Parent Post: On Helicopter Parents

In her latest post, parent blogger Tracy Riegel offers her thoughts on helicopter parents and how parents of incoming Penn Staters can help their children thrive on their own in college.

In a few short months, your son or daughter will be leaving for college! Congratulations to you for raising an independent, responsible (almost) adult!  But, what if they aren’t, despite your best and most diligent efforts?  I can empathize! I have one daughter who is a good communicator and another daughter who really likes to keep things to herself. Naturally, I worry about the latter more than the former. Until she left for Penn State, I felt the need to constantly remind her “don’t forget to …”-you get the picture.  Needless to say, it was difficult for me to let go because of my fear that she would forget to do something major, like her class schedule.

I am sure by now you have heard the term “helicopter parent,” one who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. For the record, this is not my parenting style as I have let my daughters own their successes and helped them to understand their failures. I feel that they have become productive (soon to be) adults as a result. However, no parent wants his or her kid to fail.

Since I could not go to college with my daughters, I wanted to make sure both of them were aware of the many student resources available at University Park.  From learning ( to New Student Programs/Health and Safety (, clubs and events ( and to Computers (—the list goes on and on. My girls are both good at problem solving, but needed to understand the resources available to them as students. Be sure to encourage your student to reach out and broaden their horizons, it’s all part of the college experience!

I know I missed my daughters but knowing how much they love being at Penn State made me feel better. Did you know that Penn State also has a resource for parents? The Penn State Parents Program Office ( is the central resource for parents and works to partner with parents to enhance student success. The office also facilitates parent involvement opportunities throughout the university community, provides information about the student experience at Penn State, and works to communicate regularly with parents through responses to inquiries, email, newsletters and website.  Feel free to contact the office with your questions, concerns and to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Oh, and I still remind my girls to call me once in a while …

To a great year,

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