It’s time to start teaching our kids how to ‘adult’
There’s nothing I love more than holding my child’s hand as we stroll down the street, so when my oldest dropped my hand and ran ahead at school drop off for the first time, I felt a little hurt.
I didn’t want to let go of our long-winded goodbyes at her classroom door, but she was ready to go in by herself.
I soon realized that it wasn’t a milestone to be mourned, it was a moment to be proud. My daughter was taking her first step towards independence, and it was my job to let her do so.
Nowadays, it seems as though parents just can’t let go, hand-holding all the way through the high school years, and in many cases, right through to adulthood.
I’m constantly hearing from friends who are high school teachers, university professors, and employers, who say that parents today are coddling their kids like never before. They’re calling teachers to dispute grades on their child’s behalf, dropping off resumes, and even calling in sick for their children when they can’t make it into work.
In an article by Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kids for Success, she explains how she first recognized a shift in her college students as they became overly dependent on their parents during her work at Stanford University as a freshman dean.
Suddenly, she noticed an overwhelming presence of parents on campus, not only getting involved in every aspect of their child’s post-secondary schooling, but actually doing most of the things for their fully-grown children.
As a result, she noticed that her students “didn’t seem to know how to contend with what life would throw their way. They didn’t know how to sit with discomfort or indecision or opportunity and emerge with their own sense of how to move forward.” She recognized that her students had become “so intertwined with their parents they didn’t seem to know how to be their own selves.”
We’ve become so all-consumed by our children that we’re holding them back from properly growing up, and if we don’t encourage them to let go of our hands, they’re going to fall when it comes time to ‘adult’ on their own in the real world.
We need to put our foot down as parents if we want our kids to learn how to stand on their own two feet. We have to teach them how to do things for themselves, let them fail, and let them learn through experience if we want them to succeed. It’s time to start teaching our kids how to ‘adult’ instead of doing all the grownup work for them. Learning to let them go earlier on will bring them closer in the end.