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View Full Version : Colleges try to contend with hovering parents


|Zach|
08-29-2005, 03:56 PM
AMILTON, New York (AP) -- They're called "helicopter parents," for their habit of hovering -- hyper-involved -- over their children's lives. Here at Colgate University, as elsewhere, they have become increasingly bold in recent years, telephoning administrators to complain about their children's housing assignments, roommates and grades.

Recently, one parent demanded to know what Colgate planned to do about the sub-par plumbing her daughter encountered on a study-abroad trip to China.

"That's just part of how this generation has been raised," said Mark Thompson, head of Colgate's counseling services. "You add a $40,000 price tag for a school like Colgate, and you have high expectations for what you get."

For years, officials here responded to such calls by biting their lips and making an effort to keep parents happy.

But at freshman orientation here last week, parents heard a different message: Colgate is making educating students a higher priority than customer service. The liberal arts college of 2,750 students has concluded helicopter parenting has gotten out of hand, undermining the out-of-the-classroom lessons on problem-solving, seeking help and compromise that should be part of a college education.

Those lessons can't be learned if the response to every difficulty is a call to mom and dad for help.

"We noticed what everybody else noticed. We have a generation of parents that are heavily involved in their students lives and it causes all sorts of problems," said Dean of the College Adam Weinberg. College, he said, should be "a time when you go from living in someone else's house to becoming a functioning, autonomous person."

Colgate says it has ample resources to help students. But when parents call, unless there's a safety risk, they're usually told to encourage their children to seek out those resources themselves.

As for the China inquiry, Weinberg said, "we tried to explain in the 21st century, the ability to plop down in a foreign country and hit the ground running is a fundamental skill."

Heightened parental involvement is one of the biggest changes on college campuses in the last decade, experts say. One major reason is the tight bond between Baby Boomer parents and their children.

"This is a group of parents who have been more involved in their children's development since in utero on than any generation in American history," said Helen E. Johnson, author of "Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money," a guide for college parents. "I think colleges have been far too responsive in inappropriate ways to this very savvy group of consumers."

Another factor is cell phones. The era of the 10-minute weekly check-in from the pay phone in the hall has given way to nearly constant contact. Rob Sobelman, a Colgate sophomore, says when students walk out of a test, many dial home immediately to report how it went. One friend checks in with her mother every night before going to sleep, he said.

"Even 10 years ago, parents couldn't even get hold of their children," said Colgate President Rebecca Chopp. "If you reached them once a week it was a miracle." Now she says she's hearing from older alumni who are "worried their grandchildren won't learn accountability and responsibility."

Many schools have noticed the trend, but they've been reluctant to alienate parents. Some have tried to accommodate the change, opening parental liaison offices, for instance.

But some schools, while glad to see parents care, are expressing concern over the downside. During freshman orientation this year at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, administrators urged parents not to call their children but to let them call home when they want to talk. At Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, upperclassmen perform skits about healthy transitioning for parents. The University of Vermont hires students as "parent bouncers" to delicately keep parents from interfering in, for instance, meetings with advisers.

At Colgate, parents used to receive a sheet listing administrators' phone numbers. This year, they got a statement about Colgate's philosophy of self-reliance -- a message that was hammered home repeatedly in talks by administrators. Next year, the school may assign parents summer reading on the transition to college.

The approach will continue throughout the year, part of a larger emphasis at Colgate on "teachable moments" outside the classroom. A memo sent to departments ranging from residential life to counseling to public safety reminds employees: "We will not solve problems for students because it robs students of an opportunity to learn."

Mike Herling, a 1979 graduate with sons in the sophomore and freshman classes, said he welcomes the approach.

"It's the intercession on a regular basis they're trying to discourage, and I think it's important they do," he said. "Kids are much more self-confident and develop better decision-making skills if they're given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves."

But Colgate acknowledges not all parents will be happy, and that there have already been unpleasant calls.

"We get quoted the price tag frequently," said Dean of Student Affairs Jim Terhune. "But what you're paying for is an education, not a room at the Sheraton, and sometimes that education is uncomfortable."

Says Thompson, the counseling director and the parent of a college student himself: "I don't want them to be happy today. I want them to be happy a decade from now."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/08/29/helicopter.parents.ap/index.html

Simplex3
08-29-2005, 04:07 PM
The liberal arts college of 2,750 students has concluded helicopter parenting has gotten out of hand, undermining the out-of-the-classroom lessons on problem-solving, seeking help and compromise that should be part of a college education.

Puh-lease. They have the kid by the balls because they own his gpa, the parents have the school by the balls because they own the cash. Of COURSE the school wants to deal with the students and not the parents. Maybe Colgate should only admit kids who are paying their own way. See how that $40,000 tuition thing works out then.

