Helicopter parents at work

by L

When Helicopter Parents Hover Even at Work

Have any Totebaggers seen younger workers’ parents in the workplace? Or is this another one of the NYT overblown or nonexistent trend stories?

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156 thoughts on “Helicopter parents at work

  1. That certainly isn’t a new accusation. I’ve seen plenty of anecdotes about it actually happening.

    I’m hovering on the edge, trying to get my kid started volunteering at a nursery one hour per week.

  2. I’ve never encountered this personally, and I’ve hired quite a few new grads over the years. Never has a parent contacted me in any way, nor has that happened to any of my peers.

    The new grads/20-somethings who have parents with corporate jobs definitely ask them for advice, and they will mention that both in passing (e.g., “my dad helped me pick out my health care plan”) or in reviews (e.g., “my mom said that I should put X in my self review). I don’t find either of these things odd or inappropriate though. DH & I both have asked for career advice from family members over the years.

    It does make me feel bad for those entry level employees who do not have parents or relatives who can provide advice. I think that’s one of the good things about formal and informal mentoring programs.

  3. I think using LaVar Ball as an example gets away from the point. He is building a business around his kids, and we can debate the merits of that all day, but it’s a completely separate thing than parents going with their kids to interviews and otherwise getting involved in their kids’ work lives.

    I don’t have any problem with recent grads, or anyone else, consulting their parents for advice. I did it quite a bit. But parents sending in resumes and wanting to sit in on interviews is over the line. People need to do those things for themselves.

  4. I think our college hire a few years ago brought his parents and sister to the company picnic. The policy about who constitutes “family members” for purposes of the company picnic is deliberately flexible. I thought it was neat that he wanted his family to meet his work colleagues.

  5. The only encounters in the work place have been when a parent called in sick for their child (the employee) in a serious situation that required hospitalization not the run-of-the-mill sick day. In this type of situation, either you would not hear from the employee at all or a relative or friend is going to be making that call.

    I agree with Ivy, if the parent has knowledge or experience in that area, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask their advice. I think the difference is whether the child is asking for guidance or asking the parent to make the decision. For example, walking the child through the pros and cons of different health care plans is different from telling them to select plan 1.

  6. Ugh don’t get me started on Lavar Ball….I was so hoping his son wouldn’t go to the Lakers just so I’d have to stop hearing about him.

  7. Sports is a unique business of its own. The amount of money, access to people/places/things, and attention placed on everything you do “at work” and in your private life would be hard on any young adult. It seems that they are always relying on someone for advice, the question is just who.

  8. AustinMom-oh it really is. I remember when Khloe got with Lamar she said he was paying 50 cell phone bills. All of the ‘friends and cousins’ come out of the woodwork and it’s really important they have someone there to help guide them. Same with entertainment. I cannot tell you the amount of child stars that really got royally screwed by the people in their lives.

  9. I come from a culture with hovering parents but none so far that I know has attended a job interview with their child. Schools had strict rules on parents being inside the building during class times, so no parents were allowed in, even for the pre schoolers.
    Over time, most parental relationships evolve to an advisor/consultant role. It does take a while and push and pull but it does happen, you can still be close but they are not in your business.

  10. Ivy, I think it’s wonderful if parents provide kids with that kind of advice. That’s been a motivation for me to learn about the financial stuff others here learned as young adults–I want to be able to talk with my son about his decisions. I think my parents were assuming that since their parents hadn’t been able to help them, they didn’t need to answer questions for us either. There may also have been an assumption that that’s not a woman’s role. It was my mom who told me not to save for retirement or my baby’s college (with Dad on the line, agreeing), and she still says she doesn’t know what their investments are.

  11. ITA with DD — LaVar Ball is a different animal entirely. Helicopter parents intervene inappropriately out of a desire to help their kids do well. Mr. Ball, OTOH, is using his kids to build his own business opportunitites and wealth. He seems much more aligned with the stage moms of yore who supported themselves off their kids’ earnings.

    Same thing on the other end of the spectrum with kids turning to parents for advice, or parents being interested in seeing the kids’ workplace — heck, my own mom came by to see my office here, and I am most definitely not a Millennial, and she is most definitely not a helicopter mom.

    We haven’t seen any “real” helicoptering along the lines of the incidents mentioned in that article (e.g., setting up/attending the kids’ interviews). Then again, that would seem to be the safest way to ensure that your kid did *not* get a job with us, as we are looking for mature self-starters. But I wonder how much of this is just overplayed, people trying to make a “trend” out of a few incidents. There have always been and will always be boundary-challenged parents; maybe we just hear more about them thanks to the ubiquitous presence of the internet.

  12. At my workplace there have been several incidences of parents trying to play a role in the interview – parents calling on behalf of child to reschedule interviews, parents trying to be on the phone during a phone interview, interviewee texting with mom during a face to face interview. We’ve had difficulty filling the entry level jobs with motivated self-starters.

  13. Nothing in that article or anything I can remember seeing indicates this is a trend with notable increases in helicoptering at work. However, I recently saw these numbers that indicate millennials are not behaving in ways that “adults” have in the past.

     

    More 30-year-olds haven’t hit major adult milestones
    Percentage of 30-year-olds who were/are living these realities
    1975 2015
    Live on their own 90% 70%
    Have ever married 89% 57%
    Live with a child 76% 47%
    Own a home 56% 33%
    Source: Census Bureau

     

  14. My DD#1 said that several people brought their parents to the internship orientation. She said the moderator asked them all to leave. I think it likely had more to do with the fact that the parents drove the kids to the downtown location and then didn’t know what to do with themselves. I drove DD#1 down there, dropped her off outside the building and had her ride the bus close to home where I picked her up. NO WAY was I going back downtown to pick her up at 5 pm. Her work hours are 10-2 to a different downtown location. She’s not thrilled with the drive, but it isn’t full on rush hour.

