Who Is The Hovering Parent?

Hi! I’m Erin, a self-proclaimed education nerd and the creator and author of The Hovering Parent. I wear a lot of different hats, but my most important and favorite role is being the mother of my two energetic and creative kids. In our current pandemic reality, that role involves the challenging endeavor of figuring out online distance learning while helping my kids preserve their love and motivation for learning and keeping our family relationships happy and healthy – not an easy feat.

I’m also an educational psychologist with over 10 years experience working in higher education of all sorts – public 4-year university, private 4-year college, and public 2-year community college. I also have a MSW degree with experience in child welfare, family services, and child and adolescent mental health.

Why The Hovering Parent?

I planned for years to create a website and blog related to my interests in educational psychology and higher education. I even bought a domain name about 4 years ago, and then that domain just sat . . . and sat . . . and sat. At the time, I was finishing up my PhD, juggling school and new motherhood. It turns out that taking care of an infant and a toddler while passing your doctoral comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation was a lot harder than I anticipated. Who knew??? So my plans for creating an online professional presence were pushed aside.

Fast forward several years, my kids are now old enough that their daily care is not so demanding, and I’ve finished my PhD (finally – YIPPEE!). BUT now we are in the middle of a pandemic – not the best time to find a job. It is, however, an excellent time to dust off my domain and start blogging. With so many families being thrown unexpectedly into a distance learning model, I decided to shift my blog focus to education topics that will help parents help their children learn at home. My writings will share my personal experiences, mistakes and successes, as a I teach my children at home. I’ll also breakdown some basic educational psychology concepts that may help parents understand what’s going on with their children and offer guidance on increasing motivation and learning. While many of my posts will be inspired by life with my children, most of my topics will apply to learners of all ages.

You may be wondering where the name The Hovering Parent fits in. I originally 4 years ago named my site The Hovering Parent to reference the concept well-known on college campuses of the helicopter parent. Helicopter parents intrusively hover over their college-aged child rather than granting developmentally appropriate independence. I was interested in how this hovering related to college students’ well-being and wrote my dissertation on this concept.

However, I think The Hovering Parent is equally appropriate with my current focus. Whether we like it or nor, many of us now have a much more hands-on role in the education of our children. Old boundaries between family life and school have shifted with family taking over much of the school role. By default, we are now an even bigger presence in our children’s lives. New roles can also cause anxiety and insecurities. We may find ourselves worrying over our children and their learning more than usual: “Am I a good enough teacher for my child? Is my child becoming too frustrated? Are we falling behind?” So I’m keeping the name. It fits, and I hope it will be a reminder to me, in light of my new role as teacher mom, to keep the hovering to a (developmentally appropriate) minimum.