Starting the Conversation: Advice on Helicopter Parenting?

helicopterBy: Marianne Reid Anderson

The world is a dangerous place – without a doubt – and much different than the world I grew-up in where my mother could insist we go outside and play and without any supervision, just with the rule that we had to be back by supper-time. I applaud all the parents out there that work so diligently on overseeing the safety of their children. Quite frankly, it seems to me that it must be exhausting – dangers around every corner, even on their computer through the Internet and social media. How do you do it?

But at what point, are parents supposed to pull-back? When I went away to college, my mother asked that I call home once a day to check-in so she wouldn’t worry. Is that enough by today’s standards?

On the other hand, as an adjunct professor, I witness every year several college freshman that have no idea how to work a microwave, no idea how to do laundry, and no idea how to manage their time. I used to have a chore list to help my parents and once I was on my own, I was grateful (not as a teenager, of course) and I see that same dawning realization with many college students, as well. But once when I asked a student what her major was, her mother answered instead and said, “WE are majoring in Communications.”  Pardon? I still have no idea what the student wanted to have as a major.

So how much is too much? How do you know where and when to draw a line?

I’d love to know your thoughts, recommendations, and comments. Do you have any advice for other parents? What have you found to work? Let’s Continue the Conversation on my blog at

Editor’s Note: As follow-up to last month’s conversation on “Should We Bury The PA Death Tax?”, we reported on a personal experience of a reader from McKeesport. I would like to personally thank those of you who contacted us to voice the concern that he may have overpaid his taxes, particularly, the income tax. If you are in a situation dealing with the death tax or would like to see what can be done during your estate planning, you may want to contact a licensed attorney or here is a list to help you contact your local IRS office: Also, for your perusal, is some additional information regarding the PA Death Tax: