To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Do you hear that? It’s a Brandeis helicopter parent.

The Brandeis Hoot has been in contact with an insider source of the Brandeis Parents Facebook Community—Michael [last name redacted]. This informant has been willing to share some details of the messages being shared in the chat. And let me tell you— it is some juicy information.

“My son lost a favorite jacket on campus last week. Does anyone know if there is a central lost and found or where they store objects?” 

My first question: how old is your child? 

My second question: why? 

I completely understand that it can be very difficult to let your child leave for college where you don’t get constant contact with them. It’s a shift in life going from having someone to care for and keep alive for 18 years to maybe getting a call once a week if you’re lucky. That being said—while the change is difficult—it is necessary for growth. 

Your child has to learn how to lose stuff and remedy the situation on their own. Yes, you are still their parent, that doesn’t change when they go to college, but you are no longer responsible for fixing every little hiccup of things that goes wrong in their life. 

My favorite response to this post—“I’m inclined to just let the college student handle things like this.” And to that, I agree. 

But the drama does not end there. These helicopters are still hovering.

“Wondering how other parents see their kids’ grades? Do you just ask your student to log in and show you?” 

Maybe this was just me, but my parents stopped looking at my grades when I left Intermediate school. It became my responsibility in high school to maintain my grades and share with them whether I was doing well or not. Never once have my parents asked me what my grades are in college. Because they trust that I will maintain my grades. 

If you are sending your child to Brandeis—and paying for it—I would hope you can trust them to stay on top of their grades or at the very least communicate with you if there were a serious problem. It comes down to one thing—trust. If you are letting your child go away for college you have to trust them—it’s as simple as that. End of story. When they go off to work are you going to ask their boss for a progress report? When will this hovering stop, because it will have to eventually. 

The Facebook group also features recommendations for good locations to get chicken noodle soup and matzah ball soup for their children when they are sick. Which is cute, I’ll admit. But as someone who has been sick on campus and unable to go home, let me tell you it is one of the greatest lessons you can learn living independently. Learning how to take care of yourself while you are sick is a huge milestone in your life cause yeah it sucks being sick and not being home where you can just curl up into bed until everything is magically better sucks. 

You’re congested and you’re achy and you really don’t want to take care of yourself, but guess what, you’ve got to. Parents in the Facebook group if any of you are reading this—please, let your children figure out how to get their own soup. Let them learn how to cope with being sick as an individual because they will have to learn how to do it eventually and now is the time to. 

And last but not least—parents asking if their children are having trouble making friends. 

I am not a great people person. Making friends can be tough, I know, especially if you aren’t into the frat or sorority scene. I understand that I was lucky to be on a team that had my friends instantly built into it. But as a parent, you cannot make friends for your child. 

There are going to be things you cannot do as a parent when it comes to taking care of your kid. There is a point when you have to let go of their hand and let them walk on their own. This is one of those moments. When your child is in college they are no longer a baby, they are still your baby, but they aren’t a baby. And you can’t treat them like that, otherwise they are going to think that is how the world should treat them. And they will be in for a very rude awakening. 

Love your children. It is a wonderful thing. But don’t go trying to micromanage their lives, because when it comes time for them to manage their own lives, you will realize what a disservice you have caused them. 

Let your children mess up. Let them live and realize that life isn’t perfect. Let them get hurt and scrape their knees. It builds character. And you know what, even if they do fall, they’re gonna be alright. They will find their people and place in their own time. Sure, it might not be right away but life has a funny way of bringing us to those we need. 

There is no right way to parent, and I write this opinion piece too easily because I am not a parent. But I write this as someone who has two pretty great parents who never once tried to find my lost coat for me in college but instead pushed me to go out and find it on my own. 

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