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So-called helicopter parents may be hurting the self-esteem of their children by getting too involved in their academic career. (CBC)

Universities in the Maritimes say the transition from high school to first-year programs has become increasingly difficult for many students because of their parents.

Universities in the region are preparing for the return of school in September. At the University of New Brunswick campus in Fredericton, faculty members say they have been targeted by so-called `helicopter parents,' a label for overly protective parents who are excessively involved in their children's lives.

Andreas Decken, the assistant dean of science at the University of New Brunswick, said he’s observed parents hound professors for information about their children's course requirements, even calling enrolment offices several times a day to check up on the student’s choices.

While a parent’s heart may be in the right place, Decken said they may be damaging their son or daughter’s self-esteem.

"We have students that show up in September that are completely wrecked. Instead of looking forward to going to university, they are completely nervously run down because their parents overshadowed their every move," Decken said.

"Some of the students don't even want to be there anymore because they feel their parents not only dictated every decision they made, but some of them are rather significant [decisions]."

Decken said the saddest cases are the students who enroll in particular programs because it's what their parents wanted them to study.

He said parents of university students need to let go of the reins so their children can make their own decisions about their future.

"When you have a student go for a meeting with a faculty member about course selection, about career selection, then comes home and tells their parents about the information session. The first thing out of the parent’s mouths is, ‘I don't think that's the best thing you should be doing,’ then go one step further and themselves call the university, that is very detrimental to the students," he said.