Of course there are people who are out of control. For $40 grand a year maybe they deserve to be.

ct
08-29-2005, 04:18 PM
I think you may have missed the point Simplex. Parents who care and are involved with their kids is great! Parents who can't let go when it's time for the kids to start learning the realities of life are not! Sub-par plumbing in China? Are you kidding me?

|Zach|
08-29-2005, 04:23 PM
Puh-lease. They have the kid by the balls because they own his gpa, the parents have the school by the balls because they own the cash. Of COURSE the school wants to deal with the students and not the parents. Maybe Colgate should only admit kids who are paying their own way. See how that $40,000 tuition thing works out then.

Of course there are people who are out of control. For $40 grand a year maybe they deserve to be.
When this kind of thing is out of control it seems very very bad in terms of a student coming into his or her own. With mommy up your advisors ass instead of you taking time to sort out your things with that advisor or hassling the financial aide office.

I have seen parents set whole years for kids...just seems ver against the nature of college and working to become your own person and an educated person.

Jenny Gump
08-29-2005, 04:43 PM
When I was in college a couple of uh...years ago *cough cough*, I would whine to mom about red tape college crap. You know what she always said "Well, don't bitch to me, find a solution. You're 18 now."

I think this is a good idea personally. Now, I might change my mind when my kid gets to college.

|Zach|
08-29-2005, 04:49 PM
This actually happend my sophmore year to my friend. This was a rough rough draft of a story that was later used in some college tpyish website. The story is true and the names are changed.

The Joy Of Moving Into Dorms Only To Scare Your Roommate And Their Family

Moving into the dorms when you get to college is quite an experience. It is time to say goodbye to family and get settled into the space you will be living in (in theory) for the rest of the year. This is also the time you meet your roommate if you haven’t already done so. Sometimes it is a good experience and sometimes it isn’t. There are other times when it is just weird and awkward like the story I am about to share with you.

One of my good friends has been going out with a girl for a while and she is a freshman at the same school I attend. Being the thoughtful boyfriend he is my buddy came around to help her move in and get settled. Trevor and his friend made the trip down and so the three of us went to visit her new dorm and to see if she needed anything. Moving in didn’t take to long so before we knew it we were all just sitting around talking. Before long there was a knock at the door. It was Amy’s new room mate. Her family walked in as they started talking and this is when signs of bad things to come started showing up. You could tell the new girl’s father was pretty pissed that the first thing he sees while moving his daughter into her place in college was 3 dudes just chilling out in her room. The situation was a little bit uneasy so we excused ourselves from the place and went to get some lunch. We thought this would be a good chance for the two girls to get to know each other and let her roommate get settled. After lunch passed Trevor ended up going back to spend some time with Amy. Because they live in different places they try to hang out as much as they can. Amy’s roommate and her family just dropped her stuff off and left to go do something else. As the afternoon passed they were just hanging out in her dorm room not doing anything special. Time passed and they started thinking about where he was going to spend the night. At first he had planned on crashing at my apartment but they figured if it was all the same it would be more convenient for him to spend the night with her. Amy and her roommate had just gotten to know each other so she wanted to make sure it was ok with her that Trevor spend the night because if she wasn’t cool with it then it’s no big deal for him to stay somewhere else. Another hour passed and she hadn’t come back from spending time with her family so they wrote a note asking if it was alright that Trevor sleeps over. As Trevor opened the door to put the note up Amy’s roommate is right outside the door about to open it. She look’s at Trevor in horror. His description of the situation was, “She looked like she didn’t know weather to cry or scream but it seemed like she wanted to do both at the same time.” The frightened girl turned around and ran out of the dorm room. Trevor just stood there shocked. He looked around to see what could have caused this situation. Looking behind him he noticed that by accident as he opened the door Amy was changing her shirt behind him and he himself didn’t have a shirt (he is one of those guys). Putting two and two together they just assumed she freaked out because she thought they were having sex together.

Thirty mins passed and Trevor and Amy didn’t really know what they should do to fix this situation. As they were talking there was a knock on the door. Amy of course said “Come In,” a few seconds passed and there was another knock. “Come in, really its ok.” Amy’s roommate entered and talked really fast explaining that she was leaving soon, she just had to get a few things. Trevor and Amy tried to explain that misunderstanding that occurred earlier and told her it really wasn’t that big of deal and that she should stay. The girl still look frazzled and she told them that she was going to spend the night with her family in a hotel a few blocks away. Trevor and Amy looked at each other confused. “You can sleep here its no big deal he will sleep at a friend’s house,” Amy said. As soon as she said that her roommate’s mom walked into the room and proclaimed in a pissed off mom voice “After everything that has happened today I don’t know why she would want to spend the night here.” The two women left the room and Trevor and Amy were stunned. The idea that a girl that age could be that freaked out by the idea of someone else having sex was amazing. The funny part is they weren’t even having sex.

