Parents who hover over their children, also known as “helicopter parents,” do not allow their children to fully experience independence. Cartoon by Zoe Peterson
Prepare your children for the path, not the path for your children.
Independence has always been the guiding principle my parents used to raise me throughout my life.
I was allowed to ride my bike home from elementary school in the fifth grade, I could walk to local coffee shops to study when I was 12 years old and as long as I texted my parents to let them know where I was, I could do just about anything with my friends.
However, not many of my friends are as lucky as I am. I have heard many horror stories of “helicopter parents” who don’t allow their children to do anything, because as parents, they live in the fear of the
unknown. But is that a reason to keep children from experiencing the “real world”?
The answer is no.
Members of the Athens-Clarke County community brag about how accessible our town is and glorify our recreation centers, parks and other public spaces. Yet, children are denied the right to access them without a parent by their side.
In the many independent activities that I have embarked upon around Athens, I had the opportunity to fail. Yes, there were plenty of times I missed curfew or forgot to send the “I am here” text. In return, I learned from my mistakes and became a better, more responsible daughter and a more mature, resilient human being.
I believe that is the problem with my generation, we haven’t been taught to embrace failure, because we have not been given the opportunity to experience it.
Going to college is one of the most independent experiences a person can have. As a young adult away from home without the constant protection of parents and guardians, a college student is expected to be able to function on their own.
Yet, according to a September 2015 article in Psychology Today, “Young people, 18 years and older, going to college are still unable or unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, still feeling that if a problem arises they need an adult to solve it.”
But why do we need adults to solve our problems for us? Is our generation really that incapable of resolving conflict or addressing problems maturely?
It is time to take that leap and time for parents to allow their children to do so. Parents who constantly limit their children and control their every move are only contributing to my generation’s already great fragility.
It is time to prepare for the path and see where it leads.