"One of things we want to teach the students and to have students learn is to try and help solve issues and problems on their own," said a resident adviser at the University of Vermont.
But there is evidence that "helicopter parents" can help their children become more active learners at college. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, "Contrary to popular belief, students with highly involved parents outperformed their peers in engaging more frequently in many areas including deep learning activities. They also reported greater educational gains and were more satisfied."
Robyn Lewis says that her son's success and independence is living proof that her parenting style works. Ethan, now 25, decided to pursue his passion for music instead of college; he's currently working as a songwriter and composer. Brendan, 23, graduated with honors from Arizona State University, and with a mere $200 in his pocket, flew to Europe to pursue a lofty goal -- creating a new model for the neighborhoods of the future, based on ecological sustainability. He credits his mother with helping him pursue his dreams.
"What the close parental parenting I received did for me was to realize how valuable a resource your family and extended family can be," Brendan told ABC News.
Despite the ocean between them, Lewis says that she communicates with Brendan often, through e-mail, MySpace, instant messenger, letters and phone calls, but that their relationship has evolved from one of constant monitoring to close friendship.
Drawing on her personal experience, Lewis is writing a book about helicopter parenting, in hope that other parents will maintain close connections with their children as well.
And she is preparing for an even greater separation yet to come when the boys settle down and start families of their own.
"When they get married, I'm not going to be the most important person there, and I know that," she said. "You go through a period of withdrawal, and then hopefully, you get to be best friends with their wife. And you have a good relationship, and then she'll call you and tell you what he's doing."