Try to loosen your grip on your children.
You want to help your children as much as you can, but are you overhelping them?
"We want so badly to help them by shepherding them from milestone to milestone, and by shielding them from failure and pain. But over-helping causes harm," she writes. "It can leave young adults without the strengths of skill, will and character that are needed to know themselves and to craft a life."
If you're too involved with your children's lives and take care of every problem or challenge they face, you rob them of learning about who they are at their core, how to problem-solve, and how to navigate the world and life as an adult.
The increase in mental health problems among college students may reflect the lengths in which helicopter parents push them toward academic achievement. In 2013, the American College Health Association surveyed close to 100,000 college students from 153 different campuses about their health, and the results are distressing.
When asked about their experiences, at some point over the past 12 months...
- 84% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do
- 60% felt very sad
- 57% percent felt very lonely
- 51% felt overwhelming anxiety
- 8% seriously considered suicide
"Our job as a parent is to put ourselves out of a job," said Lythcott-Haims. "We need to know that our children have the wherewithal to get up in the morning and take care of themselves."
Parents can teach their children to be self-sufficient by allowing them to be their own advocates, as well as promoting skills they'll need in real life. Lastly, give them enough room to practice those skills on their own and let them fail, so they can learn from their mistakes and pick them themselves up. Failing isn't the end of the world — it's merely a step in the process.
You want your child to well academically, but they need to learn things for themselves so that when faced with life and school challenges, they can handle them.