How Can Helicopter Parents “Land”?

Have you ever heard of the term “helicopter parents”? It is the term used to describe the parents who are over-protecting their children. According to an adolescent and child development expert, Silverman (2010), helicopter parents are those who always hovering around their children as if they are helicopters. They will swoop in whenever they see their kids encounter any problems, or even just a little discomfort. It is bad to their kids. She, Silverman (2010), mentioned the following:

Our job as a parent is to protect. We are supposed to protect our children, but we also suppose to teach our children how to stay safe, how to protect themselves. And there is a line between protection and over-protection.

It meant that parents should be teaching their kids how to solve a problem instead of solving the problem for them. Children may lack independence due to helicopter parenting (Yau, 2013).

 

 

Besides, helicopter parents in Hong Kong are extremely pushy. They force their children to participate in a list of extracurricular activities even if they do not want to. They think that it would increase their kids’ chances of getting into the nice schools. Also, they monitor their kids all the time to keep them away from the computer, TV and other entertaining electronics. They think that children should spend most of their time on study. They want to know exactly what their children are doing every moment of their life since they think their children belong to them (Fung, 2010; Yau, 2013). It is not a rare phenomenon in Hong Kong. In fact, it is very common. “A recent survey by the Christian Family Service Centre showed 90 per cent of 186 parents interviewed shared some characteristics of helicopter parenting” (Yau, 2013). Helicopter parenting also causes harm to the children’s mental health. According to Hodgekiss (2013), a research, which was carried out by the University of Mary Washington in United States showed that “helicopter parenting behaviors were linked to higher levels of depression, decreased satisfaction with life and lower levels of perceived autonomy, competence, and ability to get along with people”. Children are not benefited form the helicopter parenting, it is just something what a parent need to feel good. Since helicopter parenting has so many harmful effects on children. It is necessary to find a solution to solve this problem.

 

 

The only way to solve this problem effectively is that helicopter parents need to change their mind. They should “land”. They need to be less anxious and more encouraging. They should allow their kids to try new things. Helicopter parenting is not the shortcut or only way for their children to be successful. Kids need to learn from their failure. Parents should be supporting their children when they fail instead of preventing them from falling. Parents should act as coaches, not the player in a sports game. They should teach them how to play. Teach them about brainstorming, negotiation, the idea of pros and cons. So they could learn about how to think (Silverman, 2010). Karen Levin Coburn, who was an Associate Dean at Washington University in St. Louis, has mentioned, “ I wonder how students will learn to deal and failure or even disappointment if their parents continue to intervene and every effort to protect them” (Coburn, 2006). She suggested that, the less the parents intervene inappropriately, the better and meaningful growth their children would have. Thus, it showed that allowing children to work and try things on their own could allow them to grow appropriately and be independent.

 

 

Parents being less anxious can also reduce children’s mental issues due to the pushy helicopter parenting. Research showed that the levels of the parents’ control on children are relative to children’s mental health. Thirlwall and Creswell’s (2010) study has investigated the following:

When mothers engaged in controlling parenting behaviors, children made more negative predictions about their performance prior to delivering their speech and reported feeling less happy about the task, and this was moderated by child trait anxiety. The pattern of results was maintained when differences in mothers’ levels of negativity and habitual levels of control were accounted for.

It implied that the less anxious the parents were, the more confident their children would be. Although it is no doubt that part of the children of pushy parents did quite good in school, helicopter parenting is not the only method for kids to get good results. Parents who are being encouraging and supportive can also help their kids to get a good result in school. Research showed that “kids with supportive parents more likely to succeed” (Anonymous, 2003). Parents should change their mind, in order to reduce the drawbacks caused by the helicopter parenting.

