Missouri State University

Relating with Parents

A cultural shift has taken place in recent years, reflected in a stronger involvement by parents in their children’s education. Sue Shellenbarger, in her 2005 Wall Street Journal article, Colleges Ward Off Over involved Parents, outlines some reasons for this trend

  • Media coverage of campus crimes
  • Increasing mental health problems among college students
  • Rising drug and alcohol arrests on college campuses
  • A strong consumer mentality, i.e. "I am paying for college and I want to be sure my money is spent wisely."

Mark D. Menezes, in an article, Advisors and parents: Together building stronger advising relationships, expounds on the trend and how advisors should respond:

Academic advisors today are not just meeting with young students eager to start their college career and plan their lives for the future; they are also meeting with the parents and other family members of this new college generation. Parents now expect to be an integral part of their children's college experience. This significantly changes the practice of academic advising and advisors need to outline the expectations of students and parents. Because more and more parents want to be included in the advising relationship, advisors must adopt a new approach to advising that will still create an environment for students to realize their autonomy and develop an educational plan consistent with their personal goals. Good communication is the key. (2005).

Advisors must learn to accept and incorporate involved parents in a healthy manner that will enhance the student’s advising experience, yet foster personal growth and responsibility.  More parental involvement in their student’s academic life is a strong trend that is not likely to change anytime soon.