I don't believe you can "mother" nontraditional students

Too much.  It's always been an important trait of the advisors we use. Advising adult students is an art.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Sometimes 'Hand-Holding' Can Be a Good Thing
Nontraditional students have significantly changed campus demographics. I still remember when our student body consisted primarily of students straight out of high school. Two decades later, we still have wide-eyed 18-year-olds, but we also have adults in their 30s, 40s, and beyond who are balancing full-time work, families, and school. Our classes contain veterans, the unemployed, and sometimes even the homeless. 
It angers me when I hear of colleges and professors requiring students to seek formal documentation in order to make up a missed examination. I now have a student whose wife is gravely ill, and who has had to miss some classes to be with her and their children. For me to ask him for a "doctor’s note" would be reprehensible. 
Child care is another major issue. Our university schedule often does not synchronize with the public-school system’s calendar. Students who are also parents are torn between missing class and taking care of their children. My policy has always been to allow parents to bring a child, and sometimes even two, to class; in 26 years, I have yet to hear that this practice has created a major interruption or distraction. 
Many of our students also struggle with severe financial hardships. Granting an extension to a student whose 10-year-old computer crashed while he was finishing his "Works Cited" page for a term paper is not "coddling"; it is an act of understanding and compassion that the student may long remember. I once had a thirty-something student burst into tears because she told me another professor would not allow her to make up an exam on a day when she had no money for gas to commute to school.

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