Does technology make us better parents to older kids?
I graduated from University in 1990 and although my kids think I descended from dinosaurs, I vividly recall what it was like to be dropped off at college and have virtually no communication with my parents because the cost of a telephone call was so prohibitive.
This separation from my parents matured me a lot faster, but it also put a distance between us that I (upon reflection) regret. There is great talk today over the fear of modern-day parents ‘helicoptering’ their children, but perhaps technology enables us to be better parents to our college-age kids.
I’m a relatively young parent of a college graduate. At 44, I’m the mother of a 20-year-old son who graduated last year, the same year my 16-year-old daughter started college. I homeschooled both my kids. They took their last two years of high school at the community college, while earning the first two years of their college educations concurrently.
When my son transferred to university, we communicated almost daily. Some days, it was just a quick text or email to say, ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘did you pay that parking ticket?’ Other days, it was cell phone call, which cost almost nothing because of our plan. I still missed him, and he still got homesick, but it was manageable. And it made me thankful that I didn’t have to go through what my parents must have when I left for college.
Many people posit that this generation of kids is not as mature as past generations because parents won’t let them grow up. I both agree and disagree. I believe there is a problem with parents living vicariously through their children. But I also believe that technology is enabling us to live much more enriched, thoroughly communicated lives with our kids, even after they leave home. And I believe we are all better for it.