I thought we were done with Helicopter Parents and Militia Mommies way back in August of 2006.  But nay!  Velcro Parenting still grabs!  They’re all still hovering and floating and attaching and waiting to get their hook and eye boots on the ground as they drive their kids — and colleges! — crazy!

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.

“We recognize it’s a huge day for families,” she said. Still, during various parent meetings on Colgate’s move-in day, which is Thursday, Ms. Low and other officials plan to drop not-so-subtle hints that “activities for the class of 2014 begin promptly at 4,” she said.

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. “It’s easy for students to point to this notation and say, ‘Hey, Mom, I think you’re supposed to be gone now,’ ” he said. “It’s obviously a hard conversation for students to have with parents.”

Parents!  Leave your kids alone!  Let them go their own way, screw up, and — most importantly — figure out how to recover from their own failures without your incessant intervention and inspection.

Yes, your kids are imperfect.

Yes, they will make grievous mistakes.

Yes, you need to let them fall and bleed and feel sorry for themselves.

That de-attachment process is just as big a part of parenting as helping them take their first baby steps.

The only thing worse than a Hovering Helicopter Parent — is the Clinging Child — and that happens when a harried, young, parent, brings their infant or young child to class.

Children do not belong in university.

Babies cry.

Kids make noise.

You are doing a disservice to your education and to your fellow students by bringing your kids to class.

It is not our job to babysit your children.

Leave them at home.

Place them in daycare.

Do not bring your offspring to class.

We will not allow you to punish the rest of us with your misfortune, bad-timing, or poor scheduling.


  1. My parents let me take care of college while I was in college. They were there with me for the tour and would visit now and again but were more hands off than on. That’s how it should be.

    1. I agree, Gordon. When I was in college, parents were never really seen on campus at any time. They might help you move your stuff in the dorm room if you lived far away, but if you were local, you were “on your own” in all things. It was much better way back then… SMILE!

  2. I see this all the time. The attachments are sort of sad. The kids can never be their own person or make their own decisions. The parents are living a second subversive life through their kids.

    1. It seems we’re in the midst of two, strange, extremes. You’re either wondering where the parents are, or you’re wondering why they’re everywhere. We need a return to the disconnected, but available, caring that gave kids just the right amount of freedom to fail without it being a do-or-die situation.

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