Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Parents, Amirite?

Lori Osterberg and her husband are lifelong Denver folk, but they got restless and intended to relocate for adventure's sake once their only child left home for college.

Well, long story short, they did that. Sort of.

Rather than following the sun down to Mexico, they followed their daughter to Portland, Oregon, where she is a sophomore. While still taking long weekends and other trips to Canada and California, the couple bought an apartment near campus that all three share.

"We're calling it our gap year. We're here for now, with the possibility of extending throughout her college career," Osterberg said. "We're taking it one year at a time."



  1. When I was an undergrad, I couldn't wait to get away from my parents because university meant emotional freedom for the first time. However, as graduation came close, I was considering several job offers (yup--it was *that* long ago!), one of which was near where my parents were.

    I discussed this with a counsellor and he advised me to take one that was several hours drive away. "They have to grow up, too," was his answer. I accepted one that was the furthest from my parents and never regretted my decision.

    It seems that the parents in the article aren't mature enough to let the young 'uns go.

  2. "with the possibility of extending throughout her college career"

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  3. Schwartzenegger sez: "GET AWAY FROM DA CHOPPA-PARENTS!!!"

  4. Maybe it's just a smart financial move and they'll leave the apartment to their daughter. They used their established credit and finances to get housing. The daughter gets to stay, yet she probably does not lose whatever financial aid she may be getting, since she is not the owner. If the apartment is sold after graduation, again, it's the parents who are dealing with the consequences.

    1. The rest of the linked article suggests that finances were not the priority for these or any of the other parents therein described. The Osterbergs' lifestyle does not suggest that the daughter qualifies for need-based aid.

      I knew several parents who bought houses or condos near their children's college or grad school campuses. The idea was to build equity rather than "throw away" the high rents for on-campus or near-campus housing. I don't know if they broke even once closing costs were factored in, but I do know none of the parents moved in with their children. The rooms not occupied by offspring were rented to other students. I was an "other" in one case.

      Parents-as-landlord offers several advantages to the child, among them year-to-year consistency and fewer moves, flexibility regarding pets and housemates, etc. Parents living with their college-aged children is not on that list.

    2. Agreed. And even then, I'd say that this sort of arrangement makes sense only if the majority of students live off campus (and/or only for the period of time for which the majority of students live off campus -- e.g. sophomore year on, which may skew the financials a bit). And even *then*, there's an argument to be made that students lose something by *not* dealing with landlords, security deposits, etc., on their own (though putting them truly in charge of things like maintaining a reasonable level of sanitation, getting bids for and supervising repairs, etc., etc. could offset that).

  5. This sounds to me not so much like the parents helicoptering, as like a somewhat-older phenomenon: the "cool parent" who doesn't want to grow up/wants to be the child's friend and re-experience their younger years through the child.

    Or maybe the two are more closely related than we sometimes think? They've certainly got one thing in common: although one seems like hyper-adulthood and the other like avoiding adulthood, both feel very lost when the kids around which they've built so much of their own identity (try to) start building independent lives of their own.