The Washington Post

When a college student isn’t a phone call away: Advice from Carolyn Hax

From elsewhere in The Post: How frequently should a parent be in touch with kids who are in college? And when does the need to stay in touch turn into helicoptering? A letter to Carolyn Hax touches on these issues:

“I want to let them gain experience with independence, but sometimes it’s hard to hold my tongue when they do something that seems dangerous: (1) Travel to some countries during junior year abroad without phone or BlackBerry contact; or (2) wander around New York late at night after indie rock concerts,” says the parent.

Hax encourages this parent to let go and argues that kids with a cellphone aren’t immune from danger.

“A cellphone certainly can make someone safer in the sense of 911 access — but that’s a narrowly defined safety blanket. With holes in it, too, even in nervous-parent-friendly non-urban US of A,” she says.

“Parents’ ability to reach children, meanwhile, has almost no bearing on their safety — and yet it conveys the message, loud and clear, that you’re afraid they’re not competent enough to live independently of you.”

What tips do you have for parenting kids who are in college? How frequently are you in touch with them?

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