Should Parents Track Students' Whereabouts in College?

A University of Cincinnati student recently won a restraining order against her parents after they tracked her every move.

Heading off to college is a chance for not only students to grow, but for their parents to adapt to life changes as well. But in some cases, the parents may not have such an easy time letting go.  

So has been the case with one college student that made national news recently. 

A 21-year-old music student at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music recently convinced a judge to grant her a restraining order against her parents, according to The Huffington Post

The student, Aubrey Ireland, reportedly told the court that even though she had made the dean's list, her parents would still drive 600 miles from Kansas to Ohio, making unannounced visits to her school, accusing her of drug use, promiscuity and mental illness. 

The issue deepened when her parents installed key-logging software on her computer and cell phone, allowing them to track her every move. 

As a result, the court and the school sided with Ireland; the university has granted her a full scholarship for her senior year, while the judge issued a civil stalking order against her parents, thus ordering them to stay at least 500 feet away from their daughter and have no contact with her until September. 

The news raises the issue of how much parents should "let go" of their children when they head off to college. But what do you think? Did her parents go too far? Or were they justified in trying to keep a close eye on their daughter? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

Debra Simes January 09, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Absent other information, it would appear that these parents need therapeutic intervention!
Elizabeth H. January 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM
No! An 18-year-old is an adult in the eyes of the law and although that child may still need parental guidance and support, she or he needs to learn to live independently from her or his parents. Too bad this 21-year-old and her parents don't have a better, respectful, adult relationship.
elizabeth mclaughlin January 09, 2013 at 12:12 PM
No! Time to let go.
Earnhardt January 09, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Her parents are the ones who need help. They have serious trust issues, This is something that will go on past college, into her career, and quite possibly into her married life it is allowed to continue. I know parents who have tracked their younger children (16 and 17) and even at that age, Trust and respect begin to crumble. You can see it in attitudes and performance in and out of school.
Judy Schwartz January 09, 2013 at 01:09 PM
In spite of how she was helicoptered by her parents, this child sounds pretty great to me -- assertive, smart, a self starter and independent. Let this story be a shout out to all those parents (yes, here in Lexington, yooo hooo) who are controlling their kids to within an inch of their lives. They may be young now, but very soon they will be older. It will be then that many of them are going to show you how angry they are at you and it won't be pretty.
Vineyard Worker January 09, 2013 at 01:13 PM
With the usage of the Internet and cell phones, college is no longer providing students the opportunity to live independent of Mom and Dad. Parents are still calling the shots and the students are living in a pseudo independent living environment. Students may choose to attend college across country yet parents are receiving up to the minute phone calls/updates as if the child were still at home. Parents are extremely accessible and they are still making decisions for their child. Children/students receiving diplomas at any cost is the top priority. Parent intervention has increased due to the substantial fianacial investment. The parents of the girl in the news are a whole separate scenario of craziness.
Judy Schwartz January 09, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Elizabeth H, My guess is her parents thought they were raising her to be a respectful adult by being HELICOPTER PARENTS her entire childhood. They had to Pay Special Attention ALL THE TIME to EVERYTHING she said and did in order to teach her how to behave properly at all times so she would be Perfect. Never, in their wildest dreams, did they think that she would not be forever grateful for their parenting choices. They, in fact, were being perfect parents themselves in the 21st century. Clearly, they were wrong. As long as parents choose the helicopter style of parenting (or worse), there are no "better, respectful, adult relationships" to be had for this 21 year old and her parents -- or any other family like them.
Michael Fleming January 09, 2013 at 04:22 PM
If you haven't raised your kids well enough to be able let them go to college and start the process of finding their own paths in life, then the problem is with the parents, not the kids. I think the parents sensed their failure at bringing up their college age kid, and decided that they needed to extend their incubation period. By this time in their kids life, it's time to let them try out their wings. Let em go, folks.
Rob January 09, 2013 at 08:28 PM
If she didnt like their rules then dont take their Money. Get your own cell phone and you wont find a keylogger. Pay your own way and you dont have to listen to them.
Tina January 09, 2013 at 08:56 PM
