Parental interference

I agree with you that a lot of information can just be found on the website. Just remember that most kids of the freshman class never got to tour their schools and even if they did, never got to go in a dorm. That could be why there are so many crazy questions.

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Thank you for starting this thread. My son attends a NESCAC, and I often wonder where the parents park their helicopters on campus! The parents FB page is rife with parents complaining about everything. “my child had to wait on line to get breakfast”, “why weren’t the DORM ROOMS cleaned during break”, “my child doesn’t like her English prof, who should I contact” It sounds like their students are in middle school! And these parents know their student’s schedules to a T. My son’s a senior and I’ve never known his schedule or seen his grades. He knows we know what’s expected of him. These parents don’t give their kid a chance to breathe!


Having had kids in 4 different colleges, touring doesn’t really help with the form situation, since there are so many different types of dorms on campuses and they tend to show the nicer freshman dorms (like a newer honors dorm with a/c vs. the 50 year old dorms with no a/c or elevators). Parents don’t seem to realize that the majority of non-southern colleges have many dorms without a/c and complain endlessly the first 3 weeks of school (it’s 3 bloody weeks, people, next year they’ll choose alternate housing, honestly it bothers the parents way more than the students). “I can’t believe we are paying $$$$ for this!”

Nope, been like this way before covid.

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I’m NOT joking: There IS such a thing?

This is hilarious. Now I have to check if there is also a parent association Facebook page at JP Morgan, e.g., once Finance Majors start their professional lives after graduating.

I’m in utter disbelieve.

If by the time your kids turned 18 still haven’t managed basic life skills (such as: advocating for themselves), then it’s probably best to bring’em back home, build that extension to the house, and administer a honey-dipped pacifier again.


I treat my college kid as an adult. Other than paying the tuition, I don’t have any involvement whatsoever with the university.

I don’t know his grades. He claims that he is graduating this December. I trust that he is right. :slight_smile:

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While I see helicoptering on the parent FB page, after reading some of the things here, I realize just how much better things are there. It is more venting by parents who are trying to avoid being helicopters, so come to the FB page.

The most common posts though are things like advice on basics (or what passes for basics in colleges with kids from mostly affluent families), networking, and for the college to brag about what the kids are doing. There is a lot of stuff that is similar to what goes on here.

I think that how helicoptery parents get on FB has to do with the culture of the group. I don’t think for a moment that my kid’s college has fewer helicopter parents than other colleges. They just don’t post about it on the parent’s group as much.

As a rule, LACs, especially those with a high proportion of wealthy parents, are going to have more helicopter parenting. LACs get pretty good at deflecting and distracting. When we dropped off our kid, there were “parent activities” almost immediately. The activities were baited with activities that would appeal to helicopter parents (as well as with great donuts and apples). After that, parents were politely told to leave campus and go home.

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Interesting… I have had the exact opposite experience. The parents at the midsize university that D20 attends are much worse than those of the LAC S18 attends. (And much more civil.)

Had no idea that this was a thing - I came from a home with very old-fashioned parents (still went out in my later teen years), but went away to school at 18. They really helped me move into my dorm (I brought a lot of kitchen stuff, we lived large) but after that I was doing my own thing.

My kid is less worldly and I worry about them. But they are back to sports training (after time off this past 18 months) and frankly, it’s been a good thing. Planning food to cook, managing homework (still in high school), learning about laundry. Still being woken up early, though. By 18, I’m hoping they have this adulting thing on lock.

I will be too busy living in Berlin in my art studio (current plan - no guarantees). Won’t have time to be along for the college ride every step of the way - I’ll be whooping it up myself.

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As a W&M alum, I can tell you the struggle was, and still is, real.

It is a rite of passage for freshmen, though, living on the third floor of a brick walk up with no AC, in a town that back in the day was a swamp. The trick is to make friends with the kid who got a note from a doctor for a window unit.

Don’t get me wrong, love love love W&M, don’t let the lack of AC dissuade anyone. It only matters for a short time, and there are plenty of places to go that do have AC.


