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Kids and college: Are you a helicopter mom?

Forget about the big man on campus. When it comes to taking your kid to college, well, there’s always the other BMOC — you know, the big mama on campus. Sure, you may have called all the shots at home but when your college student is on campus, well, it’s time to take a back seat.

Helicopter Mom

Don’t be that gal

Deborah Smith mentions her mother enrolled in classes to get her master’s degree during her first year as an undergrad. “She used to show up at my dorm room unannounced to take a nap in between classes. OMG. So uncool.” As for her advice? “Go to a school that is not under six hours driving distance from your parents.”

Care Packages

So, if distance is a factor and it may be too close to comfort, take it from Karen Whiting, author and speaker. Her youngest of five will be heading off to college in a few weeks and she mentions she’ll do one thing she did with her other kids. That would be the long distance care package.

Karen plans on sending him humorous care packages that include a little twist to a deeper thought. “I’ll avoid the scare e-mails friends have done (i.e., mom is pregnant so please call home or the dog must hear your voice or will not eat and may die).”

Not sure what to put in a care package? Check out our article, Care Package Ideas for College Students.

The convertible room

While it’s understandable to want to check in on your teen with phone calls, IM, e-mails and text, we advise against going overboard. After all, there are a lot more home responsibilities to focus on. And by that, we mean taking custody of their room. Karen explains, “I’m trying to make his room a convertible room — for scrapbooking — while away.” She adds, “Of course I’m currently scrapbooking about him.”

What NOT to do

For Linda Schwartz who currently has two kids in college, she’s observed a thing or two from others about what notto do. For instance, she knows someone who “surprised” her daughter at school for her birthday during her freshman year. “That was a big mistake,” she notes. “Never surprise your kid at the dorm or apartment when in college.”

As for some other tips from Linda, she mentions to resist temptation of video taping them moving into their dorm. “It KILLS them! I know…I did it. It even embarrassed my husband.”

Also, don’t call them prior to 10 am, that’s way too early. “The dorm is a whole different culture. They’re commonly up until 2 a.m. every night. And nobody has classes on Fridays anymore.”

Jen Singer, creator of, adds, “Don’t call earlier than noon on weekends.” Plus, she adds some other pointers so you can be the cool mom, not the dreaded one. “Don’t ask the R.A. to make sure your child remembers to tape American Idol. Don’t text: ‘You forgot to pack your tampons. Should I mail them?’ Don’t turn her room into a shrine of parenting days past, complete with lighted trophy case and bronzed soccer cleats.”

Enough said.

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