  15. I remember when my son was going to alumni interviews during college applications I often would drive him to the location but drop him off a few blocks away or do other things to make it appear that I was not involved in getting him to his interviews. OTOH, many college application/admission events wholeheartedly welcome and provide special activities for parents. College “parent orientations” for new students were not common until recently.

  16. July – The only one of those that concerns me is “live on their own”, which I take to mean not with parents or in a dorm, but could include renting with roommates.

    I wonder if more women going to college has decreased the “have ever married” and “live with a child” rates. If you are graduating at ages 22 – 24, not being married or having a child before 30 than if you entered the work world right after high school.

  17. ‘The only one of those that concerns me is “live on their own”’ — Me, too. It seems to indicate prolonged dependence on parents, which could be consistent with the so-called trend from the OP.

  18. I wonder if more women going to college has decreased the “have ever married” and “live with a child” rates.

    IIRC the % going to college in 1975 was the same as today. However, in 1975 there were a lot more men in college as they could defer being drafted*. So that could have a lot to do with it.

    * pullout ’73, fall of Saigon ’75, last draft lottery ’75.

  19. There are variations to the live on your own. One young woman I know is buying a new house with her parents. They live in separate wings. This is an Asian American family. In addition to the millennial angle, there is also a shift in the numbers of people from cultures where living with parents or other family in not uncommon.

  20. Was anyone else seeing “Thoth-Amon” in place of helicopter parents in the original title, subsequently replaced? And an LfB comment and a July comment had Thoth-Amon and snake people respectively in place of parents. Has one of my kids put a weird extension in my Chrome, i.e. is it just me?

  21. And Louise’s comment just showed as

    In addition to the snake person angle, there is also a shift in the numbers of people from cultures where living with parents or other family in not uncommon.

    I’ll interrogate my kids.

  22. The weird thing is that most of the comments do just say “parents” so clearly this isn’t a universal replacement like some others that have turned up in the past.

  23. Mwah-hah-hah-hah-hah. But where did Thoth-Amon come from?? Are your kids writing their own extensions now?

  24. My suspicion is that the kids who are living at home at 30 are not the kids of overprotective helicopter parents. Helicopter parents are making damn sure their kid gets a decent job at 22, going to grad school, and probably helping them get their first house/apartment (financially or otherwise).

    The normal pattern for the new grads that I work with is to live at home for 6-12 months after getting first “real” job and then moving into an apartment – usually with roommates. A few lucky ones buy condos, partially financed by parents, and maybe rent out a bedroom to a friend.

    My guess is that the failure to launch 30 year olds are a whole different group.

    Of course, there are some exceptions, especially culturally. An Indian guy who worked for me a few years back bought a house for his family & brought his parents over from India when they retired to live with him & his younger brother who was in pharmacy school. But I don’t think he would fit the first criteria anyway.

  25. July, my undergrad had a parent orientation. We were together most of the weekend, but there were a few sessions where students & parents were separated. The university made a big deal of being “in loco parentis”

  26. HM – that’s hilarious! A great April Fool’s Day prank that would keep on giving (provided that the user couldn’t figure it out).

    From the article:
    ““Who do you need to talk to before you make a decision?” They do so to avoid any last-minute blowups when an offer does come. “For millennials, at least those who have graduated in the past five years, 80 percent of the time it’s parents, versus friends or a mentor,” she said.”

    During those 5 years, I talked with my parents before I made a decision, more so than mentors. And really not my friends. My parents had more knowledge of the workforce than either mentor or friends, so why not use them? They helped me with negotiating and benefits packages that come with job offers. I must have skipped the class in college when they went over those life skills.

    When I was near graduation, my dad handed out my resume for me at a small business conference in NJ. I knew he was doing it, but never got any calls and never expected to. Neither did he. But I applied for a job at a small consulting firm. The second I walked into the interview (having forgotten about my dad’s efforts), the president remarked that he was glad I applied, like he had seen my resume before… So, apparently that effort by my dad plus the information on my resume got me that interview. I don’t think that was a helicopter move. My dad was using his network to build mine.

  27. Those “life events” are closely tied, or likely were in the earlier era. The pill was new enough then that young women couldn’t count on a decade on their own before children & marriage. Wasn’t it difficult for unmarried women to get at first?

  28. “““Who do you need to talk to before you make a decision?” They do so to avoid any last-minute blowups when an offer does come.”

    What sort of blowups are they envisioning? And is one answer, like spouse, more correct than another? How about Jesus?

  29. HM, awesome! I did a few chioce replacements on my kid’s phone one April Fools. He’s never really gotten me back.

  30. Rhett, in 1975, only about half of high school graduates enrolled in college. Today, it’s closer to 70%.

  31. “My dad was using his network to build mine.”

    Oh I think leveraging the network of your relatives is normal & expected. It’s also another advantage of UMCish types. I didn’t really have that for myself, but now that I see how the corporate world works, I will definitely use my network to the advantage of friends/family. (I already have in some cases.)

  32. “What sort of blowups are they envisioning? And is one answer, like spouse, more correct than another? How about Jesus?”

    Right. And wouldn’t it be weird to say your friends?? I need to discuss with my family seems normal (whether parents or spouse/kids). But isn’t that implied? Companies don’t force you to accept a job on the spot.

  33. I wonder if the author needed a good quote to seal the article and chose that one. It works for the thesis of the article, but is really weird when you dissect like we are.

