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“Velcro parents” can’t let go

Parents help their daughter move in to Siena College, 2009.
Parents help their daughter move in to Siena College, 2009.
sienacommunication/Flickr (cc by)

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Starting college means new found independence for students, but it can mean severe separation anxiety for their so-called “Velcro parents.” After 18 years of close involvement, some parents are finding it hard to let go… in some cases hanging around campus for days. Colleges are finding new ways to help these parents cut the cord. Morehouse College in Atlanta has created a formal “Parting Ceremony.” Grinnell College in Iowa welcomes new students and their parents into a gymnasium for an address by the school president, after which parents are encouraged to leave campus. It’s all done out of love, but how do you convince parents that the best way to hold on is to let go?


Barbara Avery, Ed.D, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA

David M. Perkins, author of Dear Austin – A Letter To My Son, based his advice for his son upon leaving for college