Are young adults too attached to their parents?

The Daily Circuit live chat for Monday, May 14

  • Helicopter and Snowplow parents are resulting in insecure young adults who are afraid of failure. Do we really want adults who are afraid to take any risks in life?
  • I agree about balance, because sometimes your kids will lose out to those whose parents are over-involved and calling professors and bosses. I am constantly wondering whether my kids have missed opportunities because I was not one of those parents, and did, in fact, have a situation where my child lost an opportunity because the other parent got involved on behalf of their child, and, as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    by Mara edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 2:40:42 PM
  • @Khatti - I completely agree about the opportunity for parents to proofread. There is very definitely a difference between proofreading and writing. Other opinions, and eyes that haven't been working on the paper for a long time, are important to turning in decent papers. Most of my teachers and professors have required papers to be proofread by at least one other person. That's just common good practice. Sometimes somebody who isn't invested in a paper will spot more errors and find things that don't work well.
  • @Margaret I agree; there is a cultural flavor here. We're talking a lot about the American value/myth of personal 'Independence' here. It's quite ethnocentric.
  • I started college in 2001, and when I called home for the first day my mom said, "You know you're paying for this, so you better hurry it up." I think she was trying to say, "you're an independent adult now, and you shouldn't be relying on me." But I felt abruptly cut from my parent's support. I was more independent than my peers, but when I got depressed at college I felt like I needed to deal with it all on my own, and that was very difficult.
  • I agree with the need for balance. As for proofreading, as a parent I would encourage my student to have another student or grad assistant help them. Students need to develop their own network of help, beyond their families. This is an important life skill!
  • When I attended college in the 70s I could afford to make stupid mistakes as I was going into debt at a reasonable rate ($1000 yr). College is such a huge investment now that parents are rightfully concerned that their students don't mess up as there may not be a second chance.
  • Where is the real root of this problem?

    The lack of enough spots in the highest level colleges for students that are very qualified is part of the issue. With less than 6% acceptance rate at the top colleges, and mediocre middle level colleges being unable to provide what the students really need to succeed in their adult life, what other option do parents have but to help their children succeed. It use to be that good, long term job success was available to any college grad but now days it is very hard for a grad from an average college to even support themselves let alone a family. Thus, the current state of competition for good jobs, thus the economy, is part of the cause.
    by Sarah edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 2:44:39 PM
  • Many parents are investing big dollars into their young adults education, my theory is when you are taking my money I have a right to know what you are doing with it.
  • My parents did a great job balancing raising me and letting memake mistakes, but stepping in where they thought it was necessary. They made small steps away from me as I got older, and older, and really let me become independent in college. They financially supported me in college, but not totally, it was a shared endeavor. On the day I graduated from college they said "congrats and good luck!" and I was financially cut off. I made mistakes in the "real world" but I have never been upset about it. My parents are great, and I have great relationships with them, especially my mom. They continue to be supportive, being sounding boards, advice-givers, etc. They won't ever stop being my parents, but they trust that they raised me right and they allowed me the freedom to be independent.
  • I've had/seen friends with over involved parents, one dictated when he got haircuts. How does 1 learn with that much direction #dailycircuit
  • Shocked at number of callers who are educators and admit to snowplow parenting. Are they enabling more to do the same? #dailycircuit
  • For most of human history adult children and their parents have lived in the same communities, attended the same events, known the same people. The "college-aged" independence that so many of my peers (people with college aged children) recall occurred in the 1940s to the 1990s when American cross-generational mobility (and college attendance) greatly outpaced communications technology. I think that every student having their own phone in their pocket may be returning us to a more normal structure of social relationships in families. My experience (where the only phone on my dormitory floor was located in a public place and shared by all residents) may have been an exception, not a human norm.
  • The generation that didn't trust anyone over 30, has reversed itself, not trusting anyone under 30.
  • My son just finished one year at Emory University in Atlanta and as we were listening to this program, he asked me why I didn't call him more often during the first weeks of school.

    He observed that all his friends were talking to their parents once a day or more.

