by Sarah Michaelis Tuesday November 27, 2007

A new study says that more than one million Canadian students have tutors.

The study, done by The Canadian Council on Learning, reports that parents who hire tutors for their children do so because they are financially capable, disappointed in the school system and want their kids to have an edge later on in life.  

This adds to the growing trend of “helicopter parenting.” The term was coined by the U.S futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies to describe the hovering nature of some parents who micromanage all aspects of their child’s life well into adulthood. It may start with the hiring of tutors but it moves on to meeting with university professors over a bad grade or even calling perspective employers.  

We all want our children to succeed and evidence shows that parents who are involved in their child’s education have kids who do better overall. But is this going too far? Not necessarily.

The National Survey of Student Engagement in the U.S. reports that kids with “helicopter parents” had “higher levels of engagement and more frequent use of deep learning activities,” and “greater gains on a host of desired college outcomes, and greater satisfaction with the college experience.”

But the survey also reports that the grades of these students were not higher than those with less-involved parents. The reason for this could be that the kids with hovering parents need the extra support because they have trouble in school. This brings us back to the tutoring issue.

One million is not a high number if you look at the number of students in the Canadian school system. In fact, the majority of parents surveyed by the CCL were satisfied with the education provided for their children. So maybe those who hire tutors do so because they do not think their child will succeed within the school system and need a little extra push. And why should the support stop once they enter university?

That being said, calling employers is taking things too far. Some people have reportedly brought their mothers to job interviews. That’s more than a little creepy. So like everything else, moderation is key. Help them when it’s absolutely necessary but let them become who they will become all on their own.

Parenting & Family