Infantilizing college freshmen? Is this the new (or not so new) normal?

As does having a close family sharing many things together.

I’ve seen success come from all sorts of parenting styles. There is no single “right” way to do it.

Glad you’re happy with your choices. We’re quite happy with ours too.


As an interviewer you have learned these things? :confused:

Reading your story and your daughter’s story, I get a pair of lessons from it that for some people on this thread seem contradictory, but that really aren’t:

  • For some students (particularly those who come into college without a lot of academic cultural capital) having a support network (whether family or “found family”) that is very tightly involved in making sure the student is on track is an invaluable benefit, and in some cases perhaps even a necessity
  • For some students (particularly those who come into college with a lot of academic cultural capital) there is little to no need for such a support network [and not included in your writeup but adding it here: and tight involvement by such a network might even be seen as “meddling” or somesuch]

There is, of course, no paradox here, but humans do seem to have a nasty tendency of overgeneralizing their own experiences and situations to everyone else, you know?


Oh, g-d, no. I tried desperately not to meet the parents of NYC kids back when I was interviewing; if they were driven to the interview (as opposed to taking the bus or subway), that was automatically a question mark in my mind. No, I mean some of these hundred page threads where you can picture the OP’s backyard patio and topiary garden by the time you’re done reading it.

Are there any laws defending adult students against toxic parental helicoptering? This is an issue I’m encountering, and CAPS (that’s counseling and psychological services, for you) didn’t take it seriously and started feeding the parents information that they absolutely do not need to know. Helicoptering happened also when I was abroad at a precollege summer program. To outsiders, it seems endearing or like it’s just simply strict parenting, but in reality it’s suffocating and even harassing or abusive. And what’s worse is colleges say to you “well, who’s paying for it?” As if it’s a valid excuse. Lawsuit time.


Just note that if your parents are paying for college, it’s legal for them to stop for any reason.

We have students from our school who need to tow the line to have college paid for. Towing the line can vary from school/major choice to sharing grades or # of texts or whatever.

The other option is to pay for it themselves, and that’s really, really tough when one is a high school grad.


I didn’t intend over generalize, except to acknowledge that most of our children are far stronger and more capable of being independent than we realize, especially if we don’t enable them. Obviously a different approach is required with kids with disabilities, or special needs. Nothing today is more important for most than inculcating good financial sense, as debt is a menace for so many.

Most parents do NOT helicopter their children. And if they do, well that’s their problem. I also see a lot of comments here that seem to be making assumptions based on just what they’ve seen.

Also, parents are NOT required to pay for college. I paid/am paying for both my kid’s college. In return I expect them to act like adults and make the most of their college education. Partying, skipping class, and doing poorly is NOT what I’m paying for. Are my kids perfect? No. Do I expect them to avoid parties? No, but it shouldn’t get in the way of their studying and making good grades. I also expect them not to get in trouble with law. We also told them we will only pay for 4 years of college. Any college beyond 4 years is on them. Sure, if something like a major health issue or something out of their control kept them from graduating on time, we would’ve paid, but that was a we’ll cross that bridge when and if we get there.
Does that seem overprotective? I don’t think so. I’m not made of money and I don’t have the money to pay for endless years of school. I also want my kids to realize that college is for getting a degree, not goofing around. If some parents want to pay for their kids to goof around and not go to class, they are welcome to do so. My husband and I believe that sends the wrong message.
I think being an adult includes being grateful that your parents are paying for your college education and stepping up to the plate and showing them you are grateful. Partying too much, getting in trouble with the law, and cutting class and getting mediocre grades is very immature.



If you’re serious, you run in different circles than what I see in an average public school.

It’s quite possible there are different circles, of course. I see it a lot on cc.

In my circle, most parents do not helicopter, but they can still be close to their adult kids - and they expect their kids to do well in college.

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No, I was serious. I had to take a quick look at her profile to verify she was not my age!

I guess my response would be, “No, that doesn’t sound like helicoptering.” But, it also begs the question, what else does a 18 y/o kid do if they don’t go to college? Repair cars? Bag groceries? Become a file clerk (gosh, remember file clerks?) Just sayin’…

They join the military. They work in factories - could be line work or specialty work. They go to trade schools or similar certificate programs. They work in lawn care, tree trimming, construction, etc. They can start their own business or join another one already operating (tattoo artist, retail, online “stuff,” etc). They can join mom/dad’s business. There are many options that appeal to kids and not all require college degrees.


You forgot coal mines.

I’ve got it!

According to reports, 90% of jobs under infrastructure bill do not require a college degree. And 75% do not require an associates degree.

The idea of “what will you do if you don’t go to college” results in people going to college who don’t belong there who come out (some with degrees but others not) owing a lot of money and not having gained any additional marketable skills.

For the individual, everyone to college works. But it doesn’t for the collective. Something that should be rethought but not counting on it. Seems more likely to me we water down the value of a college degree and create demands for more and more people to need grad school.


I would say most of the jobs in my city government don’t require a college degree. You’ll never be rich, but we have benefits and still a pension that is fully funded.

Plumbers, electricians don’t need a college degree. You can make very good money doing that. Auto mechanics are in desperate need in my area too.

Edit if associates degree counts, our precision machining degree is very good. They have lots of good paying jobs

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@circuitrider, there sounded like a bit of snark in your “coal mines” response, but individuals with a postsecondary licensure or apprenticeship in the specialty trades (e.g., electricians, carpenters, welders) can make a very good living with no college degree (or at most an associates) required.

(Also, echoing what @saillakeerie said about the very real harm that comes from pushing people into college who would be best served by other postsecondary training paths.)


I 100% agree that college isn’t necessary for many jobs, including jobs where you can make a very comfortable living. On the other hand, much unskilled labor is very, very poorly paid. As a result, people put in many hours but have difficulty attaining financial stability - particularly in more expensive parts of the country.

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What do you mean "deleted?’

18 y/o who don’t go to college do lots of things. Most Americans didn’t go to college. And there are plenty of trades which pay quite well!