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.