Friday, December 26, 2014

The cost of over-managing college kids

From page A6 | August 02, 2013 |

By Betsy Hart

I’ve long written against the practice of helicopter parenting, or over-managing our children’s lives. Good grief, I literally wrote a book on the subject.

And I admit that some of my children look at their friends’ families and then chide me for not being more aggressive about, say, forcing them into rigorous dance classes early in life. I guess I’m the reason my daughters are not on their way to becoming prima ballerinas. OK, I can live with that.

Eventually they may even thank me for encouraging some independence. And by the way, I’m far more involved in my children’s lives than my parents ever were in mine. For example, I will never leave a 16-year-old daughter home alone for a weekend while my husband and I go out of town. I still don’t know what my parents were thinking. But I’m getting off topic.

What I do find is that when it comes to college — especially as my oldest, a son, goes off to school as a freshman in just a few weeks — I want to get in and manage the situation more fully. I don’t know, maybe it’s because the stakes and the investment are pretty high. One of the biggest of both being, well, money.

Suddenly, it’s like I’m a hovering parent. Registration, orientation, choosing classes, preemptively arranging tutors, finding extra-long bed linens to fit his dorm bed, are all on my to-do list.

Just in time, along comes a study that just as helicopter parenting might have negative implications when kids are young, so too at the college level. A recent piece in Forbes magazine says, “A new national study has found that the more money parents pay for their kids’ college educations, the worse their kids tend to perform, at least when it comes to grades.”


“Want Your Kids to Succeed? Don’t Pay for their Education” is the headline of the piece in which Susan Adams looks at a study by Laura Hamilton of UC Merced, discussing these findings.

As I get ready to start writing checks from my 529 college saving plans for my son, I have to admit that looking back, this connection makes some sense. My parents covered every dime of my college expenses, but never even asked for a transcript. (I know, I sound like I was really spoiled. Don’t get my four older siblings started on that topic.)

Anyway, somehow, to me that made class attendance seem sort of optional. I guess as long as someone else was paying the bill I didn’t feel responsible for what it bought. Maybe it was a little like renting a house instead of buying one: not my problem!

Similarly, The New York Times recently cited this study and another showing that parents who are over-involved in their children’s college life itself, i.e., choosing their courses — gulp — also hurt their children’s chances of success. (It’s The Times that labels these practices “helicoptering.”)

I’m doomed.

Or, at least I see I have to back off a little. When it comes to the funding issue, Forbes doesn’t suggest I go to Vegas with the college funds. The author does suggest parents make sure one’s child knows what is being spent, what the expectations are for the child’s performance, and that doing well in school is their “job.” Also, the kids should have to get a job or participate in a work-study program, she writes.

OK. Agreed. And for a little more independence, I might even be able to turn over some course selection decisions to my son and his college adviser.

But call me a later-in-parenting life helicopter mom: my child is not picking out his own (and thus ill-fitting!) dorm bed linens.

— Scripps Howard News Service



Special to The Enterprise



Exchange students bring the world to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Pastor has many plans for CA House

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Goats help recycle Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Playing Santa

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Special holiday gifts

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Learn fruit tree tips at free class

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explorit: Get a rise out of science

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

NAMI meeting offers family support

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Yoga, chanting intro offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



Blamed for her sister’s rage

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

How much for the calling birds?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Many ensured a successful parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Thanks for putting food on the table

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10



Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Patterson is college football’s top coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Clippers get a win over Golden State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery





‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery



James J. Dunning Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Floyd W. Fenocchio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7

Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: A9