According to the National Survey of College and University Parent Programs, in 1999, some 35 percent of institutions offered parent orientations. In 2007, over 95 percent conducted them.
It seems amazing to me that just over ten years ago only 35 percent of colleges offered parent orientation. Is this development good or bad?
This generation of parents has readily accepted that they have earned the Helicopter Parent label. Some flaunt the label proudly, despite warnings that their “hovering” may undermine success and prevent their children from learning some fundamental lessons of young adulthood — such as negotiating conflicts, advocating for themselves, and coping with disappointment.
I’m unaware of conclusive evidence showing that “over-involved” parents are causing serious problems for young adults. Also, I’m a bit suspicious of a label that educators seem to promote as a way to push parents out of the way when their involvement is inconvenient to the schools. On the other hand, I know that some parents are guilty of making it hard for their children to develop self-sufficiency skills.
Some parents speak with their college children every day.
How much contact between college students and their parents is too much? The Second Annual Survey on College Parent Expectations indicated that 72.5 percent of parents communicate with their college students at least 2 or 3 times per week. If parents wish to foster independence, this number of weekly contacts may be excessive, depending on the purpose of the communication.
Parents need to ask themselves whether they are calling to simply touch base or keep tabs on their students. Parents and students should determine a communication plan that is comfortable for both parties.