    I explained that when I worked for a program that sent older highschool kids to EUrope for a trip and family stay, a call from the parents often sent the child in a state of homesickness.

    It was far better for the child to adjust on her/his own and invest themselves in their surroundings than constantly reminding them of what was going on back home.
    by Rebecca edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 2:54:05 PM
  • I'm coming in on this conversation late but I think I might be a snow plow parent.

    My kids are only in elementary and middle school but I have had to battle for my kids. Each time I have had to do so, it was always the case that my children were treated unfairly, sometimes to the point of psychological trauma.

    Teachers saying my kids hadn't completed homework when in fact I knew they had because I do keep close tabs on my kid’s education. Even after I was able to go back and find the homework that was graded by the teacher did they continually punish my child and me emotionally.

    It was never about doing the right thing for the child but about the adult teacher/administrator being “right”.

    I just refuse to let my children experience the unnecessary abuse by adults who don’t have their stuff together.

    Why does that make me a bad person?
    by KHer edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 2:54:36 PM
  • I think our conversation is focusing on a small subset of students - from a particular cultural and economic background. What about 1st generation students? Students of immigrant parents? Students who take on responsibilities for younger siblings or interpreting for parents at medical appointments? We should be sure that we're acknowledging the vast range of student backgrounds and parent ability to "snowplow".
  • @Holly Look down at what Dr. Gidlow wrote. You are right on the mark.
  • My 6th grader has always excelled without us looking over his shoulder.

    This school year he missed out on an advanced math class by 4 points on a facts test (mult., div time test sort of thing) We were disapointed but figured they have to cut the enrollment off somewhere & accepted it.

    Then there was a front page article in the Mankato Free Press a few weeks ago regarding funding for gifted programs.

    It centered on another 6th grader who also missed the cut off by a few points. His mother contacted the adv class instructor & school adm & got her son into the advanced class.

    So frustrating for me.

    I don't want to act like my kid deserves different treatment & I don't want to hover. But seems like if you take a hands off approach your kid will miss out on extra opportunities. I may not stand back & accept a test cut off next time.
    by Adele in North Mankato edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 3:11:32 PM
  • Trying to find a healthy balance through the years is the challenge and opportunity. A complete break or ugly break up between parent and child in the college years can be a missed opportunity as well. These children may soon have their own children, thus a new dynamic with grandparent, parent, & child/grandchild. Grandparents can be a wonderful resource to a young family if trust exists between the generations. In later years the younger generations relationship with the senior generation can make those either fulfilling or lonely. Get family counseling if it gets intolerable. It can be greatly insightful for everyone.
  • The young can be smart and learn quickly, and the old have had experience and gained wisdom. There is a difference.
  • Like most things in life, this requires balance.

    My parents would probably call once a week and that was plenty for me. If I felt the need to call them more, I did so. But honestly I wanted to cut the chord. I love my parents, but like most parents letting go was/is hard. I'm not 28 and live in MN while they're still in IA and we still talk about once a week, sometimes less, sometimes more. I think it's an appropriate level- my parents feel involved in the happenings in my life, yet I still feel independent. On the other hand, I've known people who can't/won't cut the chord (on the parent or child side) and it never seems to work out well. They can't seem to make decisions on their own and almost to a fault must consult their parents. It allows the parents to continue be controlling and the child to stave off full responsibility for their decisions. I once dated a guy who talked to his mom on the phone every day- he's probably about 31 now and I doubt the behavior has changed. Just seems sad.
    by Kari edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 5/14/2012 3:29:05 PM
  • I believe my parents had a good balance with how much they interfered with my life and education.

    In high school, they always went to parent-teacher conferences and made an effort to know what I was learning and how I was doing. However, it was always up to me to talk with teachers about my grades and get extra help if I needed it. If I thought a teacher was being unfair, I had to handle it myself and ask them why I received a certain grade. This made me a much better student and definitely prepared me more for college than if I ran to mommy every time something didn't go my way.

    In college, I would say they were interested in my education and progress, but, again, encouraged me to be more proactive in dealing with administration. When I really needed them to contact the school on my behalf because of a serious illness, they were quick to help.
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