Kathleen Volk Miller likens her relationship with her two college-aged daughters to the airport worker who guides planes in and out of their gates but leaves pilots alone to navigate for themselves.
As a professor at Drexler University, Miller laments that she sees too few "ramp agents" and too many helicopter parents getting over-involved in the lives of college-aged kids. "The vast majority of my students talk to their parents three times a day or more," Miller writes in an essay at Salon.
One student's mother got so freaked out when she didn't hear from her son for a few days that when he finally answered his phone on a Tuesday morning while studying in the library, the woman insisted that he take a picture of himself holding the day's newspaper to prove he wasn't drunk. "I cannot shake how similar that is to a hostage situation," Miller says.
College students should be learning to fend for themselves, but rampant parental over-involvement is thwarting that. Smartphones, Facebook and other always-on technologies play a role, she says. "Just because we can peek in on our children doesn't mean that we should."
Does this sound like any parents you know?
Remembering Davy Jones: Growing up in the 1960s, my three sisters and I were the perfect number for a mini-Monkees fan club: one band member for each of us to adore. I chose Davy Jones, the lead singer with the boyish smile and shaggy hair. All these years later, I remember every word of "Daydream Believer." Jones died this week of a heart attack at age 66 in Indiantown, Fla. He spent the last few decades acting, appearing in movies, TV shows and cartoons, according to USA Today, and Jones was part of a 2011 Monkees reunion tour (minus Michael Nesmith), which sold out Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in London. "He was about as heartfelt a man as anyone I have ever met in my life," fellow Monkee Peter Tork tells the paper. "In all his glory as a musician and performer, Davy was in the top rank."
Look Who's Dancing With the Stars: In the most age-diverse lineup ever, the new season of ABC's popular reality show pits five dancers over 40 against younger contestants. According to People, celebrities who'll cha-cha, tango and waltz during Season 14 include soul singer Gladys Knight, 67; tennis great Martina Navratilova, 55; soap star Jack Wagner, 52; former Screen Actors Guide president and Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert, 47; and The View co-host Sherri Shepherd (right), 44. "What a great week of learning this was, hard mental work by [sic] what fun!!!" Navratilova tweeted about her first practices with partner Tony Dovolani (also right).
Texan Hopes to Make Cheerleader History: Fifty-five-year-old Sharon Simmons is a super buff veteran of the competitive fitness circuit, winning nine 1st place titles in 20 outings, according to her website. Now, the Carrollton, Texas, woman is working with a trainer to prep for her next challenge: the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader team tryouts in May. "I always wanted to try out. I got real close in my early 20s, but got busy raising my daughter. And I thought, why not now?" Simmons tells CBS' Dallas/Ft. Worth affiliate. If she makes it, she'd be the oldest cheerleader in NFL history, beating the current record holder by 13 years, according to CBS.
Cat Woman to the Rescue: And you thought "herding cats" was just an expression. Jordana Serebrenik quit working as a lawyer two years ago to open a business corralling scaredy-cats into carriers for vet visits or other trips. The 45-year-old New York City woman got into the business after years of volunteering with a local cat rescue and adoption group, according to The New York Times. Serebrenik credits her success to an animal intuition, knowing what a cat may or may not do when it's in a tense situation. "I'm not emotionally tied to that animal, so I don't get cluttered in thought," she says.
More Americans Postpone Retirement: New research confirms previous reports that people expect to work longer. By 2010, the number of Americans who expected to stop working by 62 dropped to 4.9 percent, from 7.4 percent in 2006, according to a December 2011 survey of U.S. workers over the age of 50 from the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. In 2010, 14.6 percent of people expected to retire at 65, down from 16.1 percent five years earlier. The survey also found that by late 2010, 11.2 percent of Americans over 50 were planning to work until 70, and 5.2 percent expected to stay on the job until they were 80.
[Related: Top 10 Reasons People Postpone Retirement]
What's Your Retirement Number? Retire Smart columnist Jill Schlesinger explains how to do the math. Be sure to calculate life expectancy into the equation. "If you are younger than 50, use 95; if you're older than 50, use 90," she says. You'll want to read more here.
Website of the Week: Job boards and career pages on company website share specifics of particular positions but don't always spell out in detail what an occupation involves, including what an average week is like, type of education required, salary range, and where to get training. InsideJobs does all that. Run by Amazon's former business development director, Todd Edebohls, the website also features career news and a section for finding college degree and certification programs.
Last Word: "There are plenty of ideas that should exist, but not because of the promise of profit. The world marginalizes that, but Kickstarter sees value in that." --Justin Kazmark, communications director at the crowd-funding website that helps people raise money for creative projects, in this SecondAct Q&A