    I think if anyone asks me for a decision, I may be inclined to say that I need to discuss it with Scruffy, my dog, and Mr. Halifax, who lives in my thumb.

  34. And wouldn’t it be weird to say your friends??

    Why would that be weird?

    A few lucky ones buy condos, partially financed by parents, and maybe rent out a bedroom to a friend.

    Is the condo buying the lucky part of the parental help? One reason for the lower home ownership rate is folks realized that starter condos in your 20s only makes sense during a period of above trend appreciation in real estate.

  35. Rhett, your comment made me think about how real estate appreciation in high COLA contributes to differences in wealth by area. When my sister bought her house in Michigan, after a few years of renting, she observed that in other places, people bought a house to avoid constantly increasing rents or because home ownership was a good investment. In Michigan, you buy a house “because you want to own a house… knowing it may be hard to sell.”

  36. real estate appreciation in high COLA

    I was reading an article about Aetna moving from Hartford to NYC. They mentioned a bunch of companies are moving to more urban areas – GE moving from suburban CT to Boston for example and it’s hammering the CT economy. They mentioned it’s so bad that nominal home prices in CT are back to where they were in 2003. So it’s not only low COLA that can get stung.

  37. I think I may have shared this on an earlier post, but I did have parents come to the office two times. It was a long time ago before helicopter parents were a trend. The first time was in the mid 90s, and I managed a guy that was doing a rotation with my team. He was in a bank training program. His parents were visiting from out of state, and they wanted to meet me, see the office etc. They even invited me to a family party on the weekend at his apartment, and I went because I was still living in the city, in my 20s etc. They were just nervous about NYC, and I think they felt a lot better after they met everyone in the office.

    The second time was not as fun. A mom actually called me about a poor performance review for her son. I think it was around the same time; late 90s. She was said that he didn’t deserve some of the ratings, and she wanted to talk to me about it. I think my boss called the mom back and explained that we can’t speak to parents….just employees!

    I met lots of parents of colleagues at weddings. I managed a lot of younger people during my time at various banks and I guess they thought it was the right thing to do to invite their manager. It wa nice to be included, but it gets more challenging to maintain a professional relationship when you know the spouse, parents etc.

  38. In my area younger people with steady jobs buy a first house even if they are single. Condos in a building are not popular with younger people. Townhouse style condos are preferred (I think). It’s just that there is a variety of housing options at different price points so it’s not a progression from sharing, to own rental, to condo, to a house.

  39. S&M – I have no idea if parents are driving them daily. The city hired about 175 interns accross the city in various departments that are also somewhat scattered across the city. The work hours also vary by department. My DD#1 technically has a “south” location as the river here is the demarcation of north and south and the southern boundary for downtown.

    She did find out Monday that the interns in her group will need to go to some other locations to complete the inventory they are working on. She doesn’t know how they are supposed to get there or when they are going. She is very aware that she can only take one non-family member under age 18 in the vehicle with her. It will be interesting to watch.

  40. Anybody sending their kid to Baylor? Watch out for the perverted little tarts.

    A former Baylor University regent referred to women whom he suspected of drinking alcohol as “insidious and inbred” and “perverted little tarts” in emails he sent to a faculty adviser. The 2009 messages from the then regent Neal (Buddy) Jones were included as exhibits in a Title IX lawsuit against the Baptist university. Mr. Jones emailed a Greek organization’s adviser with photos of undergraduates and prospective members drinking at one of the organization’s events. The 10 plaintiffs filing the suit, all of whom say they were assaulted at Baylor, attached the messages to show that the university’s alcohol policy shamed and silenced women on the campus. The messages are the latest in a continuing scandal since a 2016 sexual-assault investigation rocked Baylor and toppled its leaders.

  41. A number of single people buy houses here too. From friends I hear a few themes of what stops people in that age range from buying are (1) wanting the flexiblity to move for their job (either first job not in ideal location or just want to be able to jump on opportunities), (2) the house they want is not in their budget, especially those in high COLAs, and (3) want the first house to be something they do once they are married.

  42. I am on vacation and really happy that it is only 75 or so here every day. :)

    Haven’t seen any millenials’ parents anywhere near work. IIRC I wanted to show my parents my office when I first started working but didn’t bc I figured it would be weird.

  43. Housing is so expensive in Seattle that I know of a couple people who had good jobs but moved back in with their parents in order to save up enough money for a down payment. I’d be open to that if our kids wanted to do something like that.

    About 20 years ago, someone called my office irate that his son hadn’t been hired for a position. I’m still dumbfounded that a parent would do something like that.

  44. S&M – Update – DD#1 reports that at least parents of 2 interns in her group drive them to and from the internship. I guess I don’t qualify for the platinum level of helicoptering as mine would be riding the bus if she weren’t driving. It would be an hour each way instead of 30 minutes, but that is the same as it would be for me to make two round trips.

  45. “Companies don’t force you to accept a job on the spot.”
    I wondered about that too. What business of theirs is it who you want to talk to? Your cleaning help, financial advisors, pool guy and make-up artist could all be affected. When you reach a conclusion about the position, you’ll let HR know.

    L, I didn’t figure it would be weird to show my parents where I worked, think they came to most of my campus offices. The difference, of course, is that I had a key, they were there on the weekend, and just peeked around to get a feel for what my day to day was like. They actively avoided conversation with anyone else who happened to be around. I really would have liked them to come the last week of summer, the weekend before winter exams, and to conferences. That way my kid wouldn’t be thrust onto new caregivers so suddenly and so often. Not sure if that would count as helicoptering or not. It sure would have helped work-wise!

