The Dangers of Perfect Parenting

Could you be too good of a parent?
It’s not a strange question. A fascinating cover piece in The Atlantic suggests that perfect parenting is prompting young adults to seek therapy. I wrote a post about this for my college blog over at CBS MoneyWatch. Here’s an excerpt from that post:
According to  The Atlantic article, perfect parenting is driving young adults into therapy. Curiously, these twenty and thirtysomethings aren’t complaining to their therapists about their parents. Rather they are gushing that their parents are wonderful. Some say that their moms and dads are their best friends.
The parents of these young adults typically gave their children the freedom to find themselves and encouraged them to pursue whatever would make them feel happy in life. Sound familiar?

What’s Wrong? Children Who Adore Their Parents

It’s no wonder that these grown children adore their parents, but nonetheless they complain of feeling adrift and unfulfilled even if they lead amazing lives. Lori Gottlieb, a therapist and the author of the magazine piece, who has counseled many of these adults, concluded that their parents could be guilty of being too good.
Children who experience an amazing childhood aren’t necessarily ready for the hard knocks of real life when they leave the nest. Parents, and I’m as guilty as anybody, have raised their kids during a time when everyone gets high-fives and praise for non-accomplishments. It’s no wonder that surveys show that American college students are off the charts in self confidence.
Here’s where you can read the rest of the post:

The Curse of Great Parents

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch and another for US News & World Report. Follow her on Twitter.

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  1. Lynn,
    I couldn’t agree with you more, and I am also one of these guilty parents! Fortunately my son has been wise enough to benefit from his parents’ support and influence while still asserting his own independence.
    There’s a great quote by Robert Heinlein:“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”