Information for the parents of college students
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Helicopter Parent – It’s Official!

It’s official.  The term “helicopter parent” has made it into the new Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary.  According to the publishers of the dictionary, the term has finally reached the “lexicographical tipping point.”  There are a lot of helicopter parents out there, and there is a lot being said about helicopter parents.

According to the new edition of the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the term helicopter parent was first used in 1989 and means: a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child. The term is not limited to college parents, but many college parents have clearly earned the title.  We find the important word in this definition to be “overly.” There is nothing wrong with being involved in your college student’s life, the difficulty is when that involvement is more than providing support on the sidelines.

We’ve written several earlier posts about college helicopter parents and the importance of the right kind of involvement.  We invite you to take some time to read our posts and think about whether the “overly” word applies to your involvement with your student.

Interestingly, at the same time that helicopter parent has entered the dictionary, so has the term “boomerang child.”  First coming into use in 1988, this term refers to a child who returns to live in the family home, especially for financial reasons. At a time when some estimate as many as 87% of college graduates are returning home to live, at least for a while, the term refers to an experience common in many homes around the country.

Read our earlier post on boomerang kids to help you cope and/or prepare for what has almost become an inevitable phase for many college graduates.



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