from home for the first time presents many challenges to your college age child. They believe this is independence, but we know it is a baby step. Hopefully they’ve done their own laundry at least once.

As your college child approaches first semester finals, why not send them a long distance hug, aka healthy food snacks.

Check to see if your school has care packages ready to send or try some of these sites. Remember, they still need to hear from us even if we don’t often hear from them.

Sealed with a Kiss

From Mom.com

Hip Kits

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Don’t you want to be an accountant?

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“Consider a career you may have never imagined,” and the discussion begins. Corporations such as Deloitte are reaching out to high schools to persuade students to join their ranks. Their objective is to convey the benefits of working with sponsor companies. They do this by drafting curricula, lesson plans and equipment with the hope of creating a pipeline of workers far into the future.

Businesses are now influencing schools in a way that is much different than when businesses simply wanted students to become customers. This is in response to a fearful shortage of workers from the coming labor force.

Some are worried about a commercial agenda influencing schools, and the potential loss of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

On the plus side, students that may not have any idea what to do with their life, may get on an ‘express line’ to a career. It can also finally answer the age old question kids have when learning math and science, “When will I ever use this?”

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Capitalizing on teachable moments

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A good reputation is more valuable than money.
– Publilius Syrus 100 BC Maxims

In the midst of our incredibly busy days, parents search for something called quality time. But time is time, and each week we are given exactly 10,080 minutes; no more, no less. Time is the great equalizer – it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have.

How we spend that time is what matters. Interestingly, we often spend time in things we can document, quantify or measure, such as activities like sports, school, chores, and work. But what matters more are the things you can’t measure, such as the impact of teachable moments. We need to look at those opportunities as gifts and capitalize on them.

Thank you Former Governor Spitzer. Thank you for giving us the opportunity the explain to our children the difference between little and big mistakes. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask our children a simple but very important question,

“What do you think your reputation is worth?”

Since we are surrounded by popular culture, what used to be considered infamous is now immediately considered famous. We are in the parenting fight of our lives and need to find opportunities to reinforce our values despite the world’s perceptions of values imploding around us.

The young woman in the Spitzer case stands to make millions from the publicity. Again, discuss with your children what her reputation is really worth? A new show called Moment of Truth offers large money prizes for true answers. Unless you’ve lead a Mother Teresa-like existence, I would suggest not trading your reputation and family embarrassment for dollars.

Despite your best attempts, you can’t be around your children all the time, so the next best thing is to make sure they are thinking before they act. No doubt they will make mistakes, but have discussions that reinforce the values you want to instill so you can at least minimize that possibility. I know you think children sometimes don’t listen, but they do. After all, if we didn’t listen, how could you explain that when we grow up we all sound just like our mothers or fathers.

As you end your discussion, put this seed in your child’s head;

“Before you do something – think, would you be proud or embarrassed for us to learn about it?”

That will tell them all they need to know.

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Just a Blip on the Screen

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I’m always talking to parents, and inevitably there are frustrations that come with the territory. One mom was frustrated about toilet training, another about a child not helping around the house, while another was tired of the constant mess.

As our children get older, we see a bright future, and they may decide that our vision is not theirs. Parents want college for their kids, because as one dad told me, “The only thing more expensive than a college education is not having one.”

And then our children may decide it is not for them. They would rather backpack across Europe, play the guitar or learn a trade. Major disappointment and embarrassment for parents.

No different than the frustrations of the parents of younger children, just a later time. But if you’re really smart, you’ll understand that it is just a blip on the screen. The important thing is the relationship you have with your child.

We don’t remember days, we remember memories. Make sure the ones you’re building are not filled with hostility

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Conversation anyone?

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The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has launched a parenting forum to engage parents in conversation about how to raise drug- and alcohol-free children.

Casa has given parents a method of approaching the important conversation of substance abuse prevention. When I have spoken with my own children about local abuse prevention programs, they didn’t think the programs were very effective. The large number of middle and high school students that are abusing drugs and alcohol would prove that point.

The best prevention is home, where good behavior is modeled and bad behavior, as often illustrated by popular culture and young Hollywood, is a great opportunity for a dialog on what not to do. Since we’re often uncertain how and when to start these conversations, Casa offers some great ideas.

The best times to talk are obvious; well before the problem begins.

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Relying On Your Own Instincts

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I’ve always felt that there is a lot that business and parenting have in common, but at the top of the list is a tremendous reliance on instincts supported by good information.

This realization started for me when my kids were little and the experts said that they should cry it out when they went to sleep. That didn’t quite sit right with me. Not knowing any better, we let the kids sleep on our floor. The unspoken message was, ‘we not shutting the door on you, we’re always here for you.’

I suppose our problem is that we often look at things in black and white, when most are a bright shade of grey. The case of helicopter parenting is looked on as parenting having a long distance umbilical cord – I even wrote about this! But in reality, perhaps the difference between excessive hovering and parenting is simply about being there when needed.

Seems pretty black and white to me.

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