Excerpt from 'The iConnected Parent'
For generations a college romance has been a rite of passage. Some students fall in love and their relationship lasts, but for others it’s over in a blink, with one initiating the breakup and the other left to work through his or her misery with friends on campus. But now as we found in exploring the iConnected parenting trend, kids often call parents first when trouble looms, and that includes messy break-ups on campus. At home, work and on the road, parents hear their child sob about being dumped. Depending on the child, those calls can go on for quite a while, rising in emotional pitch and increasing in number.
That’s what happened recently when a couple broke up during their first year of college and the young woman didn’t want the relationship to end. She blanketed her parents, especially her mom, in a blizzard of unhappy messages and calls. Her concerned parents responded, her mom flying out twice to see her. What happened next is over the top, at least in the college’s eyes. As the breakup got messier (the guy wanted to just “be friends,” but the girl couldn’t tolerate that), both students’ parents asked the college to intervene and help the unhappy ex-couple sort through their relationship, as it was.
That request amazed college officials.
“It was the first time in 30 years that I had to mediate a relationship on that level,” said the administrator, who recounted the episode and asked not to use his school’s name for fear of revealing the students’ identities. “We’re talking about a run-of-the- mill relationship here,” he said in exasperation. “The thing to me is the level of involvement that the parents are playing in what should be an experience for these two kids to figure out how to talk through life. The kids’ aren’t calling the shots,” he said in disbelief. “How many breakups did I have in college? Six,” he said, adding that he never would have involved his parents in them, let alone school officials!
While several factors (including the parents’ misguided perception of the college’s role) brought the breakup to his unwilling attention the educator singled out one in particular: the parents’ and kids’ ability to communicate 24/7.