To coddle or not to coddle…..what was the question?
Today has been interesting in so many ways and yet, I learned quite a bit too. You see, what started as a day of volunteering at a Career day in my Church, became one so fascinating, I began in earnest to record some of what I was hearing. So parents, I need you to grab that cup of your favorite liquid, put up those feet, and really pay attention…. Ready?
It is Saturday morning and like most adults, life would have been grand if I was allowed to sleep in; but when it applies to helping young people, I find the spring in my step and soul to galvanize me out the door in anticipation of what I would learn and find. Well, I was not disappointed. Not even a little bit. As I roamed through the rooms, I began having an earnest conversation with an educator about one of my sons and was interrupted by a college recruiter who wanted to know, how was I able to send this child to college and LET him navigate his way through with counselors, housing, etcetera without getting involved?
I responded that as my children got older, I made them shoulder a bit more responsibility each year, in an effort to make them totally self reliant by a certain age, all while keeping an eye on them from a distance. With that response, yet another recruiter joined the conversation and asked if there was a way for me to convey this message to other parents because they ( Colleges) are STILL receiving calls from parents while their children are in the MASTERS programs asking things like, ” when is their application due, how much time does their child have to turn in work and is it possible to adjust grades.” Say what now?
I was beyond stunned at what I was hearing… young people in the mid twenties with parents still hovering and making decisions for them…. This gave me such a chuckle and then it got serious and began to make sense. This is why we have so many college educated people who are socially inept because their parents continued to hover, make decisions and ” fix” any problems perceived or otherwise. How are your children to survive like this? Where do we draw the line and allow our young people to mature by making decisions and learning through trial and error?
But it gets better. One recruiter said she has a brother in his late 30’s, college educated, has a job, but continues to run home to their mother to get him out of debt and fix all his problems. Mom does it, she says, because he is the only boy and he is special… I could clearly see this young man was not boyfriend, never mind husband material for anyone, because the lesson he has learned is that someone will always take care of him.
So parents, here are some hard truths we have got to embrace:
- We made mistakes as teenagers and as much as we want to keep our children from going through what we did, chances are, they will repeat some of those mistakes and sometimes worse.
- Allow your children to learn from their errors. If you fix everything, the message they get is an erroneous one that you will have to deal with.
- Make them responsible as they get older. Coddling children into adulthood is counter productive in a myriad of ways.
- Teach them how to work for,and earn things they want
- Teach them the value of money through your examples. Nothing comes easy. They need to know that.
- When they get to college, allow them to find their way as much as possible.
- When they leave the nest, let them stay out unless they have a great reason for returning or you will never get rid of them
- Teach them how to set goals and to be grateful for what they have.
When we coddle our children into adulthood, we have essentially raised whiney, over reliant people who cannot function among us, and who wants to deal with that other than you?
Spare us please… turn off the Helicopter blades and come in for a smooth landing…