helicopter yellow no rites

College President Tells Parents: Your Kids Really Can Handle Doing Laundry!

Forgive the long quote coming up, but it is instructive. (And crazy!)

The President of Hamilton College, David Wippman, and his colleague, Cornell American Studies Prof. Glenn C. Altschuler, have somehow been peeking in on the discussions parents are having online about their young adults now matriculated at university.

These Facebook group discussions may or may not sometimes be about whether the philosophy department is leaning too deconstructionist, or even whether anyone is driving to the school and can squeeze in an extra passenger. But one thing the discussions most certainly are about is…laundry. As Wippman and Altschuler note in a recent article in The Hill, this includes parental discussions of:

“…the number and location of washing machines and dryers in each residence hall, whether machines are top or front loading, the best dryer settings, whether high-efficiency detergent should be used, room dimensions and setup (including floor plans, diagrams and photos), bed height, sheet size, mattress toppers, dresser capacity, the utility of bed risers and stackable bins, bike storage, rug size, window size, lighting, cleaning supplies, acceptable wall hangings, the advisability of air purifiers, refrigerators, televisions, microwaves, printers, and fans, and, by the parent of a tall student, the height of shower heads in the bathroom.”

It’s easy to laugh at these parents, but clearly if folks feel no compunctions about this kind of granular assistance, it’s the culture that is off, not individual moms and dads. Even the fact that it is perfectly normal for parents of college students to join discussion groups about their kids’ experience has normalized the idea that these young men and women are still children in need of a whole lot of care and feeding, albeit from afar.

It’s a culture that has been undermining kids by underestimating them the whole way up.

So: That’s what I discuss today over at Let Grow, including what it’s doing to our kids. Please come join me there by clicking here!

2 Responses to College President Tells Parents: Your Kids Really Can Handle Doing Laundry!

  1. Mark Headley August 19, 2022 at 5:05 pm #

    Strikes me not only have these parents failed to bring up their children into adulthood: The parents seemingly don’t even aspire to raise kids capably independent. Nor does the college.

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with fears that the world has become a more dangerous place — fueled by cyberspace, technology. I.e. what often bears the blame for helicoptering run amok.

    These parents simply want to go on helicoptering, no? Placating their fears of independent children, of independent young ADULTS whose lives don’t revolve so around their parents, and vice versa

    So we have colleges promising they’ll help stifle students’ independence? Could Hamilton really be unique?


  2. Daniel Meyers August 21, 2022 at 11:47 am #

    First, I don’t see anything wrong with parents sending their children to college and continuing to care for them, that’s first. Second, I think the college president uses a little more irony in his remarks than is necessary. And third, as someone who interacts with students very often because of my job, I work for an online company that helps students write my paper on https://writemypapers4me.net/ . So, what I want to say, what really needs to be addressed, is the problem of the lack of free time for first-year students. This is the reason they turn to companies like the one I work for.