Dive Brief:

  • To maintain a high-quality reputation, schools often cater to “helicopter parents” because they tend to be the main donors and school volunteers, according to a study by Council on Contemporary Families. As a result, teachers may favor the children of helicopter parents, which indirectly hurts those students in addition to creating an uneven playing field for those without that type of parent representation.

  • The study found helicopter parents are often white, stay-at-home or part-time employed mothers who make up the bulk of the volunteer force at the schools. Teachers indicate they worry about enforcing the rules with the children of these parents because they fear it will cause trouble for them with administration.

  • Equitably distributed school funding could reduce schools’ reliance on helicopter parents, according to the research, as more financial resources would give schools the opportunity to offer the high-quality school experience they strive for without displaying special treatment for these parents and their children

Dive Insight:

Helicopter parents can stir up trouble in schools. To prevent such issues before they start, a tool like the weekly texting survey app “Possip”, short for “positive gossip,” can scan for signs of trouble and distress among parents in the school community. The tool allows principals to issue weekly requests for feedback via text message and measures the emotional temperature of the parents, picking up the good comments as well.

Other apps such as Bloomz and Class Tag let teachers update parents throughout the day, serve as translation tools to break down communication barriers with parents who may not speak English, and send personal messages to parents about concerns.

Helicopter parenting isn’t just a problem for schools. It can be detrimental to students, as well. The children of helicopter parents may miss out on developing crucial problem-solving skills if their parents are always intervening for them. What’s more, these problem-solving abilities are valuable in the workforce. Protecting children through their failures robs them of growth opportunities, which contribute to their emotional intelligence.

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