In the end the story only gets stranger. The roommate’s family didn’t leave until 4 days after they helped their daughter move in. Her roommate also has a 25 year old boyfriend that she has sex with in the dorm room. Go figure…

Looking back at it my friend Trevor says he only has a single regret. Not having sex with Amy that afternoon.

beavis
08-29-2005, 04:50 PM
When this kind of thing is out of control it seems very very bad in terms of a student coming into his or her own. With mommy up your advisors ass instead of you taking time to sort out your things with that advisor or hassling the financial aide office.

I have seen parents set whole years for kids...just seems ver against the nature of college and working to become your own person and an educated person.
The biggest things you take out of college is learning to be on your own, forging new relationships, and solving everyday life problems. I don't think I could tell you a single thing I remember that I learned from a book at school

stevieray
08-29-2005, 04:55 PM
I attribute it to two different things, parents living vicariously thorugh their kids, and the deterioration of relationships.

We are becoming a very untrusting society.

Simplex3
08-29-2005, 05:16 PM
I think you may have missed the point Simplex. Parents who care and are involved with their kids is great! Parents who can't let go when it's time for the kids to start learning the realities of life are not! Sub-par plumbing in China? Are you kidding me?
I think we can all agree that parent is nucking futs IF that's the way it actually went down. Who's to say that they school didn't show the student and her parent a picture of the Ritz Carlton to convince her to go, then when she got there she was living in a one room shack and having to piss in the corner with the whole host family watching?

Simplex3
08-29-2005, 05:19 PM
When this kind of thing is out of control it seems very very bad in terms of a student coming into his or her own. With mommy up your advisors ass instead of you taking time to sort out your things with that advisor or hassling the financial aide office.

I have seen parents set whole years for kids...just seems ver against the nature of college and working to become your own person and an educated person.
That would be great if the kids were able to pay for it. If I'm footing the bill at $40k/yr I'm going to be VERY involved in how quickly my kids get the f**k out of school and how happy they are doing it.

PS, my kids aren't getting a nickle from me beyond the account I opened when they were born. When the graduate they get that account, they can piss it away on a car or go to college, whatever, but they're done. Not another nickle from me.

sd4chiefs
08-29-2005, 06:01 PM
My wife and I helped move our son into his dorm room this weekend. He is a freshman at San Diego State University. It is really hard to accept the fact that they are grown up and should be able to do things on thier own. My wife was really bad about getting all of the supplys he would need for his room. If we left it up to him he would have moved in with only the clothes on his back and a toothbrush and we would have to remind him to take his toothbrush.

We took him out to dinner Friday night before the move and my wife was trying to talk him into taking things that he did not want to take. I finally told her to just let it go. It is only a 20 minute drive from our house to SDSU so its not like he is 200 miles away and he can't drop in from time to time to pick something up.

It would have been better if he was farther away but it is really hard to get into places like UCLA. It is hard enough to get into SDSU. They had 45,000 apply and they only accepted about 4500 freshman.

By the way, the girls at SDSU are way HOT, HOT, HOT. It looked like they out number the boys 2 to 1. They also live on the same floor with the boys. :drool:

It's all up to him now. You just have to cross your fingers and hope that they can figure things out on thier own.

|Zach|
08-29-2005, 06:09 PM
My freshman year the girl to guy ratio was 8:1 in my dorm.

ENDelt260
08-29-2005, 06:16 PM
Rob Sobelman, a Colgate sophomore, says when students walk out of a test, many dial home immediately to report how it went. One friend checks in with her mother every night before going to sleep, he said.

You gotta be kidding me. Unreal.

Man, college is your chance to get the hell away from your parents and party. I bet at any given point in time in my college career my mom couldn't have named more than 1 or 2 classes I was in that semester... if that much. Much less know when my tests were.

Course, when you consistently keep your cum GPA above 3.5 I guess it's a little easier for Mom to not be concerned.

ENDelt260
08-29-2005, 06:19 PM
It is only a 20 minute drive from our house to SDSU

Gah! Way too close. I was 3.5 hrs away, and that's as close you could've gotten me. Not really a long drive... but, just far enough away to discourage Mom from showing up unexpectedly at the drop of a hat.

redbrian
08-29-2005, 06:23 PM
I would love to work the phone when one of these whacked out parents called to whine about the conditions that little Muffy or Buffy must undergo.

I’d tell these pompous officious asses to get a life and get stuffed.

If they threatened to take their kids out of school I’d give them the number of the local community trade school.

These poor kids have been micro managed and had their life’s sanitized to death.

