An article from the Washington Post asks this question, and answers pretty nicely, actually. There is nothing in the article I disagree with. By continuing to micromanage our children in college, we set them back as adults. College should be graduating young adults who are ready to take on the world, not kids who still have no clue how to pay their rent.
In reading this article it is surprising to me how involved parents still are, and want to be, with their child’s college experience. We absolutely are the generation of “Helicopter Parents”. While our own parents pushed us out the window and said “fly”, we keep our kids in the nest far too long. As I have written in this blog before, the senior year of high school should be the transition from being daily parented and your child beginning to take responsibility. A senior in high school should know how to budget money, do their own laundry, cook a basic meal, know how to change a tire, have their own bank account.
I am also surprised that students allow their parents so much input into their college lives. With my daughter, she called us almost every day at first, just to hear our voices. That’s ok. But we never had anything to say about her classes, her major, who her friends were. These were decisions that Alexandra had to make on her own. When she would call to discuss something of interest she had learned I was thrilled to hear about it. Now that she is finished with college and with her post college program, she is finding it very difficult to get a job. This generation of young people will not find it easy in life, I’m afraid. All the more reason for them to be strong and independent.
My son, Wes, is also off at college. He will be a junior this year. We can go weeks without hearing from him, then he’ll call every day for a few days. Again, we take no part in choosing his major, his classes, or his day to day activities. When he calls to talk about philosophy or biology or whatever he is learning about, I’m happy to hear him and discuss issues. But “parent” him? No, I am a consultant now. I do pay the bills, but as long as there isn’t any major trouble brewing, I will continue to do so until he graduates from college.
I adore and love my children. They are still babies to me. I am their mommy. But…in life, they are responsible young adults. And I treat them as such.
**My son just called me to talk about guitars and scuba diving and researching whales. A 15 minute call, and it always makes me happy to hear his voice.