‘Extreme Helicopter’ Parents Are Following Their Kids To College And Need To Back Off

helicopterCollege is not only a time for kids to expand their studies and prepare for the job market, it’s also a time to learn what it is to live as an independent adult. Some parents are robbing their children of this opportunity for growth and maturity by following them to college and being their roommates.

One couple who are lifelong Denver resident’s planned on relocating for “adventure’s sake” once their daughter left for college. They did – sort of. They followed her to Portland, Oregon, where she is currently a college sophomore. The Associated Press talked to some real estate agents who said that this is becoming a common occurrence:

Sheila Baker Gujral in Maplewood, N.J., is a Georgetown alum who interviews prospective freshmen for the Washington, D.C., school. She’s been volunteering to do that for 10 or 15 years and only last summer ran across such relocations.

“I was talking to this girl and asked how her parents were doing about her leaving,” Baker Gujral said. “She said, ‘They don’t mind living on the East Coast or the West Coast, so I’m applying to those places.’ I was, like, “They’re going to move wherever you go to school?’ and she said yeah. She didn’t look entirely thrilled about it.”

Other real estate agents reported the same trend. One in Knoxville said parents were buying weekend condos so they don’t have to fight for hotel rooms when attending football games.

Having the disposable income to rent a weekend home so you don’t have to stay in a hotel is one thing, but actually relocating with your child is another. Fox and Friends talked to the family who decided to relocate to be near their college sophomore in Portland. 19-year-old Fallon Osterberg spent her freshman year at school on her own, but her parents decided to relocate for what they’re calling a “gap year” away from their hometown:

”I still feel like I’m really independent,” Fallon said. ”I can get around. I still go to college, I still am on campus meeting new people and making friends and having college experiences. I just happen to live at home, too.”

There are plenty of kids who live at home while they go to college for financial reasons. But I think if you can afford to send your kid away to college, you are doing them a disservice by following them.

Learning how to get yourself to class on time and finish school-work without being pestered by a parent aren’t the only things that build character and get you ready for life on your own in the real world. Maintaining a household, paying bills, grocery shopping — all the things you need to do when you live on your own are important life skills, too. I know a college student could essentially do all these things while living at home, but something about not having the safety net of your parents around teaches you that there are some responsibilities that really fall square on your shoulders.

I’m not surprised that we have come to this place. Parents are becoming more and more involved in their children’s lives – from toddlerhood to adulthood. It makes sense that this over-involvement would lead to some problems shooing our children out of the nest. I hope this is just a “trend” and doesn’t become the “norm.” Children are meant to leave the nest and become independent. They can’t very well do that if their parents are remaining their roommates into adulthood.

(photo: John Orsbun/ Shutterstock)

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