  46. Yeah, I would think that the “living at home” issue may be correlated with the fact that a lot of the job growth over the past, what, decade or so (?) has been in major metropolitan areas (the whole red/blue divide thing), and rents/homes in those areas are now ridiculously unaffordable on a starting salary. So, you know, if mom and dad moved to the Bay Area or NY or Seattle 15-20 years ago because there were good job prospects then,* and over the ensuing two decades the opportunities kept growing and people kept moving into town, you could easily see their kids graduating into a similarly good job market, but now with unaffordable housing prices because of all of the other folks who arrived in the interim.

    *We considered San Jose, Portland, Austin, and Boston a couple of times from @1995-2001, because of the many available jobs in DH’s field. And it’s not like the jobs have gone away or housing prices have gotten cheaper in those areas since then.

  47. Lauren’s story did remind me of my mom’s student this past semester, whose mom drove him everywhere and attended conferences with him. But in his case, I suspect there was some sort of medical or psychological issue involved.

  48. DS1 is Uber-ing to and from his summer job.

    Regarding the topic: I told DS that I would like to read over any legal documents that he is asked to sign at work before he signs them–I’m just afraid that he might be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement or a non-compete agreement in the future and want to make sure that the terms and circumstances are reasonable. Luckily, he’s still a minor at a summer internship, so these docs are less relevant.

  49. HR question here on who would you consult….are they skirting the law to try to find out if you are married? I mean if someone said spouse, you have given them that information, but they didn’t directly ask you your marital status. And, if the person just said family, it wouldn’t identify if it were parents or spouse.

  50. %age of 30yo who were/are living with a child went from 76% in 1975 to 47% in 2015.

    I wonder how much of this is due to an increase in one-child families, i.e., fewer 30yo had experience living with a child who happened to be a sibling.

  51. HM – your kids are hilarious

    Rhode – I love Mr. Halifax who lives in your thumb! Do you consult with him on most big decisions, then?

  52. “Companies don’t force you to accept a job on the spot.”

    Many interviewees have to consider their other offers.

  53. I wonder how much of this is due to an increase in one-child families, i.e., fewer 30yo had experience living with a child who happened to be a sibling.

    And increasing rooms/square footage per person. The Brady kids were sleeping three to a room 1969-74 and they had live-in help. Three to a room would obviously drive many to get out as soon as practicable.

  54. “There have always been and will always be boundary-challenged parents”

    Yes, but have the boundaries moved over time?

    I was just talking to some other parents about the current norm of accompanying kids at the start of college, helping them get settled into dorms, etc, and contrasting that to the norm BITD of dropping kids off at the airport.

    Similarly, a lot of parents accompany kids to accepted student events now, whereas BITD, it was much more normal for kids to see a campus for the first time when they arrived at the beginning of their first school years there.

    Perhaps part of this is me moving up from MC to UMC/totebagginess.

  55. “Three to a room would obviously drive many to get out as soon as practicable.”

    But that wouldn’t change their having lived with a child by the time they were 30.

  56. “And increasing room/square footage per person.” This makes a lot of difference. Think sharing a room with one or more siblings to dorm life with one or more roommates (back in the day) to graduating and choosing between sharing with a sibling or renting an apartment where you have your own bedroom. Now – own room at home, own bedroom (in many dorms); not much changes if you move back home.

  57. But that wouldn’t change their having lived with a child by the time they were 30.

    Are you taking “Live with a child” to mean live with any child rather than living with their own child – step, adopted, biological, etc?

  58. “Are you taking “Live with a child” to mean live with any child rather than living with their own child – step, adopted, biological, etc?”

    Yes. The table did not offer any such qualifications.

    I do tend to read things literally, but also to not assume such limitations. I consider that to be one of my strengths, which I think could’ve made me a good tax lawyer.

  59. “I was just talking to some other parents about the current norm of accompanying kids at the start of college, helping them get settled into dorms, etc, and contrasting that to the norm BITD of dropping kids off at the airport.

    Similarly, a lot of parents accompany kids to accepted student events now, whereas BITD, it was much more normal for kids to see a campus for the first time when they arrived at the beginning of their first school years there.”

    Well, way back in the stone ages (1984), my mom and stepdad drove me out to drop me off at college for the first time (though the “driving” aspect obviously not a possibility for you). And while I don’t specifically recall any accepted student events (this was before everyone wanted to top US News & World Reports), I definitely visited all of my options before deciding where to apply/attend.

    Not helicoptery, not UMC, just totebaggy.

  60. “Perhaps part of this is me moving up from MC to UMC/totebagginess.”

    I think it also comes down to fewer kids, more of the “only child syndrome” mentality (even when it’s not an only child, but let’s say two kids instead of 3/4). Also travel costs for parent orientations and the like are much lower, and you’re less likely to have a bunch of younger kids at home whom you don’t want to leave unsupervised.

    Finn, I don’t think that siblings in childhood counted as part of that “lived with a child” stat, but I didn’t really understand that question, either.

  61. BITD – On campus housing was tight. I didn’t realize that I would have needed to apply spring of my JUNIOR year of HS to be far enough down on the waitlist to get in by fall of my FRESHMAN year of college. Even off campus housing was tight – we put down a deposit on an apartment in March with no guarantee we’d have housing in August. Thankfully, we did.

    We were moving furniture so we took 2 vehicles – one pulling the uhaul. Mom helped me get moved in, spent the night (5 hour drive from home), and went home the next day.

