As a parent, do you feel your DC's Uni "should" communicate with you?

(395 Posts)
UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 26-Jun-13 19:20:45

A general question really, I work for a uni and we regularly get complaints from parents that we should have told them stuff.

But, the student is an adult and the contract is between the student and the university, even if parents are paying the fees/living allowance.

In some cases we would be breaking confidentiality by informing parents (e.g. Health issues), in others, I just think it's odd that parents get involved (e.g. student not picked for sports team).

Would appreciate some views/experiences smile

Theas18 Wed 26-Jun-13 21:52:28

Uh no!

They are responsible for themselves surely. If I haven't raised them well enough to grasp the opportunity THEY are paying for to the full then it's not the universities fault.

Mental health issues maybe a special case. I'd kind of hope you'd apply a little latitude maybe after you'd directed my child to A+E if they were psychotic/suicial but that's it.

figroll Wed 26-Jun-13 21:56:18

I don't know if universities should contact parents or not, but I do think that there is a distinct lack of support for young people who are away from home for the first time and may be vulnerable. I say this from bitter experience. I also know of a friend's son who wasn't attending lectures and the university wrote to his parents. They had no idea that he wasn't attending and were able to discuss it with him. He had gone completely off the rails, going out every night, etc. I don't know if the uni was right or wrong but it certainly meant that he wasn't kicked out because they made a fuss and he went back to lectures.

I think you need to remember that these are young people who may not have had all this freedom before and can, and do, go totally mad as if they were on a holiday in Magaluff. With fees at £9,000 there is a lot at stake if they fail.

So I don't think parents should be asking for a report card, but it is reasonable for them to be contacted if there is a concern.

nohalfmeasures Wed 26-Jun-13 22:00:21

Students are adults. The University place is theirs so the university should communicate with them. The agreement to pay fees is between the parent and the student so it's the students responsibility to keep parents informed.
The parents who complain are probably the ones who went with their children to the open days and asked all the questions because they felt their children might not aske the right things..
My parents were divorced when I went to uni. I went to all the open days on my own, asked all my own questions, sorted out all my own accommodation and travel. I was quite pissed off when I discovered my Dad had been phoning to try and find out my exam results especially when he hadn't been in contact with me directly since I was eleven. The University asked me if it was ok to pass on the info.

nohalfmeasures Wed 26-Jun-13 22:03:42

Fig that's interesting but don't you think we as parents have a responsibility to prepare our children for independent living?
It's almost neglectful to send them on their merry way if they can't cook, clean, iron, wash and do a weekly budget.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 22:06:40

fig your job as a parent is to prepare your child to be able to cope with adult life and university is part of that life, you prepare your child for it. It is not the universities responsibility to tell parents 'little' Jonny isn't attending lectures.

figroll Wed 26-Jun-13 22:08:47

I went to the open days with my kids. They wanted me to go because I suppose they want a second opinion on whether it's the right place? I don't know but my parents helped me when I went to uni, even sorted out my accommodation because I was abroad.

figroll Wed 26-Jun-13 22:10:43

I think my children are prepared for adult life actually. I don't know if its right or wrong that the uni got in touch with my friends, but I know it got their son back on the straight and narrow! I have never got involved with the uni myself only in terms of taking them there and back.

figroll Wed 26-Jun-13 22:12:31

Oh and they can cook, clean, iron, etc. They have had a weekly allowance since they were about 6 and have had to buy everything out of it so they they knew about money. I still care about where they go to uni though.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 22:18:03

Yes parents care but its up the the student to get on with it and be responsible and study etc, they should not need to be told to do so by their parents.

figroll Wed 26-Jun-13 22:23:11

Absolutely they should be responsible but it's the initial transition phase that can hard for some kids. I hope that I have done a good job as a parent but I know some kids are totally clueless.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Wed 26-Jun-13 22:23:21

My DS has 'mild' Aspergers , and his consultant warned us that he may struggle to settle at uni . I would hope that someone would be able to tell us if he was not attending lectures. before he got kicked out.

allgonesouuth Wed 26-Jun-13 22:33:52

It's different if there's a medical issue though.

