The Antidote to “Operation Varsity Blues” Parenting

It isn’t possible to be a college parenting website without addressing the current Admissions Scandal sweeping across our news feeds. Parents have paid enormous sums of money to have their students fraudulently admitted to elite colleges.  They have doctored test scores, bribed consultants, coaches and admissions staff.  It’s the latest, most outrageous development in the college admissions parental involvement saga.

Parental reputations have progressed from what Laura Hamilton, author of Parenting to a Degree  calls “bystander parenting” to helicoptering to snow plow and lawnmower parenting and now to curling and what Dean Julie (Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult) has referred to as drone parenting.

Almost all of us are familiar with helicopter parents who hover over their children to make sure everything is OK – and then swoop in when they need to rescue them.  In case you are less familiar with the other terms, snow plow and lawn mower parents push problems and obstacles out of the way or mow down obstacles to clear a path for their students.  Curling parents go one step further –warming the ice and reducing any friction to help students slide forward in the direction the “sweeper” chooses.  And now, in light of this new scandal, we have drone parents; parents who pick their child up and deposit them where they (the parents) want them to be – sometimes without the student even realizing that it has happened.  And for at least one set of parents, that apparently means a trophy school that comes with bragging rights.

The admissions system is flawed, to be sure. It may even be broken. Hopefully, a lot of people will now be looking long and hard at how students are coached, tested, and admitted to schools. This scandal has shone a light on a host of problems, some illegal and many unethical or at least unfair.

But even as we cast blame on the system and its participants, we need to hold the mirror up to ourselves.

Read moreThe Antidote to “Operation Varsity Blues” Parenting


Book Review: Generation Z: A Century in the Making

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Generation Z: A Century in the Making is the third book written by Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace about this important generation of students who are our current college, high school, and middle schoolers.  We’re just getting to know this generation, but they are our kids, and we’re surrounded by them – at home and now at work.  The more we understand them as a generation, the better our relationships will be.  We’ve reviewed Seemiller and Grace’s first book, Generation Z Goes to College, but we think this one is important as well.

Generation Z, as defined in this book, includes those students born between 1995 and 2010.

Much like Generation Z Goes to College, this book begins with an overview of generations leading up to Generation Z.  As parents, we can find our own generation, or perhaps the generations of our older children and our own parents, to give context to the discussion of Generation Z.   Holding the mirror up to ourselves can be an interesting exercise!  We like, too, the explanation of how world developments have helped to shape each generation, with a focus on the technology of the time, the societal events, and family relationships.   We understand our students better when we remember those world events which shaped their childhoods, and when we remember that our generation has created the society into which they are born.

Read moreBook Review: Generation Z: A Century in the Making


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