Thursday, March 09, 2006

2254 Might be time to let go?

My children will tell you I was a hovermother--the eyes in the back of my head were on rotating antennae 24/7. I was everywhere at once. Our lives all would have been more peaceful if I'd just relaxed a bit (just as my mother told me). But I was in the novice tadpole class according to Sam Schulman's recent article "Letting Go." I'd be no match for today's parents--from the doorstep of the school to gymnastics, soccer, karate, piano, and dance. Tethered with cellphones, e-mail, text messaging? Sam reports that some college students are in touch with their parents by cellphone as many as 15 times a day.

"Yes, parents impart values. But values come from other useful sources, too. Hovering parents undermine the influence not only of other institutions like schools and churches but of peers. Being picked for a sports team, facing the first day at school or at a job, learning to handle the ups and downs of courtship, enduring the apprenticeship of almost any career--these are not only signs that our children are becoming independent adults, but acts of initiation that take them out of the family embrace and into the wider world.

The seemingly obvious notion that kids need to be left alone sometimes if they are to grow up has been so lost that more than one American university has been forced to station security guards outside freshmen orientation sessions to keep anxious parents out. There are no reports, encouragingly, of freshmen on the other side trying to pull their parents in."

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