 

 

When most of the news articles, journals, and studies were talking how bad helicopter parenting was, some people defensed that helicopter parenting is actually good. For instance, according to Belkin (2009), she suggested that the world is too scary and complicated for kids and teenagers. Helicopter parenting before their kids go to colleges is acceptable. I cannot agree with her. In my opinion, the time before kids go to college is the perfect time for them to explore themselves. They should be trying things, finding their passions instead of following their parents’ footsteps, doing what their parents want them to do. Helicopter parents want their children to learn instruments like cello and violin so that they can get more certificates. It benefited them in school admissions (Yau, 2013). This is a very common, and yet, pathetic phenomenon in Hong Kong. Kids learn instruments just for the school admissions. It is like faking a religion to get in the faith school. It is just wrong. Children should have the rights to choose.

 

 

“Parents who try to encourage their children in every way they can and worry themselves sick about their future, which sounds pretty standard to me” (Ellen, 2009). She defensed that certain level of helicopter parenting is just necessary. I doubt that. I understand that parents worry about their kids all the time. Although it is cruel and tough for parents to watch their children fail and do nothing, sometimes they have to let go. For instance, some poor Chinese parents sent their children to ShaoLin to learn martial art so that they could teach martial art for a living when they grow up. It was very cruel to the parents, since they would not be seeing their kids for years and every one of them knew that the training in ShaoLin was really tough, but they let go. They believed that they have to put away their worries to allow their children to have a better future. Helicopter parents should learn to let go and be less anxious.

 

 

To sum up, the solution to solve the helicopter parents’ situation is that parents need to change their mind. Be supportive of their children. Do not spoil or over-protect them. Allow children to try different things. It sounds easy, but it is actually not. Parenting is the concept that bears in parent’s mind. Media, schools and family counseling organizations need to work together to help helicopter parents to “land”. For example, Hong Kong Institute of Family Education offers courses for over-controlling parents (Yau, 2013). It can work together with the family counseling organization, which the family counseling organization can introduce clients to join the courses and advertise the courses. Government can also offers grants for the parents who take these courses. Media plays an important role on solving this problem. Since the media affects people’s value easily. People spend a long time watching TV and browsing on the Internet everyday. Thus, shows, documentaries and News available on the TV and Internet can be used wisely to promote the good parenting methods. Schools can organize some talks and parents meetings, which provide platforms for parents to share and learn more about parenting. Schools can invite some experts on parenting psychologists to teach parents about how to relax and be less anxious. These methods can help helicopter parents to realize the truth about helicopter parenting. It can solve the problem effectively, which create a better environment for the children to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Anonymous. (2008, fall). Research: Kids with Supportive Parents More. Likely to Succeed. University of Washington. College of Education E-News. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/alumni/partnerships/education      news/200809/succeed.html

Belkin, L. (2009, March 4). In Defense of Helicopter Parents. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/in-defense-of-helicopter-parents/

Coburn, K. (2006). Organizing a Ground Crew For Today’s Helicopter Parents. About Campus, 11(3), 9-16.

Ellen, B. (2009, Jan 18). Opinion: Barbara Ellen: Pushy Parents Are Setting The Best Example. The Observer. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/250613083?accountid=10134

Fung, M. (2010). 全球化新勢力 誰是直升機父母? [Who are the                                                                                          Helicopter parents?]. Hong Kong: Apple daily.

Hodgekiss, A. (2013, February 14). Children with Controlling ‘Helicopter Parents’ Are More Likely to Be Depressed. Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2278596/Children-controlling-helicopter-parents-likely-depressed.html

Sliverman, R. (2010). Early Show, CBS News Video. Eye on Parenting:         “Helicopter” Parents. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6783112n

Thirlwall, K., & Creswell, C. (2010). The Impact of Maternal Control On Children’s Anxious Cognitions, Behaviors And Affect: An Experimental Study. Behavior Research & Therapy, 48(10), 1041-1046. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2010.05.030

Yau, E. (2013, April 8). Dadzilla and Monster Mum. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from http://www.scmp.com/article/983995/dadzilla-and-monster-mum

 

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Where can I live?

Analytical essay
Frank Tse
5303 5333

Where can I live?

