I have great news for exhausted parents: stop doing so much and start being. I mean it. And I’m not alone. The former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, Julie Lythcott-Haims, says so too.
In her book, How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, she all but begs parents to back off from helicopter parenting. The book is a response to serious problems she saw with incoming freshman: depression, anxiety, lack of ability to solve problems and poor high executive functioning.
“Why were these epidemics arising in such bright, young students?” Lythcott-Haims asked herself. As she did some studying, she uncovered the problem: their parents.
These great, freshman kids with the smarts and credentials to get into Stanford grew up with parents who over-managed them in order to help their children “succeed.” Because of this, Lythcott-Haimes encountered kids who didn’t know how to solve problems, who texted their mothers when in a bind and who felt so uncomfortable with adults, they refused to make eye contact. They looked fabulous on an application, but when it came down to it, these kids didn’t know how to problem solve, love well or handle life, in general. Ouch.
Parents can want their kids to grow up to be successful so bad, they, ironically, can prevent it.