5madthings Wed 26-Jun-13 22:36:48

icantfind on the last page someone mentioned about the disabilities and equalities act? And your son would be covered by that so you can liaise with the uni to ensure he gets extra support.

Special needs aside most eighteen year olds should be able to cope fine, medical issues relating to mental health etc may require parents to be involved or the relevant health professionals but NO patents do no need to be informed of attendance or course related issues. They are adults, legally recognized with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that and need to be treated as such.

When I was at university a letter was sent to my parents without my knowledge or permission asking about my mental health history. DM pretty much threw it in the bin.

What's interesting in particular was that college didn't have my parents' details, only my home address - they wrote to Mr & Mrs MyMaidenName at my home address.

And I did have mental health history that my parents didn't - and still don't - know about.

It was an absurd exercise.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nipersvest Wed 26-Jun-13 22:57:50

dh runs a degree course and quite often gets contacted by students parents, he doesn't deal with them and will only talk to the student themselves.

as an aside, despite this being the first year for 9k fees, this has also been the worst year since dh started there for attendance, he has 5 students who haven't attended a single session and has issued them with termination of studies letters.

edam Wed 26-Jun-13 23:03:45

I think it's ridiculous for parents to demand to be involved - students are adults. However, I also think it was predictable that tripling tuition fees so that our system is nearly as expensive as the US one (when bursaries and scholarships are taken into account) would make parents feel more directly concerned. This is now a financial transaction between the parent and the university - in the parent's eyes, even if not literally - as well as the student.

The really stupid thing about the £9k fee is that it's costing the government more not less...

ReallyTired England Wed 26-Jun-13 23:14:21

University students are adults and need to be treated as adults. Parents have to realise that it is time to cut the apron strings and allow their children to make their own mistakes.

I feel that parents should only be contacted in serious health situations if the parents are listed as "next of kin".

alreadytaken Wed 26-Jun-13 23:38:17

yes I do - because I will still be supporting them financially and therefore I am a party to the contract whether the university like that or not. Universities like to use the "helicopter parent" taunt because they know that they can get away with murder if they are only dealing with young people. They may legally be "adults" but they are not mature.

I don't expect to hear about field trips, sports teams or relationships. I do think that in the first year I should be told if they leave the university completely, miss enough work to be at risk of being thrown out or having to repeat a year or are seriously ill. After that I would only expect to be told if they were seriously ill.

I wouldn't expect a university to need to contact me - but if I haven't prepared them adequately then I'd want to be told an if they have serious health problems I will be the one looking after them, not the university.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Jun-13 23:45:54

Yes, but surely its the responsibility of the student to pay fees not their parents.
My dc all know that after compulsory education they fund their own further education. Once they are grown ups treating them like kids will do them no good.
I'm not surprised that parents who are paying for fees want to be part of their grown up students contract with the Uni. The student has nothing to lose by cocking up, the parents can lose a lot.
Ime it was always those funded by daddy who dropped out.

Tincletoes Wed 26-Jun-13 23:49:22

Lol yes it was a stealth boast. My son is 5 so for a start we're talking a way off yet (yes ok it's more than 10 years away)! And we are a family who would certainly need to do things via loans.

My point has been made far better by Edam - I was trying to say that if you are paying fees upfront - and some parents will be - then yes they are going to expect universities to be more accountable.

ReallyTired England Wed 26-Jun-13 23:49:27

"They may legally be "adults" but they are not mature."

If your student children are not treated as adults then they will never become mature.

Children can get married at 16, join the army or go to sea at 17. To say that a universtiy student is not mature enough to be given responsiblity for their lives is nonsense.

Neverending2012 Wed 26-Jun-13 23:55:35

No, they are adults. It's not boarding school....

senua Wed 26-Jun-13 23:56:16

They may be adults but it doesn't stop us worrying about them.
However, I never thought that the authorities would be the best people to help if things started to go wrong - by the time they were aware that there were problems it would probably be too late. I just made sure that I had the phone numbers of a couple of her flatmates, who would be more up to speed. Thankfully, I never had to use them.

MummyMastodon Thu 27-Jun-13 00:00:45

The amount they can borrow is calculated on parent's earnings, unless earnings are low, the system expect's parents to fund them... oh, but we can't take an interest in any part of their higher education.

Can't have it both ways confused

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