Helicopter or Hands Off


At a time in high schoolers lives where discovering oneself and approaching the real world is in front view mirror, parents can sometimes slam on the brakes for them. Parents have long lasting effects on high school kids specifically when it comes to how they parent and their parenting style. Whether it be a strict or laid back, hands on or hands off, helicopter or distant, parenting styles have a large effect on their children’s motivation, decisions, grades and thought process/and a variety of different ways kids respond to these styles. Students in this feature have been left anonymous as a way to fully describe their parents’ rules and restrictions.
Anonymous senior girl at BV West would describe her parents as strict and overbearing. Watching her grades closely and monitoring that she turns assignments in on time are two things her parents do frequently.
“My parents look at my classes pretty often and always check for late/missing work even if I didn’t get points off. They get very upset and I’m not allowed to do anything with friends or for personal pleasures during the week if my grades are bad,” Anonymous said.
Another aspect of their parenting style is expecting her to get A’s and high B’s in all her classes, and aren’t allowed to hangout with friends when her grades are bad.
Phone tracking apps are a constant debate between children and parents all over and Anonymous has the same debate with her parents. Meaning she has the app but most of the time she leaves her phone is another place than where she truly is to avoid her parents.
Anonymous first noticed how strict her parents could be two years and due to those rules and restrictions feels as though she can’t always tell her parents the truth.
“Probably sophomore year when I had to start lying about a lot that I was doing even though it wasn’t really wrong, I just knew they would say no if I asked,” Anonymous said.
As a senior she knows that her next step is college, which she is looking forward to. Not having her parents constantly watching over her is a big plus. But, she does share the warning her parents gave her about going to college.
“I am going to a school far away so I will have a lot of freedom. My parents are paying for part of my college though and they have warned me that if I get bad grades I will be right back at home,” she said.
Another anonymous senior boy feels the same about his parents and believes that they are too strict on him.
Stating that his parents are constantly aware of all his plans in and out of school. Anonymous has felt their overarching presence since seventh grade and feels it has never been lifted.
Like many kids with strict parents Anonymous is expected to get good grades and is grounded when he doesn’t achieve those standards. Which has happened to him before.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and school being online since August, parents have new ways of monitoring their children and their school work. Including making sure kids don’t miss their class Zoom.
Anonymous knows what it’s like to miss a class, even if it was an accident.
“Yes they do and for the one class I missed because of a mistake, they flipped out and lectured me,” he said.
Similar to the senior girl, Anonymous is planning on going off to college next year and still knows that he will feel his parent’s presence and pressure.
“I know that my parents are going to continue to track me in college and I’ll have to be careful with what I do. I’m not going to let them stop me from having a good college experience tho[ugh],” he said.
While some strict parenting styles might leave a sour taste in their kid’s mouth, a more laid back style of parenting is preferred. The kids who do have those kinds of parents, are definitely grateful.
The Spotlight interviewed another senior who feels her parents are more laid back.
One senior girl explains that her parents don’t feel the need to constantly check Canvas or make sure she has everything turned in. She lets them know of any upcoming big test, but other than that her parents usually stay out of her school work.
Similar to grades, her parents don’t give her any reminders of when her Zooms are or when an assignment is due.
In high school, many boundaries are set between parents and kids about how much information should be shared with each other and how involved they should be in their lives. Anonymous senior girl adds that those boundaries extend even into Zoom.
“My parents have never sat in on my Zoom calls. They trust the school and all the teachers and would feel the need to do something like that. We are in high school and should be able to handle any subject or topic in school without our parents hovering,” Anonymous said.
Involving her school work anonymous senior girl believes her parents are laid back and let her run her own life due to the trust that they have in her. That trust continues outside of school when it comes to curfew and phone tracking apps.
“Yes I have Life 360. Some kids think it’s an invasion of privacy but I honestly don’t feel that way. My parents have never questioned where I am or made me come home. They just want me to be safe and it’s good to have in case of an emergency,” she said.
With the combined trust they have in their daughter and Life 360, Anonymous has never had a set curfew. As long as she stays in communication with her parents and lets them know her plans.
Like the other seniors mentioned before, Anonymous herself plans to head off to college after high school and feels as though her parents have prepared her.
“The freedom my parents give me will definitely make being on my own in college next year easier. I’ve grown to be very independent and know how to balance my own life. I’m thankful for the trust and freedom my parents give me,” she said.
Every family has their own unique parenting style even when it seems it’s not quite ideal for the kids. Parents do their best to try and prepare their kids for what comes next in their lives.