    If DD#1 is in a dorm, I think she could fit everything in her car if she is going to school in state. If she has to fly, there would be extra baggage or shipping fees. If she is in an apartment, we may need a uhaul and her car can’t pull one. We would need two vehicles. Either way, if she wants me to go with her for the first move in, I’ll go. If she wants to handle it on her own, I’m good with that too.

  62. From what I can tell it could be any child in the household, your own or a sibling or something else. The census data was compile by Trulia.

    Children: All Census Bureau demographic surveys collect information about children living in the household. The information collected varies. For more information about the main surveys and the unique aspects of each data source, visit the Data section.

    Here’s the source of that chart.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-charts-that-prove-that-todays-30-year-olds-are-not-adults-2016-06-30

  63. All the possible reasons mentioned for fewer 30 yos living on their own make sense. More years in college and more college debt could also factor in.

  64. “If she wants to handle it on her own, I’m good with that too.”

    Oh, I am totally NOT good with that. No no no. I am going, I am seeing her settled into her new place, I am walking the routes she will take to class, to the student union, whatever, so I can have a mental image of her days.

    Just because I need to let her go doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  65. Looks like Finn was right:

    Living with a child: Living in a
    household that includes someone
    under the age of 18. Ideally,
    this report would use fertility
    data to see whether respondents
    had ever become parents, but
    those data are not available in
    the CPS. In the 1975 data, it is
    also difficult to identify parents
    and children in cases where the
    parent is not the householder
    (i.e., identifying subfamilies in
    someone else’s household). As a
    result, the study uses a recode
    variable that indicates the presence
    of children under the age
    of 18 in the household, which
    is available for both 1975 and
    2016, so that the estimates are
    directly comparable across time.

    https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/demo/p20-579.pdf

  66. “From what I can tell it could be any child in the household, your own or a sibling or something else.”

    E.g., the biological offspring of an unrelated roommate/housemate.

  67. “E.g., the biological offspring of an unrelated roommate/housemate.”

    Or the child of a landlord from which the 30yo had rented a room.

  68. “All the possible reasons mentioned for fewer 30 yos living on their own make sense. More years in college and more college debt could also factor in.”

    Perhaps also bigger basements and better video game systems?

  69. At first I thought the census quote Rhett posted was a poem. If you try reading it with feeling and pauses and lots of imagination, it’s quite moving. ;) The title is “Living with a child”.

  70. At least from what I’ve seen in movies and on TV, it seemed like the rough equivalent of dropping college-bound kids off at the airport was often helping them load a car and waving to them as they drove off.

    Perhaps they found someone to carpool with. Isn’t that how When Harry Met Sally started?

  71. “From what I can tell it could be any child in the household, your own or a sibling or something else”

    I wonder why they think that’s relevant to being an adult. Like, you’re more of an adult if you had a sibling?

  72. Like, you’re more of an adult if you had a sibling?

    A 30 year old with a minor at home would tend to be a parent but the data only hints at that due to limitations of the data.

  73. My guess is that whoever assembled the table that July posted either assumed “Live with child” meant something specific that is not consistent with the data, or understood that it did not mean that, but included that information anyway in an attempt to make an assertion look better.

  74. I went to a large state university. Nearly everyone was driven to college by their parents and siblings. Very few students had their own cars, and freshmen were not allowed to have them.

  75. I am walking the routes she will take to class, to the student union, whatever, so I can have a mental image of her days.

    LfB – just get a drone to hover above her and send you a live feed everyday. Your DD, can smile and say Hi Mom to her eye in the sky ;-).

  76. Back in 1995, my college included the parents in orientation. And both of my parents drove me to school, helped me move in to my dorm and stayed the night in a hotel before driving back the next day. When they did the same with my older siblings, I had a party while they were gone. I assume my younger siblings followed suit.

  77. I was just talking to some other parents about the current norm of accompanying kids at the start of college, helping them get settled into dorms, etc, and contrasting that to the norm BITD of dropping kids off at the airport.

    There is absolutely nothing new about this. I’m guessing dropping kids at the airport was only a norm because of your location. When I was in college BITD just about everyone’s parents took them at the start of freshman year (and often subsequent years) and helped with the settling.

  78. Similarly, a lot of parents accompany kids to accepted student events now, whereas BITD, it was much more normal for kids to see a campus for the first time when they arrived at the beginning of their first school years there.

    Again, likely a function of your location. I knew very few people back then who hadn’t visited the school they ultimately attended.

  79. freshmen were not allowed to have them.

    They can’t stop freshman from having cars. They can prohibit them from parking on campus, but there’s nothing stopping a kid from bringing a car and parking it off-campus.

  80. My public university had 15k+ undergrads and was very much as SD and Scarlett describe. First year students were required to live in dorms and not permitted to have cars. There were more students than permanent residents in the town. I am not aware of any off-campus parking spots for students living in dorms. There was parking at the stadium for people living on-campus, but that was limited and of course cars had to be moved for home games. It was a long enough walk that you wouldn’t do it just to be able to zip around town, but if you had a reason to go home frequently, you’d get a permit.

  81. DD, good point but freshmen were also required to live on campus and there was really no lot or other spot for them to park a car off campus.

  82. When I was hired (30+ years ago) I had to make the decision to accept or reject the job offer right then. I knew that going into the final interview, so I was ready – of course I was going to take it! It was almost graduation and I needed a job.

  83. Ris- I consult him for everything. He’s very intelligent. I respect his decision.

    :)

  84. As I have said many times, our students suffer from not enough parental helicoptering, so this would not be something I would encounter. Certainly, it has been the case since time immemorial that parents with money and power help their kids find internships and first jobs. Think of d’Artagnan’s letter of recommedation from his father in the Three Musketeers.

