A university professor’s perspective on over-involved parents

Duquesne University professor Dr. Karen Fancher’s office is directly in front of the elevator doors, leading to a recurring experience which she describes as follows (the link within this quote also appears in the article):

“I’m concentrating on something, but out of the corner of my eye I see the elevator doors slide open. It’s a teenage girl and a middle-aged woman, presumably her mother. The parent walks into my office, with the girl trailing sheepishly behind. The mother says, ‘My daughter will be starting here in the fall. We want to change one of her elective classes.’ I try to make eye contact and address the girl as I politely give them directions to the Office of Student Services down the hall, but it’s the mother who apologizes for interrupting me. They leave my office, Mom leading the way with the class schedule in her hand. Do you see the issue here? The child has been accepted into a major university and is weeks away from starting a difficult area of study, but it’s her parent who is doing all of the talking to get her problem corrected, while she says nothing and appears to be dragged along against her will.”

The article goes on to share not only a thoughtful analysis of both the long-term detrimental effects on kids and the challenges for faculty dealing with over-involved parents, but also some tips for parents that can help you step back and allow your kids to take responsibility for their own educations.