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Parenting Secrets of a College Professor

starbrightstarbright Registered User Posts: 4,660 Senior Member
edited March 2012 in Parent Cafe
I enjoyed reading this article. I mostly agree with her and yet at the same time, I imagine it might be a whole lot easier to be this hands off mom when she knows her kids are on her campus (even if she doesn't see them she knows she can if she really wanted to).

I have sympathy for parents that find this too hard to do and not sure how I will be, but I do think it's how it should be. And my heart breaks for that mom who sits for hours looking at the college cam for her son. That seems beyond helicoptering to something that needs professional help.

Parenting secrets of a college professor - Parenting - Salon.com
Post edited by starbright on

Replies to: Parenting Secrets of a College Professor

  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Registered User Posts: 5,888 Senior Member
    My kid lives 2000 miles away from me. She should try that before writing any more "advice" for parents of college students.

    Some of what she is said is sound and I agree but it does grate that her children are on the same campus yet she feels qualified to judge those who have taken the far greater leap of faith of truly sending their children out into an unknown world.
  • starbrightstarbright Registered User Posts: 4,660 Senior Member
    ^ Mine will be about 3000 miles (bus and flight or 2 flights) but *could be* on my campus instead but feels it's too close to home. Sigh.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    We've listened to some interesting questions from parents at various campus visit days/orientations, etc. It does make you wonder how the parents will function when their kids are at school. We told our kids that we will not call, text or email them for the first 2 weeks of school. They are free to call, email or text us anytime though. We wanted them to adjust to school and not fall back on us to fill down time. We also told them they had to stay on campus for the first 6 weeks before they could come home. If they were really having problems we would have gone to them, etc. We have always felt that the number one thing kids learn in college is how to transition from being a high school kid to an adult and if parents are in constant contact with their kids, it's just too easy to say "mom, what should I do about...." vs trying to figure it out on their own first, then asking for help if need be. It's worked out pretty well so far.
  • kayfkayf Registered User Posts: 4,161 Senior Member
    I agree, with the comment about her kids are her campus -- I checked and it appears that her school does participated in a tuition exchange with a large number of schools. Even if there was some rule that for some reason her kids had to go to her school, that her kids are at her school, imvho, disqualifies her from giving advice lke this.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    At the school our oldest attended, the college president said his 2 daughters attended the school and he rarely saw them. They lived in the dorms, he wasn't Facebook friends with them on purpose, only called them on weekends, etc. He made an effort to pretend they were not there so they could live the college life. My guess is that the author of that article does something similar.

    Heck, I can go a couple days without seeing the kids that live here still if they are busy with after school things, get home late, etc.
  • moonchildmoonchild Registered User Posts: 3,296 Senior Member
    I think the article is spot on. She is seeing the results of parental hovering first-hand, and definitely has the qualifications for writing this kind of article. I really don't think it matters if your kid is 30 miles away or 3000 miles away, college is a perfect time for our kids to learn to direct their own lives, not have mom or dad call three times a day to check in.
    Having been on this forum for years, I think most CC parents would agree with the author. We may come here to get help launching our kids, but we stay to find support while letting them go.
  • zoosermomzoosermom Registered User Posts: 25,968 Senior Member
    My D is only a couple of hundred miles away, but that's still not local. She is now a sophomore and she said something that amused me yesterday. We've been having a bit of difficulty on the home front lately and she is aware of it. She called me yesterday and I was pretty down and she cheered me up. I told her how glad I was that she called and she asked why I hadn't called her. I told her that I believe in letting her take the lead on that so that I'm not intruding. She told me that by the second half of sophomore year, she has her feet under her and I can treat her like a real person again! There are things I help her with, but we don't hover. We do, however, text often, silly things from both ends. I almost wish I had saved my texts all this time so I could put them into a book form for her.
  • zoosermomzoosermom Registered User Posts: 25,968 Senior Member
    We may come here to get help launching our kids, but we stay to find support while letting them go.
    This is the God's honest truth.
  • northeastmomnortheastmom Registered User Posts: 12,379 Senior Member
    I do not think that it is fair to judge what how other parents relate to their children. She does not necessarily know the parents, the students and their family well enough in the first place.

    I won't rationalize her points. I will just say that I could make a judgement about her by saying that she is coddling her child by sending her to the school she works at nearly every day. I could compare myself to her by saying, "Jeez, I let my sons grow up by sending them to another area of the country for college, and she is limiting her children by sending them to college in her/their own backyard." BTW, I don't think that the judgements I just made are fair either.
  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild Registered User Posts: 21,832 Senior Member
    Looking back, I can't believe the huge leap of faith I took sending my kids to boarding school. I won't go into the whole backstory, but different reasons for each kid. When my daughter (Rice '07) went away as a high school junior, kids didn't even have cellphones yet, and they didn't work well in the woods of Michigan where she went to school anyway. You are completely trusting the school to take care of medical issues, social issues etc., with limited phone calls and emails with your kid. It worked out fine and was a magical experience for our daughter, but looking back I'm wondering how I did it. When our son went away he wasn't even 15 but he was only 3 hours away at the first school. College was a piece of cake!
  • seren50seren50 Registered User Posts: 93 Junior Member
    I agree with the anti-hovering premise of the article, but take the author's self-congratulation with many grains of salt. She seems to go in for over-exposure of her family dynamics. Last year in the NY Times:
    Teaching Teenagers About the Joy of Sex - NYTimes.com
  • kayfkayf Registered User Posts: 4,161 Senior Member
    I think just being on same campus as kids would give a lot of parents more confidence -- that if something were wrong, they would know it. I think the the professor writing the article was arrogant and unfeeling toward parents not n her shoes.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member
    She should write an article when her kids have actually left home. :rolleyes:

    I never called my daughter her freshman year, but she called several times a day.

    Last year, I still didn't call, she called once a day.

    Now, I call her, she calls me, whichever. We don't talk each day, but a few times a week, for sure. A lot of the space came from her being abroad for 4 months and only being able to skype at odd hours.

    Why is this even up for debate. She is my daughter. Just because somebody arbitrarily picked 13th grade as the year to leave home doesn't mean she didn't want to check in on things as she was figuring out how to manage life an airplane ride from home.

    But, yeah, put your kid on the campus you teach on, with professors who know who she is, and then give yourself a pat on the back for "letting her go" and scoff at others who call? She needs a reality check.
  • kayfkayf Registered User Posts: 4,161 Senior Member
    yeah, Poet, I'm waiting for her next article entitled, "College is affordable, I dont know why other parents are complaining."
  • SkyhookSkyhook Registered User Posts: 1,095 Senior Member
    I thought the author seemed a little too smug and critical of other parents. I feel we do best when we are honest with each other but a bit more supportive.

    I'm sure professors see some of the most extreme examples of helicoptering that we could all agree are over the top. But most of us are just doing the best we can and trying to find some reasonable balance. We love our children.

    I guess being supportive and reasonable doesn't get your article published.
This discussion has been closed.