  85. At age 30, I had never “lived on my own”, but I hadn’t lived with my parents since I was 17. I don’t like to live alone so I had always had roomates or lived in university housing.

    I was miles from home ownership at age 30.

    My husband, too, would have answered no on all those questions. He lived with his parents for a few years after getting his undergrad degree, then lived with a roommate, and then ended up in grad housing (which at our university was not “living on your own”!)

  86. Even back when I went to college, parents always helped their kids move in. Only the international students from places like Korea had to move in themselves, and usually all the Korean students helped each other.

  87. In 1976 my parents drove me to college. We jointly unloaded the car and then we said goodbye. I moved my stuff upstairs into my room. (I also ran into a girl I had had a crush on from about 5th-7th grades when my family moved away; she was also moving into her room a couple of floors above mine. We became immediate friends again.)

  88. I got on a plane and got off solo to go to college, as did 2 of my kids. I was able to take my youngest for freshman year by combining with a business trip. The eldest went to in state flagship, so he was driven by a parent. There was no consultation on anything that did not involve financial outlay or logistics. A phone call every few weeks and snail mail except for the youngest. No cell phones, of course. I still think of 16 as the age at which the day to day changes from parental decision making to steering and 21 or 22 as the point at which the financial responsibility turns from support to back up or disaster avoidance.

  89. “perverted little tarts.”

    Clearly this is the name of my future rock band.

    “I still think of 16 as the age at which the day to day changes from parental decision making to steering and 21 or 22 as the point at which the financial responsibility turns from support to back up or disaster avoidance.”

    That’s a helpful way of putting it. The first part is certainly consistent with my experience so far — I realized this spring exactly how independent DD is now, more likely to consult me to vent or for guidance, but basically handling the day-to-day herself. Awesome.

  90. If I were to try to piece together the history of family involvement at my alma mater, it would show an evolution from a time long ago when most parents kissed their sons goodbye and wished them well from their hometown rail station with hopes to maybe see them at Christmas, to now (including My Day), which involved an elaborately orchestrated production where you arrive in your designated 15-minute window, say goodbye to your parents and enter the long, snaking line through Alumni Hall (sports arena) to not emerge from the other side for about four hours, uniformed, bald, and in terrified shock, at which point you’re rapidly bussed to the dorms. In the meantime, there are all sorts of talks and picnics for the parents and families to attend, and all this goes on until about 5 pm when the whole Class takes their oath of office in a quick ceremony, after which you get about 20 minutes to say goodbye to your family for the final time — meet under the letter corresponding to your last name — and that’s it.

    But at some point between the real old days and now, they added a Parents’ Weekend at the end of the summer, and from what I’ve read about experiences in the 1970s (there’s no shortage of alumni who want to write about their experiences), it seemed that a lot of middle-class families in that era decided that it made more sense to stay home for the initial send-off, and instead plan to be there for Parents’ Weekend in the middle of August.

    Then, by the late 1990s, it was de rigueur that the vast majority would be there for everything. The only exceptions would be for those 10% or so of students who came out of the enlisted ranks, whose parents are typically less Totebaggy, less well-off, and more practically figure that their kids have already been out of the house for a few years, anyway, this is just one more duty station.

  91. “I still think of 16 as the age at which the day to day changes from parental decision making to steering and 21 or 22 as the point at which the financial responsibility turns from support to back up or disaster avoidance.”

    Thanks for this Meme. Very helpful.

  92. Milo, I found it interesting that a similar process took place at your alma mater’s summer camp. They actually had a small program when parents dropped off their kids and a much more detailed program when parents picked their kids up (from a week long summer camp). We drove DS to the airport and picked him up from the airport.

  93. Similarly, I told DS that I wasn’t showing up for parent’s weekend in his freshman year. We will drive down to celebrate DH’s 50th birthday and DS’ 18th birthday, so we will have plenty of face time.

  94. When I left the home country to attend grad school here, I was a bit older than most undergraduates but not by much. My roommate in her senior year was the same age as me.
    Leaving home never struck me but the first night alone in the dorm, with hardly anyone moved in, made me realize that I was all on my own in a strange country thousands of miles from home. I took a shower, went to bed. The next day I woke up and having been pointed out the small cafe that was open, got breakfast. Registering for classes, figuring out which building houses what and walking to the store to buy a few things took up the next few days. I had to figure out how to type my papers on a computer. That was steep learning curve with many hours spent in the computer lab.

  95. “Milo, I found it interesting that a similar process took place at your alma mater’s summer camp.”

    Yeah, I didn’t know that. I never did the camp. But I know a lot of people probably think of it as a preview of what’s to come, so they take it very seriously.

    Not only did we have freshman parents’ weekend at the end of the summer, but we had senior parents’ weekend in early September, during which your parents spend the day with you on Friday and attend all your classes. Mine, of course, loved that aspect of it. Some professors put together an interesting presentation for that class period that relates their areas of study to a general interest level, kind of like an extended NPR interview, some do a little bit of that, but it also becomes reminiscent of a grade school back to school night where they go over the class syllabus and major topics, and some treat the class totally as business-as-usual.

  96. And it looks like they’ve since changed Senior Parents’ Weekend to Junior Parents’ Weekend.

  97. “I still think of 16 as the age at which the day to day changes from parental decision making to steering and 21 or 22 as the point at which the financial responsibility turns from support to back up or disaster avoidance.”

    This is the path we’ve been on. But, last week DD#1 has been in need of lots of hugs (which hasn’t been true for a while) and wanting more help with managing the day-to-day to do list. Granted day-to-day this summer is a lot of “new” stuff – college essays, scheduling the college visits for next month, GS award project. The regular day-to-day like laundry, getting to work, arranging a visit from a friend is being handled like clock work.

