Parents: Hold the calls to your college kids
By LAURA HOXWORTH • October 3, 2010
Today's parents are more in touch with their college kids than ever. But it's a double-edged sword, say Barbara K. Hofer and Abigail Sullivan Moore in The iConnected Parent: Staying Connected to Your College Kids (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up. Surveys show that college students who have the most frequent contact with their parents are less autonomous. Parents need to strike a balance between staying connected and giving a child space to develop independence. Here's how:
Start early.Teach money management and laundry skills while kids are in high school; back off on helping with schoolwork.
Set a schedule.Before they leave for college, decide together how often to talk. Try to set a regular time (like Sunday nights).
Let them call. The control and decision-making strengthen a sense of independence. Let them decide what to share and whether to friend you on Facebook.
Listen well. Recognize when a call is just to vent. Resist trying to help solve problems unless it's absolutely necessary.
Focus on the goal. Your aim is a well-adjusted, independent young adult. “The bottom line is to keep in mind what kind of person is developing in the process,” the authors write.