I had just turned 17 when I left for college under an early admissions program that allowed me to skip my senior year of high school. This was long before the era of cell phones, personal computers and the internet. Our dorm rooms didn't even have phones! Yet my parents trusted me enough to let me go, and I willingly kept in touch with them, usually by writing letters. I respected them for their trust, and in the final years of their lives I helped care for them.
Sam Based January 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM
If you can't trust your kids enough to the point where you're tracking their every move you've got a problem with yourself and your family.
Michael Fleming January 10, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Based God I agree. College is generally seen as a relatively safe place to allow your kids to feel the early effects of freedom from their parents, but still with a safety net that isn't in place in the real "adult" world, where no one is looking out for them and can potentially get into some real trouble. Testing your wings in an environment where if you fail, you don't immediately plunge to your demise is an important step in socialization of young adults. College is such an environment. If you have not taught your kids some of the basics of getting along in this world by the time they are in college, then you need to re-examine your parenting skills, and your choice of sending them to college in the first place. Perhaps allowing them to live in your basement til they are 32 is a better option. But you have no one to blame but yourself if they never grow up.
Vineyard Worker January 10, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Michael, college is a relatively safe place with a safety net, really? How so? How are the kids protected in college as opposed to the kids that decide to go to work upon graduation from high school?
Michael Fleming January 10, 2013 at 07:25 PM
College is still not the "real world" in as much as it is a artificial environment, suffused with kids of similar age and similar goals, all working towards graduation at the end of their term. The college acts en loco parentus, setting rules of conduct and academics standards as well as a non threatening environment. If they don't do well, the worst that can happen to them is getting a bad grade, or being expelled, usually being sent back to their parents charge. In the real world, where adult standards are applied immediately, (pay rent, deal with bosses that don't have any vested interest in their doing well, you don't measure up, you get fired, do a job that you don't really want to do, etc.) many of these aspects overlap college life and real life, but college offers a soft place to land, whereas those going straight from High School, out of the home into the cold harsh world of reality, failing there can have far more significant and life course altering consequences.
Vineyard Worker January 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Congratulations to the kids who are successfully working and maneuvering in the world without an extended 4 year college/parentus safety net!
Michael Fleming January 13, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Vineyard Agreed. But I would extend that congratulations to all kids who successfully manage and maneuver in this world in this day and age. Whether they are lucky enough to have parents who can afford college or not. It's a difficult time and environment to grow up in. Whether college is part of that environment or not, kudos to those who can make it through safely to become productive, succesful contributing adults. There are factors out there that are actual disincentives to success...( entitlement culture now part of government policy, drugs, high unemployment rate, success is now seen as "greed", school loan debt, expensive dead end college degrees, such as "Womens Studies" or "Gender Studies" that have no real world application,) If they make it at all, you gotta give em credit, God Bless them...
Vineyard Worker January 13, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Equal congrats, everyone gets a trophy when according to your previous statements, one group had a network of safety net holders supporting them and the other group had adult standards and consequences applied immediately.
Michael Fleming January 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Vineyard I'm not sure what your point is. The purpose of being a parent is to provide as much of an advantage to your child succeeding in this world. If parents do well enough in life to give their child a choice between getting a college education and going to work right out of high school, then that is a GOOD thing, isn't it? Neither group is better than the other.vineyard, if you have a choice and ability, wouldn't YOU send your loved off spring to extend their education, thus increasing their ability to achieve success. I say good on ALL of our kids who make it, regardless of which path they end up on. Everyone gets a trophy? No. But the ones who avoids the many pitfalls of youth and still survive? Yeah, I give them an "atta boy"...high school education, safety net or not. They are our kids. We want the best chances for them. Are you saying that even if college IS an option for your kid, you would tell him/her not to take it? You'd PREFER that they go straight from high school into a low paying job? I don't believe that.


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