I recently interviewed a professor at a major university about her research on "helicopter parenting". It was amazing to me to hear her discuss her findings on college campuses where parents continue to hover over their "almost" adult children by working on their papers, calling or visiting professors about grades, and even trying to register for classes for their kids. Oh my gosh!!
My chance to stay connected to my kids while in college has passed but I do remember when they did not return my phone call. This study makes me think their professors would? Our guest even discussed parents who work on their children's resumes for jobs, go on the interviews and I guess deposit their paychecks for them once they are employed? When does this all stop?
I think the one of the greatest lessons you can teach your children is independence and resilience. We have discussed this over and over on our radio show, online, through twitter , facebook and I discuss this frequently in my practice.
I am as guilty as any parent of wanting to stay close to my kids. I miss them a lot and wish they would call more often just to chat (why would they do that when they were not chatters even while living at home)? I have even been known to email them with the condition that their allowance would not be deposited that month if they did not pick up the phone rather than send me a text "school is great, remember it is first of the month".
To teach this independence you have to start young, and I mean when they are toddlers. You have to let them fall down; there is not a way to prevent every fall. You have to get rid of the bottle and teach them to use a cup, let them feed themselves even if it is messy and learn to put themselves to sleep at night. And that is just the beginning, but these are all things that parent's need to know. It is time to get back to the basics, including letting young adult children go to college classes alone. I am not about to write a college essay, I might not pass.
How do you teach your kids independence? Let me know and share with other parents!