Being a freshman stands as one of the most memorable experiences in one’s life. The university will provide students with an education that will influence their years to come in unimaginable ways. For many freshmen, their first step into college life also opens another door to adulthood associated with all the legal and cultural factors from drinking to driving. The range of making choices and decisions expands, literally surrounding them in all shapes and sizes from course registration to nonacademic pursuits. With more choices to choose from, the students learn that the level of responsibility also heightens, and they gradually learn to become a responsible member of society. However, there now emerges an unexpected barrier to their journey of early adulthood, hovering above us in the shape of what is commonly called “helicopter parents.” Ewha Voice has taken a closer look at this phenomenon through this article.
Helicopters in flight on campus
“I am 24, and my parents are reading and editing all of my job applications,” said Lee, a Seoul National University student who shared her experiences living with helicopter parents under anonymity. “I feel like I am suffocating.”
In the Korean society, helicopter parenting is quite prevalent and has often been perceived as a social norm for parents of grade school students. However, nowadays, this trend is seeping into the lives of college students, like in the case of Lee.
“During grade school, I didn’t see anything wrong with the relationship I had with my parents,” Lee confessed. “And even now, I think everything was quite inevitable and common up to high school. I simply feel that my parents have unnecessarily dragged on their responsibilities to this day.”
In extreme cases, parents even call their children’s university professors to settle school matters themselves. According to Hong, an office worker who wished to remain anonymous, he has seen such forms of helicopter parenting first hand.
“In my office, I once overheard my co-worker calling his son’s university professor, to explain that his son would be absent that day because he was still hungover from drinking the night before.” Hong shared.
Hong said that he was very much taken aback because he had not thought his co-worker would monitor his child in such a manner.
“We are getting more and more calls from these helicopter parents,” said an official of the Department of the Registrar of Ewha. He shared stories of parents who called to complain and request a full explanation on their daughter’s grades.
There have even been instances where the parents call because the student has missed the application deadlines for leave of absence or minor and double majors, in which the parents make threatening comments like, “We’ll see who wins.”
With an increasing number of parents stepping into the affairs between school and students, the official worried about how students would cope with life after graduating from university.
“I also worry that these parents will taint the good name of Ewha out in society by carrying out their obsessive ways even after graduation,” said the official.
Similar cases have been showing up internationally.
“I think that China is similar to Korea regarding this issue,” said Teng Yue, a foreign student studying in Ewha. “Some Chinese parents, like helicopter parents in Korea, try to take care of their children even after they enter college, and arrange their children’s path by telling them to study further or get a certain job.”