A new trend in parenting?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When I went off to college, my mom drove in my car with my stuff and my dad followed in his car with more of my crap.  They  helped me haul my tons of junk into my dorm room and then headed off to the cocktail lounge at the Holiday Inn where they stayed one night and then went back home to have a "we have one less kid in the house" party. When they drove away, there was money in my newly opened bank account so that I could get what I needed for my college life.

 My husband's parents may have waived goodbye to him in the driveway when he took off for his freshman year, but they definitely did not drive his crap up there for him. Their party started before he reached the expressway because he was the last of four kids to head off to University.

Moms today seem way more involved in the college drop off.   Last month my Facebook feed was full of photos of  nicely decorated dorm rooms put together by moms. One friend posted a picture of all of her hard work and noted that the sleeping figure in the dorm room was her son who napped the entire time.   Another friend could be the editor of Beautiful dorms and Gardens Magazine if they had one. She was certainly going for some type of award with her amazing hard work for her son's temporary room.

I can see going up to school with your freshman and moving him in and all, but according to my very scientific research (Facebook), this pattern seems to be repeated during every fall of the college experience.  One friend's daughter started school in the summer and had to change dorms again for the fall term. Her parents and siblings all went up to school and moved and re-decorated for her again.  Another friend spent days setting up her son's  junior year apartment. 

Still another friend who has a daughter who is at a college here in Miami but lives in the dorm told me "I can't meet for lunch today because I  have to figure out how to hang a flat screen television in my daughter's sorority dorm room". "Isn't that what fraternity boys are for?", I thought to myself.

After my initial move to college, I moved from dorm to dorm to apartment to apartment.  My parents would visit once a year during parent's weekend but they never helped me move and I certainly did not ask them to help. (Isn't that what fraternity boys were for?) I'm sure that they checked out my living arrangements during those yearly visits just to make sure that said fraternity boys were not living in my apartment, but they were not involved in much more than paying for the places. I'm positive that my roommates and I had to find out who to call to get the power and phone turned on without mom's help. We had to  write checks for rent and expenses (even though Dad was paying).  We had to figure it out. 

I'm wondering if this is the new normal. Are the people I know just a little nutty or is this nationwide?  My friends seem normal and their kids are all gifted/talented/genius so it's not like their children could not figure this all out themselves. Is this just a continuation of the "helicopter parenting" that I keep trying not to practice? If I send my son off to college someday and don't decorate his dorm room, is he going to think I suck or is he going to actually be glad that I'm letting him fly off on his own? 

Luckily I won't have to deal with this for a couple of years but I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or opinions.


Anonymous said...

I don't have children but even if I did, I wouldn't decorate their dorm rooms, they are fleeing the nest so I'd l love to see what they would do off their own back.

Suzan Sweatman said...

It's not just nation wide I hate to tell you - I think this is a global thing - never mind College - when my daughter got her first grown up apartment I treated her to a weekend away - and then did her apartment up for her for when she came back. From head to toe like a decorating mad woman.
I think we're all just a little insane to be honest with you lmho

angryparsnip said...

When son and daughter moved to school freshman year one year apart, different school, each 8 hour drive. We help bring the things they need, not much, small rooms. After that they found a storage unit for the summer and they moved their stuff into it.
We helped son build a desk for his computer. But that was it. What ever they decided to decorate their rooms was up to them. Son had roommates for two years daughter had a single all four years.
They wrote checks, used credit cards and found their way.
I am afraid some of those students will be 35 and not know how to dress with out Mom.
Two of daughters friend dropped out of school because they didn't know how to handle time and freedom. The Moms were always telling them to do the homework, and they helped write papers. When they got to university they were lost.

It sounds like you are doing just great. You seem to know what is important and it is not matching towels.

cheers, parsnip

p.s. one son went to 4 different school, so I never really helped him. What fit in his car or suitcase was what he had. He is a hoot ! and what ever school he wanted to go to he would apply and then go. It took him some extra time but he traveled all over.
He went to school at Cambridge and I did fly over at end of year to help carry books home. He finished his degree in Japan and I went over for graduation but it was all up to him.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

those are the parents that will write their child's resume and take them on job interviews and when they finally DO get out on their own they may fail because they have no idea how to DO anything. and it's control too. turn them loose people!!

smiles, bee

NanaDiana said...

I think it has really gone overboard. Now, I did help my girls with their houses but not with their dorm rooms other than helping with initial set up- CRAZY! xo Diana

vivian said...

well, Ive sent 4 kids off to college. We helped all four move in and I stayed long enough with each of the girls to help them get set up and decorate (in very simple ways) because they wanted me too. with the boys, one of them and the friend he was rooming with who was also his best friend growing up, did not want my help setting up their new bachelor pad dorm room! (LOL) they were funny and they did a pretty good job on their own. the other son moved a couple states away and we moved him down and spent the weekend making sure he had what he needed, but he was in an apartment and had to bring everything with him, couch, bed, etc. we did not decorate his apartment with the exception of making sure that his huge portrait of Kramer (from seinfeld) was hanging straight! lol! anyways.. thats my experience.. Lots of attention to the girls getting their places prettied up and not much with the boys. And by the way, my observations... LOTS of parental involvement in getting the kids moved in and set up. I guess it depends on just what youre kids need and what you feel inclined to do. Do you remember when JOhn boy Walton went off to college.. all by himself with only a little brown suitcase? wow... it sure isnt like that anymore. not even close.
have a great weekend Julie!

Susie said...

Japolina, I delivered my girls to college and cried all the way home. I still miss my babies, and they are grown with families.xoxo,Susie

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