Every parent wants to raise children that are strong, self-sufficient, and able to find success when they're out in the real world on their own. Yet all too often some of the strategies parents put forth to ensure the kind of upbringing that will put their kid on the path to success are what's holding them back. Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do draws the comparison of animals that are born and raised in captivity. Because of their upbringing, captive-raised animals typically aren't released into the wild because biologists say doing such would be cruel because they lack the essential life skills needed to survive on their own.
Many of these parenting tendencies have been bundled up into the term we know as helicopter parenting. Parents overstep by negotiating their child's conflict, shielding their child from failure, being overprotective, or imposing their own values onto their child. Morin names a long list of statistics demonstrating just how over-involved today's parents are in their children's lives—from submitted their adult children's résumés to calling HR departments to negotiate their salary. "If you don't think your child is able to get their own job or if you think they can't deal with workplace issues on their own, that's a big problem," notes Morin. "This is not to say they might not need your help." But instead of doing their work for them, Morin suggests parents provide a voice of guidance, offering words of wisdom rather than taking over action items.
"If you've always rescued your child from facing their own battles and sheltered them from responsibility, they'll lack the experience and confidence they need to get by in the real world," explains Morin. "Your child's future boss—or partner, for that matter—isn't interested in someone who still relies on their parents financially, physically, and emotionally." So what is the formula for a strong, self-assured kid who will grow up to be a successful, independent adult? Allow your child to experience failure, give them the space to tackle challenges and handle consequences on their own, and try to not shelter them from real-world realities. It is through overcoming difficulties independently that they build the skills necessary to handle and rise above everything that comes ahead.
Next up, find out why the latest parenting trends take a cue from the Dutch.