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Preparing Your Kids for Adult Success

Posted on October 23, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford University Dean of Students, in her book "How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success" (2015) Holt, Henry and Company, Inc., discusses her experiences with incoming freshmen over a ten year period in The Washington Post  (www.washingtonpost.com).  Each year the students who entered were less capable of taking responsibility than the students from the previous year.  Theses students were in thius plight because of well-meaning parents hovering and sheilding them from disappointments, challenges, and struggles.  Protection rather than building independence was their goal.

Lythcott-Haims was motivated to write this book for parents because of the following:

  1. In her experiences as Dean of Freshmen, she saw students incapable of self-care and independent living.
  2. Her research showed the rising statistics of depression, other mental/emotional health problems, and even suicide in college students.  
She provides a warning test to determine if you are lowering your child's chances for college and adult success.
  1. "If you say 'we' when you mean your son or your daughter--as in, 'We're on the travel soccer team.' you are intertwined in a way that is unhealthy."
  2. If you are fighting your child's battles with school personnel, coaches, or other children, you are not teaching your kids to solve their own problems and "advocate for themselves."  This is where "Say What's Wrong and Make It Right" comes in.  Children as young as four years old can learn to solve conflicts on their own.  In fact young children develop the communication skills faster than adults.  Try it.  Your entire family atmosphere will benefit.
  3. "Stop doing their homework."  See my previous blogs: "Harmonious Homework Hints 101 A,B, and C" (September 8, 10, and 16) in order to make the transition easier on your child and you.
Finally, Lythcott-Haims and I are consistent in the belief that the less our children need us, the better job we are doing as a parent.  She contends that bulding their independence through teaching life skills instead of doing everything for your children produces competent, confident adults.  Check out my blog next week, 10/30, for more details on ways to develop life skills in your children and contribute to their personhood.

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