How Involved Do Kids Need You To Be?

Not all freshmen embarking on their college career will succeed in earning their degree.

What are the differences between the ones who prevail and those who fall behind, and how much of a role does parental involvement play in that outcome? Many are of the belief that students see college as an opportunity to finally break free from the rules and restrictions of their youth. I recently read an article in Inside Higher Ed titled, Parental Involvement Wanted, which indicates the opposite. According to the article, a new study by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA reveals that plenty of college freshmen are actually happy with the amount of involvement their parents have. Surprisingly, some even want more.

While such numbers were higher across the board with minorities, Latino freshmen most widely reported wanting more parental involvement in their college endeavors. The automatic assumption of someone glancing at these numbers may be that minorities are not getting enough familial support. My thought is just the opposite. I believe a major strength among the Latino community is a strong family bond. Could it be that because of this strong foundation many students are feeling reverse empty nest syndrome? The transition to college is certainly a step into adulthood and can be scary. It would be very interesting to take the UCLA study a step further and look at the role that family dynamics play in these statistics.

Additional questions to consider:

What is the right balance between being involved and being removed that will foster the self-sufficiency needed for being a high functioning adult?

Just because students want a lot of parental involvement, is this what is best for them?

What other relationships are key for students to forge beyond the ones with parents (mentors, faculty, managers on the job, tutors, etc)?

How will parents know their child is taking the steps to assert himself and his ideas in positive and independent ways?

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