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Trying to Stop Helicoptering

It's that time that always seemed so far away-the time when my first born is getting ready to leave for college. He just received his dorm assignment, and my heart sank.  He was assigned to a TRIPLE.  He will share his room with two other students (and still have the same size room as someone assigned to a double). It's also not the dorm I wanted him to get.  I immediately turned on the helicopter mode.  I had to fix this and fix it fast!  How will  he survive with two roommates?  Where will he study?  Where will he put his things?  I contacted the housing department and explained that my son had requested a double, not a triple.  The young man explained that there are no guarantees in assignments...blah blah blah.  I was pretty upset but maintained my cool.  When my son came home, I told him he had received a triple.  His response, "Oh.  What time's dinner?"


I am embarrassed to share the above story with you, but I feel it's important.  We all have anxiety as parents, and there has been a lot of talk about our generation of parents being helicopter parents, a well as parents who want to protect their little darlings from any amount of pain or discomfort. Sadly, when we do the types of things that I did, we are basically telling our kids that they are incapable of handling the situation themselves.  What does that do to their self-confidence?  I did not tell my son I made this phone call because I realized I was wrong.


 Yesterday was parent orientation, and my husband I both attended.  Of course, my son said, "Why do you BOTH have to go? That's SO embarrassing?"  I didn't say a word as we walked through the parking lot watching hundreds of other students walking in with BOTH parents.  I was shocked when after the welcome presentation, our kids were sent off to participate in their own orientation!  Oh yeah, they're adults! They're leaving home in a few weeks.  But wait! He doesn't know anyone here!  What if nobody talks to him?  And,  aren't they going to register for their classes today?  How am I going to help him?  What if he chooses the wrong classes? What if he doesn't understand all of his requirements? I started to turn on helicopter mode (take out my cell to text him) but quickly stopped myself! Instead, I listened to a speaker talk to us about FERPA and how we will no longer have access to our child's grades! WHAT!  The next speaker talked about student discipline.  She explained that her job was to discipline students for making poor choices (drinking, cheating,etc).  However, we would not be privy to that information either! I looked around to see if any of the other parents were breaking out in hives!

We were reunited at lunch, and I was happy to hear that my son had already met a new friend and gotten his number!  My hives were fading.

After lunch, we met with the dean of our student's chosen major (business for us ).  I was so impressed with ours!  She was so enthusiastic and caring.  She talked about how she and other professors really try to get to know their students.  That sounded promising.  She also had a great sense of humor that put me at ease.

At the end of the day, my son came back to meet us with his schedule in hand.  He managed to sign up for 15 units and chose a great schedule all by himself!  Better yet, he didn't sign up for The Science of Bubble Blowing.

In the car, his phone dinged and he passed his phone back to me to share the message.  "Hey man.  Great hanging with you today.  Let's hang when school starts."

I think it's going to be okay.  I will admit that I did look up each of his professors on ratemyprofessor.com, but I am not telling him that! I am working on letting go.  I really am!


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