Last week, I wrote about an article describing all of the efforts to get parents more involved with school. This seems to be the most common problem. But what about the other end of the spectrum? The "helicopter parents" who hover over their child's every move? Ah, today we have an article about the "too much" parent group and the impact they're having on colleges.
Some parents have been complaining to college administrators about the issues such as student grades, roommates, and even plumbing issues while overseas. The idea that they're paying $40,000 for their child's education somehow gives them a sense of entitlement to complain about anything they don't like. It makes me wonder about a couple of things. One---what is their purpose in sending the kid to college? Is it only to obtain a piece of paper saying that a degree was earned? And secondly, when do they plan to teach the child that the answer to every problem isn't "call mommy and daddy"? How old were these parents, I wonder, when their parents made them fight their own battles?
I like the fact that the college mentioned in the article is starting to be proactive about this issue. "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.'"
I have to ask myself what the "just right" mode of parental involvement is. I know all too well what the "not enough" looks like...and I have had a couple of experiences with the "too much" variety. Certainly, parents should take an active interest in what the child is doing (or not doing) in the classroom. Parents are expected to be strong advocates for their children. I can understand that parents don't want their kids to hurt---physically or emotionally. I suppose the Goldilocks style of parenting means that you do these things in a realistic way: keep in contact with the others who are involved in your child's life without coming from the stance that your child can do no wrong nor have Life do wrong to them.