Reverse Entitlement

There's a whole new brand of entitlement. And it's not just for kids anymore

  1. Entitled is a word frequently attached to today’s youth. It’s become normal for adults to look at young people as spoiled, undisciplined and lazy. After all, who knows the benefits of hard work unless you’ve done some right?
  2. Helicopter, or snow-plow parenting, is considered a whole new form of entitlement. But rather than kids feeling entitled, this time it’s the parents acting spoiled and undisciplined. Some parents feel their entitlement is justified, and this is especially true for those carrying the financial burden of sending their child to college.
  3. According to a February 2013 online study published by the Journal of Child and Family Studies, University of Mary Washington psychology professor Holly Schiffrin said parents are getting in the way of crucial child development.
  4. “Parents need to understand they’re not giving their children a chance to develop competency, a feeling of pride and well-being," said Schiffrin.
  5. The College of Brockport’s Erin Rickman agrees, as she’s encountered her fair share of helicopter parents in her 13 years as Transfer Year Experience Coordinator.
  6. “Most commonly are parents asking questions the students should be asking,” said Rickman, who has also witnessed humorous helicoptering examples. "Parents will disguise their voice as the student so they can talk with staff members and will log into their child’s account to check on grades,” Rickman said.
  7. Rickman said some parents have gone as far as logging into their child’s student account to change the password. "When the student tries to log in, they can’t, which is against the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act,” said Rickman.
  8. "Some parents do not understand there are federal regulations that prohibit the institution from sharing information regarding their student with them. Unless the student signs off on FERPA, we are not allowed to provide them with specific information.”
  9. Rickman said parents who are footing the collegiate bill are the ones who have the hardest time understanding they don’t have free reign. “This is the time parents become the most irate," said Rickman.
  10. But Rickman says, interestingly enough, social media can be helpful as well as a hinderance.
  11. She said cell phones are that immediate link and the person necessitating the conversation isn’t always the parent.
  12. “I’ve witnessed students calling parents immediately after class to discuss grades or walking through the parking lot to discuss a flat tire,” said Rickman. Rickman says parents are easily accessible with cell phones and Skype, and this makes it a bit more difficult to “cut the cord” so-to-speak."
  13. Lately, Rickman says she’s noticed how parents are helping fellow parents cope by regulating themselves on social media platforms like Facebook.
  14. “Often when parents voice concerns over their student's’ grades or a particular way faculty are teaching classes, other parents jump in to calm them down.” Rickman points out that campus staff monitors conversations on the Parents for Brockport Students Facebook page and quickly addresses concerns, explaining it is the student’s responsibility to take care of things.
  15. If we want our children to grow up to be respectable and independent human beings, parents should set the example first.
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