  98. Milo – at your alma mater, the school can probably give the parents a minute by minute schedule of where their child is going to be, so the need for hovering probably doesn’t arise :-).

  99. I removed the extensions so everything looks normal this morning — almost disappointingly so. Also, my daughter says hi.

  100. Very interesting announcement by Volvo yesterday. We actually looked at Teslas last year for DH, but decided against one since there is no dealer in our town for service purposes. But if Volvo is aggressively pursuing the electric option, that would be great. My XC90 was one of my favorite cars – just too small for the stage of life I was/am in.

  101. Louise, you have guts. I am not sure that I would have been able to feel comfortable doing the same.

    I wonder if kids still get as homesick because it’s so easy to keep in touch now.

  102. Sorry I missed this topic! Just last week, a DC friend told me a story about a young woman he had extended a job offer to who contacted him and said “can my dad call you to talk about the salary and benefits?” Rather than give her his cell number for the father, he rescinded the offer.

  103. “we are really becoming the second premium carmaker in the world which will be … also electrified.”

    all-new-volvo-models-will-be-electric-or-hybrid-starting-in-2019

    Volvo seems rather presumptuous, imo, to be comparing themselves so closely with Tesla. There’s a wide gulf between their term “electrified” that will consist mostly of hybrid-electric powertrains and a car line that is all-electric.

    I think they’re betting on a lot of people not appreciating the distinction, or simply not caring. Because it’s not exactly difficult to slap an additional electric motor on a gas-powered, two-ton SUV and charge $50k for it.

  104. ^^fixing their mediocre reliability, now that would be something a little more impressive from Volvo.

  105. Every brand has hybrids now. Volvo has such a small lineup, anyway, (no pickup, no real SUV, no van) and they already charge a hefty premium, so the added cost of an electric motor is not really significant, especially when it allows them to use smaller turbocharged four-cylinders across (most?) of their lineup.

    I’m impressed by things like the new Elantra, which I had as a rental not too long ago. It drives very nicely, even feels sporty. It costs about $18k, and gets 40 mpg highway, and 35 mpg calculated overall in my mostly city/traffic driving. That’s amazing.

    Anyone can make a nice car for $45k or $50k.

  106. Becky, wow. Awesome example of why this generation is different than my generation.

    It’s so interesting to travel and see the differences in car choices. It’s tough to drive for even 5 minutes in northern NYC burbs without seeing a Subaru. I’ve seen one here in a week. Many more white cars of every make and model.

    The heat is starting to get to me. 109 according to the real feel. I can’t wait to go back to lower humidity!

  107. “not emerge from the other side for about four hours, uniformed, bald, and in terrified shock”

    Does this apply to both males and females?

  108. It seems like Tesla isn’t going to be able to meet its production goals, so probably smart of Volvo to try to pick up some of the people who won’t be able to get their Teslas.

  109. “A phone call every few weeks and snail mail”

    I remember the dorm pay phones (no cell phones, and the rooms weren’t wired for phone service) getting crowded at 11pm, when long-distance rates went down.

  110. I’m skeptical that a lot of people who can’t get Teslas will turn to Volvo.

  111. We went out to dinner (ok, bowling) last Friday, and there was a Tesla dealer in the mall. Damn, I like that car (especially after a few beers — bowling alley had Resurrection Ale on tap, which is my personal weakness, especially given the 2x alcohol content). The giganto map screen is awesome, and all you have to do is say “play ZZ Top ‘Nationwide'” and it goes. Good thing the car is way too big for me. But I told DH he had my permission to buy one when the Buick dies. ;-)

  112. “Does this apply to both males and females?”

    Except for the bald part. But on that day, they have to get their hair chopped off pretty short, maybe to just above the collar, iirc. And that’s arguably more traumatic than a guy getting his head shaved, and it will likely take longer to grow back to normal.

  113. I’m wondering how far those of you who dropped off your kids, or were dropped off, had to drive. E.g., were you in the same time zone?

    How far would you drive to drop your kids off at college? Would you drive from one coast to the other? Austin’s DD is looking at schools in New York; would you drive that far?

  114. “I’m skeptical that a lot of people who can’t get Teslas will turn to Volvo.”

    I’m not. I think it’s probably a good business move for them. They’re looking for a brand hook, similar to “every Subaru is AWD.” And if people can’t get their Tesla, then they’ll know that if they get a Volvo, their friends will instantly realize “every Volvo is ‘electrified’.”

    I also think there’s pressure from China for hybrid powertrains, and everyone wants to do business there.

  115. “Except for the bald part.”

    Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. No G.I. Jane, I guess.

    Do the females have a choice of hairstyle? I’m wondering what happens to females whose hairstyle coming in is already shorter than just above the collar.

  116. “I’m wondering how far those of you who dropped off your kids, or were dropped off, had to drive. E.g., were you in the same time zone?”

    MD to MN. We also drove to the various colleges I was looking at in MA.

    You will not be surprised to hear they made that trip with me only once. ;-)

  117. I guess nothing, same as if a guy comes in with it already shaved.

    And remember, this only happens the very first day. From then on, you can grow it out to whatever you want within the normal regulations of the service (with the exception of moustaches.)

    They’re generally interested in their students looking reasonably attractive again; they don’t want a bunch of freaks.

  118. “And if people can’t get their Tesla, then they’ll know that if they get a Volvo”

    I know several people with Teslas, and I don’t think they were looking for electric cars and decided on Tesla.

    Generally, the people I know who were looking for electric cars bought Leafs. For those who bought Teslas, being electric was only part of the decision basis.

