He returned to the same theme today in a BBC report on parents chasing university places through the clearing system on behalf of their children:
In 1997, I completed my book The Culture of Fear. Most of the comments my copy editor made about the manuscript were routine questions about grammar, incoherent formulations and inconsistencies. But one of the comments stood out as an explicit challenge to the authenticity of the text. The contentious passage informed the reader of a relatively new development - the arrival of parents on campus. To illustrate the changing character of university life, I pointed to what was then a relatively novel phenomenon: students arriving on campus for their interviews, accompanied by their parents. "This cannot be true," exclaimed my editor.
At first, I was taken aback by her implicit challenge to my integrity. But after we had discussed this issue, I was able to understand where she was coming from. As someone who was an undergraduate in the 1970s, she could not reconcile her experience of a parent-free university with the subsequent changes.
It is worth pausing for a moment to reflect on just what a change in this. When I went to university in 1978 - and even during the interviews over the year before that - the whole point of the exercise was to strike out on your own and escape the influence of parents and schools. The change that has taken place makes me deeply sceptical when I am informed that young people grow up much faster these days.
Frank Furedi, social commentator and professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says that controlling parents are "destroying the distinction between school and higher education".
"All universities now have to take the parent factor into account. On university open days you can see more parents attending than children," says Professor Furedi.
He says there have been cases of parents who arrive expecting to attend their children's university interviews.
Professor Furedi says that he tells parents that they have to leave, but there are other academics who "accept that this will be a family discussion".
"There is a powerful sense of infantilism, where parents can't let go."
This extends to universities having to handle complaints from parents over grades awarded to students, he says, and a constant over-involvement during term time.
"We have to remind parents that there is a professional relationship between academics and students," he says.
Professor Furedi expects this parental pressure to grow - with the risk of turning universities into "schools for biologically mature children".
James Graham thinks the process happened so long ago that it is hardly worthy of comment. But then he is younger than me.
Incidentally, I am not convinced by James's view that the answer to everything is to change the system so that university applications take place after people know their A level results. This seems to carry the assumption that A level grades are to be the only factor in the offer of a place.
Back in the 1970s I received remarkably generous offers from five good universities despite being armed with no more than a rather ropey set of O level results. That was because they were prepared to interview me and to back their own judgement of my potential. If you leave everything to A level results I am not sure that my equivalent today would be half as well treated.