My Daughter Is Headed off to College Without Me… Or so She Thinks

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My Daughter Is Headed off to College Without Me… Or so She Thinks

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A version of this story by Alison Lowenstein was originally published on Frazzled, a parenting humor publication on Medium.


I wanted to introduce myself to all the newly admitted parents. I’m the moderator of the group and the originator and host of the parent happy hour that takes place at the campus pub on move-in day. Maybe you’ll think I post too much, but I found that when your child is off to college, it’s the best time to invite social media back into your life.

If you’re looking for information on parent orientation, I’ll let you know that it’s just a table with bumper stickers and free boxed water. There are no community-building activities for the parents, and this group grew out of that disappointment. Thankfully this group is a treasure trove of useful information.

For instance, I know that this might shock the new parents, but there are no microwaves allowed in dorm rooms, and after talking to the college administration, I will advise you that it’s a battle you’ll never win. Your child will have to share a microwave with other students in the shared kitchen. Some other tips — you should’ve ordered FRAKA Ikea bags to pack your kid’s clothes when they were in pre-school, and you should remove fire hazards like an extension cord or a candle from your college shopping list. If the college discovers either of those items, your child might be asked to leave the college.

We also have one rule that you must follow. Before you post, you must know that this Facebook group is like Fight Club. And like Fight Club, the first rule, is you can’t talk about the College Parent Group. Never share what goes on here with the student—this isn’t for them. They’re only the ones attending the college and don’t need to know what goes on in the private parent forum. That said, feel free to post intimate stories of your child’s experiences at college. Let us know if they’re unhappy with their roommate, the details of their latest breakup, and to ask for hangover cures the morning after your child’s first frat party. We want to hear it all.

Speaking of our kids. My DD called to ask me if she could study abroad. I recently watched a show on Netflix about pre-schoolers in another country who run errands for their parents. In one episode a two-year-old was responsible for buying the family curry at a market located a kilometer away. I turned off the TV because I felt like I was about to watch a potential abduction. I don’t want to sound judgmental, but what were those negligent parents thinking? I’m a responsible parent, so I track our nineteen-year-old’s whereabouts on my iPhone and make sure she stays on campus. If she needs curry, she can call me, and I can reach out to this group to find out the best curry near campus and order it to her room. I’d also let her professors know that sometimes my daughter has reactions to curry, and she might be late to class the next day because of stomach issues. Of course, I simply told her I’d think about it. Yet I want to be honest with this group, I’m not subsidizing a trip abroad unless that program has a Facebook group that can supplement me in monitoring my child’s life. Anyone know about the program? Please respond to this post.

I know we’re all fans of free speech here. That said, I had to delete a few aggressive posts, where parents judged others in this group for being overprotective. I think some parents on this board are confusing coddling with caring. There’s nothing wrong with newly admitted parents arranging “play dates” with other incoming freshmen who live within a three-hundred-mile radius of their home.

It’s true that when I was a college sophomore, I was on MTV’s Spring Break. It’s also true that my parents had no idea when spring break was, so they weren’t expecting me home. In fact, they never called me. But I went to college when the only person who owned a cellphone was Gordon Gekko and to communicate with my parents I’d have to wait for a payphone at the end of the hall. Yes, I turned out okay without any parental involvement, just like the child on that TV Show, who I hope and pray showed up to his parent’s house after completing the curry purchase. However, in my defense, I’m shelling out more than the average American salary a year to send my kid to this college, and when you make that kind of investment in your kid, you better track their every move.






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