  119. “Generally, the people I know who were looking for electric cars bought Leafs.”

    That’s because the people you know are middle class engineers, and Leaf is a much better value.

  120. “From then on, you can grow it out to whatever you want within the normal regulations of the service (with the exception of moustaches.)”

    Beards OK? Sideburns?

  121. The Tesla people I know wanted the cachet of the Tesla. So a Leaf isn’t going to cut it. Maybe Volvo can create a similar cachet with its electrified stuff. Who knows. By no way is Tesla going to meet its production orders for the new, cheaper car. So, some (most?) of those people will turn to something. I would think an electrified BMW 3 series would be a likely contender. But maybe a Volvo.

  122. “the people you know are middle class engineers”

    Hmm, we’ve had a number of discussions here about whether those in economic circumstances similar to mine (and, presumably, yours) are middle class.

    A couple of the Tesla owners I know are techie types (I don’t know if they actually have engineering degrees or licenses). Another has an EE degree but became an MD.

  123. ” Maybe Volvo can create a similar cachet with its electrified stuff.”

    That is largely the basis of my skepticism.

  124. the Navy at large doesn’t allow beards or sideburns (no lower than that little point of the triangle on your ear, again, iirc, and I don’t even know why I remember this because I can barely grow much facial hair, anyway). But the Navy does allow mustaches, I think as long as they don’t extend past the edges of the mouth. The Academy does not.

  125. “Hmm, we’ve had a number of discussions here about whether those in economic circumstances similar to mine (and, presumably, yours) are middle class. ”

    Call it whatever you want, but people in our economic circumstances are not buying $80k cars. A Leaf, sure. Even MMM bought a Leaf.

  126. “all you have to do is say “play ZZ Top ‘Nationwide’” and it goes.”

    You don’t need a Tesla for that. My new Chevy does the same thing. ;)

  127. “But the Navy does allow mustaches”

    OK. I read your earlier post as that, with the exception of moustaches, hair could be grown out. When you specifically mentioned moustaches, I assumed that meant that extended to facial hair in general.

    “play ZZ Top ‘Nationwide’”

    Interesting how ZZ Top came up in a discussion of facial hair.

  128. “Call it whatever you want, but people in our economic circumstances are not buying $80k cars.”

    Yeah, those in similar income brackets buying $80k cars don’t have kids. That’s one year of college expense.

  129. Also, Finn, although I think the range of the Leaf is about half that of the Tesla, that’s presumably less of a concern on Oahu. Also, Google says you’re paying $3.75 per gallon for gasoline (Holy crap!!!). That definitely pushes the math in favor of a basic electric car for even the most objective and rational analysts. And you don’t have any temperature extremes that would adversely affect battery life or capacity.

  130. “You don’t need a Tesla for that.” My 72 yo father showed me how to do it on my car. Apparently his non-Tesla (and mine!) does the same thing.

  131. Aren’t you just talking to your phone through the Bluetooth mic and telling it to access Spotify?

  132. For pure plug-in electrics, what I see on the roads here are mostly Teslas and Leafs, and not much else (I do see an occasional BMW i3). I would think that there’s a market for something in between, perhaps something a bit roomier than the Leaf.

    I think Volvo might have a better chance filling that gap than competing directly with Tesla.

  133. Yeah, well, DD told me afterwards that I don’t actually even require a car to do that, as my phone will do it if I ask Siri. But it was much cooler sitting in Kitt the Talking Car.

  134. “Google says you’re paying $3.75 per gallon for gasoline”

    No, we buy gas at Costco. It’s about $2.60/gallon now. Fred might be paying $3.75.

    “That definitely pushes the math in favor of a basic electric car”

    OTOH, electricity costs about $0.35/kwh.

    A lot of folks who bought electric cars also have large PV arrays on their roofs. The problem is that the cars are often away from home during the day.

  135. Milo – what my dad shows me wasn’t that. No phone and no spotify. It was through the car directly. I will have to ask him to show me again the next time I see him.

  136. “OTOH, electricity costs about $0.35/kwh. ”

    Yeah, and that’s 3.5 times what I’m paying, but if all else is equal*, I assume that’s still a lot more efficient than an individual internal combustion engine.

    *all else is not equal, obviously, as the acquisition cost is much higher. And in a couple years, the federal tax rebates are going to expire, and I don’t expect them to be renewed.

  137. “It was through the car directly.”

    is the music stored in the car, or does it have its own 4G data plan?

  138. Must be stored in the car? No way would my dad pay for a data plan for his car and it isn’t new, so no free trial.

  139. I’m wondering how far those of you who dropped off your kids, or were dropped off, had to drive. E.g., were you in the same time zone?

    My drive was about 15 hours.

  140. Yes, 15 hours one way. My mom dropped me off and picked me up at the start and end of my freshman and sophomore years. I stayed on campus the summers after my third and fourth years (I did the five year plan).

  141. DS’ top choices as of now are 7, 13, and 20 hours away, and absolutely we will drive him.

  142. Wow.

    I suppose if there were some school we could get to by driving 15 hours, we might consider a Griswold-type trip to drop off a kid, but after the first time, we’d definitely encourage, and probably underwrite, a plane flight home.

    OTOH, it probably costs a lot less than what we would pay for a pair of RT plane tickets and a one-way ticket to where DS is going to school.

  143. I also considered Notre Dame. I guess we would have driven out to move my stuff in, but perhaps I’d have flown back and forth otherwise.

    For the tour, my dad and I flew to Chicago and visited Northwestern on the same trip. He fell in love with Northwestern; I think he wanted to start a second undergraduate degree at 48.

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