I saw this thread the other day and meant to say something, but the activity seems to have tapered off. I am very Facebook averse in general, but I did sign up for the Denison parents page before our S19 arrived at the school. I understand from some of the parents on that page that the Denison group is different from those they have encountered at other schools, but I have to say the Denison parents have been a godsend for a parent sending her oldest child halfway across the globe to college. The first important thing I learned was “send them with a fan.” Like the W&M freshmen dorms apparently, the Denison first-year rooms can get really hot. Some first-year parents are surprised by what they hear but most accept it as a rite of passage as @CateCAParent describes it. Far beyond that good advice, however, when the pandemic began in earnest and the kids were scrambling to get home when the campus closed, the Denison parents who live near the school put together a spreadsheet offering their contact info and describing the help they were ready to provide - a place to sleep, a drive to the airport, help with getting things into storage, etc. My son actually managed on his own, but knowing that there was such a group standing by made a huge difference to me. More generally, I think the group is a particularly valuable resource to parents of first-years, who need advice on everything from the school insurance plan to ordering birthday cupcakes. I suspect these groups are self-defining/self-policing, but I have been very lucky to stumble into a completely non-helicoptery, extremely helpful and supportive Facebook group (still the only one I belong to).


I’ve had the same experience as you on the Virginia Tech parents page. It’s very heartwarming to see multiple parents jumping in to help with emergency housing, rides, advice on car repair and doctors, even offering to sit with a student at the hospital until a parent can get there. We are only 3 hours from VT and can get there reasonably quick, but it’s great to see so many willing to help other who they don’t know in real life. I guess VT’s UT Proism motto really gets into their blood.

God Bless the admins though, and their patience with people asking the same questions over and over when just a simple search will lead them to the answers! Thankfully, most of the helicoptering (& snowplowing) is politely shut down with responses from BTDT parents.

I’ve seen a lot of parents with kids at northern colleges getting very worked up over the lack of a/c. I can almost see them rifling through the admission packet to see if they paid for a/c :laughing: Come on down to VA and talk to the kids at W&M and VT about not having a/c!


Almost every group offers really helpful information which makes these groups valuable for freshparents and immigrant/international/ first generation college parents but infantilization of 18+ young adults by snow plowing/helicoptering parents is often astonishing and not helpful for students or colleges.

My son is at a state university in Texas. There’s all the usual about kids getting parking tickets, or not finding parking places close to class (“after what we pay for parking!”) or bugs in the dorms, or the limited hours in the closest dining hall.
But my favorite as a non-Texas resident are the moms asking if homecoming mums are a thing in college.


The Yale Parent FB page I generally found helpful for questions that parents have to deal with: which airport, local transportation from airport, size of rooms, what furniture is provided for certain dorms, places to stay/eat when visiting, healthcare (do we need school policy or is parent family coverage sufficient), where to order birthday cakes, how to arrange for delivery of bulk or more valuable items. Pics are also fun. The posts veer towards helicoptering when parents ask about classes, clubs, advisors, study groups, anything related to students’ college experience. They go completely over the line when they complain some perceived “unfairness”.


As someone living in the northeast, I have never heard of a homecoming mum. I had to Google it. Now I’m just shaking my head.


Back in our day when it cost $10k/yr to go to college we were sent and told to call home weekly.

When tuition is $70K/yr you better bet parents want a lot for that money and they will make sure their kids get it.

I disagree with that, now, if the kids want to advocate for themselves because of the high cost, more power to them, it’s their education. Today a mom sent the university an email because a band aid has been on the bathroom floor for two days.

And the proper way to is to communicate their expectations with the adult who actually is at the college and then leave it with him/her, if and how (s)he wishes to pursue this.

Otherwise, at what stage in life or age do they no longer “own” the “commodity” they’ve invested into: “A lot of money” was ultimately spent for excellent positions after college/grad school. Will they insist on attending interviews with prospective employers and participate in salary negotiations to maximize family return?


As someone born and raised in the South, I had to Google it too. In both high school and college, we wore homecoming corsages or wristlets, but those homecoming mums are over the top. Everything is bigger in Texas!