They have been sheltered from any sense of reality and are going to be in for a rude awakening when and if they ever have to function in the real world.

Just another sign in the deterioration and woosification of a once great nation.

Rain Man
08-29-2005, 06:47 PM
My freshman year the girl to guy ratio was 8:1 in my dorm.


If you don't have an incurable STD, I'm very disappointed in you.



On another note, my parents' house was ten minutes from campus, but I don't think they ever came on campus while I was there. In retrospect, that's a bit surprising, but in their defense, I don't think I really invited them to much.

Rain Man
08-29-2005, 06:49 PM
By the way, the girls at SDSU are way HOT, HOT, HOT. It looked like they out number the boys 2 to 1. They also live on the same floor with the boys. :drool:

It's all up to him now. You just have to cross your fingers and hope that they can figure things out on thier own.


Tell him to buy them alcohol.

ENDelt260
08-29-2005, 06:51 PM
On another note, my parents' house was ten minutes from campus, but I don't think they ever came on campus while I was there. In retrospect, that's a bit surprising, but in their defense, I don't think I really invited them to much.

I remember my first semester one day receiving an e-mail from Mom that included something like, "Well, we'll see you next weekend!" I was like, WTF? She informed me it was Parent's Day. I didn't even know there was such a thing... those bastards at UMR mailed shit to my parents about it.

When I became social chair of the fraternity I started scheduling parties on Parent's Day... Those were some fun times. I think the highlight of the first one was when a group of moms picked up a couch and threw it on the bonfire while all the drunks were chanting "MOMS! MOMS! MOMS! MOMS!"

Bowser
08-29-2005, 06:55 PM
I think the highlight of the first one was when a group of moms picked up a couch and threw it on the bonfire while all the drunks were chanting "MOMS! MOMS! MOMS! MOMS!"

ROFL ROFL

Boy, I can't wait until the wife goes and gets all ****ed up with my daughter at college!

Waitaminnit! Yes I can!

Rain Man
08-29-2005, 07:01 PM
I remember my first semester one day receiving an e-mail from Mom that included something like, "Well, we'll see you next weekend!" I was like, WTF? She informed me it was Parent's Day. I didn't even know there was such a thing... those bastards at UMR mailed shit to my parents about it.

That was a low blow.


When I became social chair of the fraternity I started scheduling parties on Parent's Day... Those were some fun times. I think the highlight of the first one was when a group of moms picked up a couch and threw it on the bonfire while all the drunks were chanting "MOMS! MOMS! MOMS! MOMS!"

There's something disturbing about a bunch of young guys partying with their moms. It seems like you're just a few beers away from having a lot of awkwardness in the morning.




On a completely separate note, I remember during my freshman orientation some rich kid who ended up in my testing group. He was impeccably dressed and quite arrogant, and his parents drove a six-figure recreational vehicle onto the student center parking lot and stayed there for three days. I got a little petty satisfaction when I never saw the kid again after the first semester.

ENDelt260
08-29-2005, 07:04 PM
There's something disturbing about a bunch of young guys partying with their moms. It seems like you're just a few beers away from having a lot of awkwardness in the morning.

Not all of us have an Oedipus Complex.

mcan
08-29-2005, 07:13 PM
You can't have it both ways. The universities in this country have shot themselves in the foot. They've managed to make college so expensive that only the rich snobs can pay for it. Private school? Forget about it... Of course rich, snobbish, and effete people are going to complain about having to live in a smelly dorm. They're used to $400,000.00 homes on the hill.

ENDelt260
08-29-2005, 08:29 PM
My f*ckin' neighbor...

Dig this, was just visiting w/ my neighbor. Over the weekend he went to Vegas for a bachelor party. At one point he finds himself in a strip club and a blonde comes over and sits on his lap and starts talking to him. I guess at some point she mentions something about Missouri, so he thinks, Where was it that Brian went to school... oh yeah
"I went to school in Rolla."
*her eyes light up* "Really? I'm from Rolla!"

He then proceeds to feed her all sorts of bullshit comprised of the bits and pieces of stories I'd told him he could remember. "My jacket's all green from painting the street." etc.

Guess he got a free lapdance out of the deal.

I swear. Do I ever meet anybody who gives half a shit I went to Rolla? Hell, no. But, my neighbor... hell, he meets a hot stripper in Vegas and pretends to be me for personal gain. What a world.

Stinger
08-29-2005, 09:03 PM
I swear. Do I ever meet anybody who gives half a shit I went to Rolla? Hell, no. But, my neighbor... hell, he meets a hot stripper in Vegas and pretends to be me for personal gain. What a world.


ROFL ROFL It like Bizarro World ... He gets the hot skinny stripper and you .... well ...... we all know the stories. ROFL