Woman granted restraining order against over-the-top helicopter parents

January 2, 2013

Some college students complain that their parents have difficulty letting them go and allowing them to make their own decisions. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, these students should thank their lucky stars that their parents aren't as overbearing as Aubrey Ireland's.

In fact, Julie and David Ireland got so controlling that the 21-year-old College-Conservatory of Music student successfully filed a civil stalking order against them. The judge ruled that the elder Irelands aren't allowed to come within 500 feet of their daughter, and can't legally communicate with her at all until September of 2013.

The report explains that Ireland's mom and dad - Julie and David - frequently arrived for unannounced visits, and strongly vocalized their suspicions that Aubrey was sleeping around, abusing drugs and suffering from mental problems. They came to these conclusions, which Aubrey claims are all false, by spying on her through software they installed in her cell phone and laptop.

“It’s just been really embarrassing and upsetting to have my parents come to my university when I’m a grown adult and just basically slander my name and follow me around,” she told the the judge during a court hearing, according to the news source.

How to keep from being a "helicopter parent"
While the Irelands are certainly an extreme example, parents who attempt to micromanage their college-aged son or daughter's life - nicknamed "helicopter parents" - are not uncommon, and are generally well intentioned. The problem is they could, potentially, stunt their young student's growth by letting them remain as dependent on their families as they were during childhood. In light of this, a New York Times blogger published some tips for college students' parents to keep them from overstepping their bounds.

Blogger Lionel Anderson, an academic adviser at The Fox School, encourages parents to do some research into the institution their kids are attending in order to get a clear idea what kind of services they can and can't expect. It's also quite important to instill a sense of personal responsibility in a burgeoning adult, so they fully understand that they'll have to own up to the consequences of their own actions. Parents shouldn't be afraid to allow their students to fail - after all, failure's a part of life.

Lastly, Anderson points out that although technology allows parents to contact their student once an hour, every hour, they may want to consider not doing that. Kids should learn how to be independent during their college years, he writes, so a little bit of distance will be necessary for their long-term development.

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