Parenting college students is not easy, but come to think of it, neither was parenting a 2 year old. And while I KNEW I was a novice parent and was apt to pick-up a parenting book or ask for advise when my kids were 2, perhaps it might be good to admit my need for guidance now as my “kids” are emerging into adulthood. What is my role in their maturing? When do I intervene and when do I “stay out of it”?
Last night I ran across this article while my daughter and her boyfriend were hanging in the kitchen with me. As I read parts of it aloud, I reiterated (to them and to me) my role. My role is to help you move into adulthood, to move toward self-sufficiency and to help you discover (and grow) your own gifts of self-reliance.
Karen Able says it this way:
When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others. Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety.
The research data points to the mental health issues college students are facing. Some of this is not new, or so it seems to me. The transition into college is hard and many students do feel lonely and sad. But the over involvement of parents and the lack of experience with failure are factors that are different for many college students.
Here are some things to check out. For a good book see: How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims, out now from Henry Holt and Co.