New Trend: Parents Move to College Towns So They Can Live With Their Kids

It's never easy for parents to wish their children farewell and drop them off at their college campus for the first time. So some parents simply choose to never do so. Instead, there is apparently a growing number of moms and dads who can't let go and are following their children to their college town, where they are renting or buying property -- and sometimes even living with their kids off-campus as they embark on their college careers. One mom and her daughter recently made headlines when they appeared on a Fox News segment to rave about how fantastic it is that they are freshman year roomies. And while their living arrangement might be ideal for them, for most parents, this is a recipe for disaster.

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Kudos to the young lady who was interviewed and said she was pleased to be living with mom at age 19 -- I don't know many teens who would say the same. College is the time in a young person's life when they are finally able to take all of the lessons they've learned in their 18 years at home with mom and dad and apply them to the real world -- or the semi-real world, I should say, since real life doesn't generally include 24/7 opportunities to party at someone else's expense.

Parents who follow their children to college are fooling themselves if they think they are doing it for their kid's benefit -- the reality couldn't be less true. It seems what most are doing instead is sacrificing their child's development in order to satisfy some need they have to continue parenting because, maybe, they feel they need more time and didn't accomplish all they had hoped.

I can understand that desire to keep nurturing and protecting our young, but at some point, we have to throw our hands up and say, I've done a lot; it's up to you now.

College is that time.

My parents offered me the choice to move away for college, but I had no desire to leave New York City, and given how close my family lived to my university, it didn't make sense for them to pay for a dorm. As much as they promised me my independence, no child is independent when there is always a hot meal waiting for them, should they decide they don't feel like cooking that night.

My parents are very loving and slightly helicopter in their parenting approach -- not that there was a term for it then -- and not the types who would let me be uncomfortable for even a second for the sake of learning a lesson.

I spent my junior year studying abroad in London. It was my first real time away from home -- and I flunked at life in every way imaginable. I ate yogurt for every meal, stayed out until all hours, failed to take advantage of the many positive, enlightening academic experiences that were at my fingertips, squandered a whole ton of money on crap, and (deservedly) wound up sick with walking pneumonia, which lingered for about two months. 

Granted, there are kids out there who are far more mature than I was -- who won't try and burn the house down when they're finally alone, just because they can.

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Regardless, the message we're sending to our children when we don't let them go is that we don't believe they are capable of handling the big, scary world on their own. It takes quite a few years for sheltered kids to realize that they are just as strong as everyone else and that they actually won't be eaten alive the minute the umbilical cord is cut. As parents, the best thing we can do is give them the opportunity to fail, succeed, and grill a cheese sandwich all by their lonesome.

Would you move to your child's college town so you could be closer to him or her?

 

Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr

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