If you get a chance, take a look at Lori Gottlieb’s “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” in the July/August Atlantic.
An example of what you’ll find:
“There’s a difference between being loved and constantly monitored,” Dan Kindlon, author of “Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age,” told me. And yet, he admitted, even he struggles.
“I’m about to become an empty-nester,” he said, “and sometimes I feel like I’d burn my kids’ college applications just to have somebody to hang around with. We have less community nowadays – we’re more isolated as adults, more people are divorced – and we genuinely like spending time with our kids.
We hope they’ll think of us as their best friends, which is different from parents who wanted their kids to appreciate them, but didn’t need them to be their pals. But many of us text with our kids several times a day, and would miss it if it didn’t happen.”
All of this may explain why universities have come up with strategies to help parents separate from their children. The University of Vermont, for example, has “parent bouncers” and other universities are creating “deans of parents.” At the University of Chicago, they have created a second bagpipe processional at the end of orientation, in order to get the parents to march away from their offspring.