I have been wanted to move out from my parents’ apartment for months. It seems reasonable, but moving out is not an easy task for young adults in Hong Kong. Since the house prices in Hong Kong are so high that young adults cannot even afford the rent. The average property price in Hong Kong is insanely high, which is the third highest among the world. How high is that exactly? It costs $10k to rent an average 400 square ft. flat in town. While the average salary of a fresh university graduate is only $15k. It simply implies that it is almost impossible for a young adult to afford the house rent alone.

The reason for me to move out of my parents’ is that my parents’ apartment is too small for my whole family. It brings along with lots of problems. I have two younger brothers and a sister. My brothers are highly energetic all the time. They love to scream and yell. It was no big deal. But it is a big trouble to me now since I need to study a lot due to the heavy university work. I could not concentrate on my work when I was listening to them fighting over the TV channels or something else that they were arguing about. Also, due to the high house prices, my parents could only afford the house in New Territories, which is cheaper. Yet, it is very far away from my university and where I work. It takes one and a half hour to get to the university. It wastes me a lot of time. Sadly, I cannot read on the bus to make us of the time because I might get dizzy easily.

Due to all these problems that I have, I need to get my own place as soon as possible. However, I cannot. First of all, the rent of the houses in town where my university located are very expensive, I need to find one or two more flat mates to share the rent. It sounds simple but finding a suitable flatmate is a very difficult job in Hong Kong actually. People in Hong Kong are not used to live with strangers or non-family member. I had posted a flatmate wanted thread online but I did not get any feedback in weeks. So I cannot move. Maybe I can live in the suburban house in New Territories which the house prices and rent is lower. Although it can provide a place me to concentrate on my study, it just contradicted with another reason that I want to move out. I want to move because I want to live near my school and where I work.

Besides, even if I can find a small flat near my school, it will still cost me a huge part of my salary. I will need to work an extra long hour to get the money which I will have no time to participate in social, cultural and civic activities. Most of the young adults in Hong Kong are also facing similar problem. The need to work six days a week and over 10 hours everyday in order to get the money. They have to devote their whole life to work in order to pay the house, which is really sad. I do not want to be one of them. Thus, finding a small and cheaper flat is still not a workable solution for me.

The housing problem is not only affecting me but also our society. The high prices built up a great wealthy inequality among our society. Since the houses prices have been increasing continuously, the people who already own houses became richer. And it is also harder for those who do not own a house to buy a house. The wealthy inequality brings along with a lots of bad effects. Some research has shown that the wealthy gap lower the social cohesion. Also, citizen in Hong Kong lose their trust in the government since the government has failed to control this high houses price situation in Hong Kong for a long time. This is very terrible to our society.

To conclude, the high property prices situation in Hong Kong has affected our society in different levels. It affects the relationships between different groups of people in our society. I cannot move out of my parents’ house until I get decent salary to pay the rent. It is not likely too happen until graduate from university and find a full time job. Where can I live?

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My lovely mother

Little Mrs. Tse

Mrs. Tse is my mother, and yet she is like my little sister. She is a very special woman. Although she is my mother, I usually look after her. My father is not around us most of the time since he works in the mainland. Thus, she asks me for help whenever she has literally any problem. She is also not very good at housework, so I am usually the one who do the most of the housework. I take care of her as if I am her bigger brother. She is not an ordinary mother.

Mrs. Tse is 42 but she looks young. She is around 5’’2, short woman with brown curly hair. She has a young voice and she talks like a teenager. “Awesome” is her favorite word. It is not normal at all for a mother. Although she is not good at housework, she loves to “try” it. It is a nightmare to me. I do enjoy cooking with her, it is fun but it is just sad that I would be the only one who cleans up the mess after the meal. She is a fun mother, she jokes a lot. She just does not know when would be the right time to joke. I remember that one time my father’s company had an emergency condition so he could not make it to grandma’s birthday dinner. My mother told everybody that my father was in jail because he had confessed some business crime. It was supposed to be hilarious, but she said it with a serious tone. Everybody believed her and that whole thing ended up quite messy. This is Mrs. Tse.

