September 07, 2010

Especially When You Remember Who Is Paying Whose Salary

Janice Shaw Crouse writes today about the tendency of some colleges to demonstrate a "derogatory attitude toward parents."
These attacks against parenting are another attempt to intimidate parents into surrendering their influence to that of supposedly "superior" intellectuals and professional "educators" who know what's best for our children. ... There is no reason for parents to accede to the condescending and patronizing attitudes of those who believe that parents are superfluous in their children's lives once they reach college age.

1 comment:

  1. I would agree that colleges shouldn't demonstrate a derogatory attitude toward parents. Doing so is pretty counterproductive, causes parents to put their defenses (and sometimes offenses) up, and is likely to influence how they interact with the school and possibly how their child interacts with the school. I would say, however, that a few misguided parents cause the creation of such terms as "helicopter-parents" or "velcro-parents" (and in those cases, it's warranted). As a veteran of 20+ years higher education, I speak from experience here.

    Like the parent who made 123 (that's one hundred and twenty three) changes to her child's course schedule between summer enrollment and the Fall semester. Then the same parent, at graduation time, called one of the student's professors to argue her grade and ask for special consideration for her child.

    Or the parents who go with their student to post-college job interviews (really, our career services folks assure me this is true)!

    Or the parents who, upon seeing their child's course schedule at freshman enrollment, say "We're not going to pay tuition for anything that doesn't count toward graduation!" And in doing so, won't allow their student to take a remedial class that is required or strongly recommended because of poor performance (test scores, classes taken, grades, etc.) in high school.

    Or the parents who, in a multitude of ways, rob their student(s) of the opportunity to learn how to handle themselves and their affairs by "doing" for their student what they should be discussing with them and coaching them through. Things like locating and setting up academic advising or tutoring appointments, providing explanations to faculty for poor attendance or performance, completing and submitting appeals, setting up course schedules, handling financial aid matters, paying for numerous parking tickets and/or excessive campus charges, to name just a few.

    I'd even add to this group the parents who complete all their student's initial applications for admission and scholarships and/or make excuses for their lack of involvement in the college admission process when the student is nowhere close to a decision as to a college, and it's April!

    Colleges and universities should treat parents with the respect they deserve and shouldn't treat them in a derogatory fashion. I don't think, however, there's anything wrong with stressing to both the student and parent that college is the student's "deal" - their responsibility to take care of, to go to class, to study, to think about and plan for their major and their career, to interact with the people and make use of the resources that are there to help them, to take ownership in their achievements and learn from their mistakes (and to be allowed to make mistakes in this still 'protected' environment - college), to learn about the rest of the world by meeting people and experiencing things they've never heard of (like Thai food and Techno music, not like drugs and a new religion)...

    OK, I'll shut up now and step off my soap box.

    Cheers to the good parents out there who prepare their students for success and allow them to fail when they're still protected. I'm sure I'll be an overprotective parent while mine reach college too!

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