Monday, August 23, 2010

Adaptations against helicopter parenting

In order to separate doting parents from their freshman sons, Morehouse College in Atlanta has instituted a formal “Parting Ceremony.”

It began on a recent evening, with speeches in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Then the incoming freshmen marched through the gates of the campus — which swung shut, literally leaving the parents outside. ...

Most deans can tell stories of parents who lingered around campus for days. At Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., a mother and father once went to their daughter’s classes on the first day of the semester and trouped to the registrar’s office to change her schedule, recalled Beverly Low, the dean of first-year students. ...

Formal “hit the road” departure ceremonies are unusual but growing in popularity, said Joyce Holl, head of the National Orientation Directors Association. A more common approach is for colleges to introduce blunt language into drop-off schedules specifying the hour for last hugs. As of 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, for example, the parents of Princeton freshmen learn from the move-in schedule, “subsequent orientation events are intended for students only.”

The language was added in recent years to draw a clear line, said Thomas Dunne, the associate dean of undergraduates. ...

Some undergraduate officials see in parents’ separation anxieties evidence of the excesses of modern child-rearing. “A good deal of it has to do with the evolution of overinvolvement in our students’ lives,” said Mr. Dougharty of Grinnell. “These are the baby-on-board parents, highly invested in their students’ success. They do a lot of living vicariously, and this is one manifestation of that.”
--Trip Gabriel, NYT, on kicking helicopter parents off campus

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