Mrs. Tse often forget to bring her keys and I need to go home to open the door for her no matter what I am doing. She sounds like an irresponsible woman, but she is not. She just has a poor memory. Instead, she is very responsible. She will apologize sincerely when she found out she had done something wrong. It is very rare for an Asian mother. Since Asian families believe that they have to build up an image that they are the seniors in the family. They have the absolute power. They would not apologize easily even they did something wrong. Not like Mrs. Tse. Furthermore, she is a principled woman. She will never do anything that she thinks it is not right.

She used to tell me that teenagers should not be drinking alcohol. When I was 15, I drank some alcohol for the first time in my friend’s birthday party and I was drunk when I went home. The last thing I remember from that incident was not the hangover, it was how hard I had beaten by her. Thanks to that, I am not a fan of alcohol now. This is Mrs. Tse. She always knows what is the right thing to do when she is serious about something.

Although Mrs. Tse is like my little sister and I always need to look after her, she is the greatest mother in the world to me. She may not be good at housework, but she always knows how to be a good person. What she taught me is how to be a good person, what is justice and dreams. She told me to chase my dream and supported me. By taking care of her, I have learnt how to be independent. I am really thankful for that. I am so glad to have such a fun, strange and special mother.

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why i write

Why I write
By Frank Tse (2033)

I first started writing when I was 20. I was studying physics in university. Since I studied science, I never thought I would write. At least not write for a living. There was once that I was doing my experiment. I finished quite early so I started to write my laboratory report during the lesson. I got bored so I wrote a short story in the discussion section randomly and shared it to my classmates. “The flammable liquid flowed through the pipe around the university and set the whole place on fire…..” The story was about two boys saved the students who were trapped in the basement by the fire. I was supposed to remove the story, yet I handed it in two weeks later and I totally forgot about the discussion part. The report was graded “F” but there was an encouraging note attached to it. “Quite a story. Very exciting. Why don’t you study literature and write.” I did not know if my professor was being sarcastic, but that was the first time someone gave me a positive feedback about my story. Before I was famous, my friends used to tell me that my stories were stupid and crazy.

There are three reasons that why I write. Getting appreciation is the first one. Everyone wants to be appreciated. Unlike the laboratory reports, stories are unique and different. That encouragement from my professor was quite important to me. It motivated me to write because it remained what I was really good at. Writing was what I supposed to do, I needed to work harder on it. After that, I started posting ghost stories and science fictions online. I got lots of encouraging and kind comments from the Internet. The appreciations that I had gotten were my motivation to keep writing.

The second one is that it can help expressing my feelings. When I was 30, I was facing a serious financial crisis. I was almost broke since all of my money was lost in the stock market due to the economic depression in 2022. No one really understood my feeling. So I wrote the science fiction, The lost astronaut, which the main character was also suffering from depression like me. The story was reflecting my life at the time. I felt much better after I finished that book. It was like I had shared my problem with someone who was also encountering it. I can bring all my emotions and feelings into the stories. That is why I enjoy writing so much.

I want to inspire others through my writing. This is my third reason. It is much easier to give inspiration to others through a great story than tell people about what they should do directly. For instance, Animal farm by George Orwell was a classic story which he had expressed his political view in it. The animal in the farm was representing the government and countries in the real would. It turned a complicated world situation into a story. It gave better impression to people.

Writing is a very effective way to influence people. I wrote many stories with the damaged planet earth as the story background in the recent years. It is because I wanted to inspire people to care about the planet as the global warming is getting more and more serious now. I learnt from Mr. Orwell. I wanted to get people’s attention on the world issue through the stories. I was writing mostly for the first and the second reason in my early writhing life, but I had changed. I want to influence people. This is my goal for writing now. This is why I write.

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