HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT
The New York Times best seller, "How to raise an adult and break free of the over-parenting trap and prepare your kid for success" by Julie Haims has lots of good advise for raising your children. We are all mammals after all. We may be mammals with clothing, umbilical cord cell phones attached.
In the wild our mammal counterparts raise offspring until they can fend for themselves, Weeks or months, at some point the young mammals are encouraged to become independent, In fact, it is the job of the parent to put themselves out of a job by raising offspring who will thrive in the absence of their parents. Our fellow wild creatures do a better job of letting go then we do.
We who are helicopter parents keep our children dependent on good old mom and dad/ grandparents for sometimes decades. The average age for a young man in Canada to leave his parent’s house is 27. Girls are more independent and leave home after graduating from university.
We warehouse our youth in universities to obtain their education with BA’s MA’S and PHD’S which is supposed to guarantee a gold plated career. Many of our university graduates have not learned the necessary life skills to be successful. The folks pay for the tuition, apartment and social amenities with the hope that finally their adult students can take care of themselves. Many of them do not have a clue what they are going to do after they graduate. You have heard of welfare: welcome to the new world of pappa, mamma fare. Often times our children sadly have not learned to say please or even thank-you.
After graduation many of our grads are off to South East Asia - Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia for six months to find themselves often paid for by the parents who are oh so proud that their children’s accomplishments. They did not have to travel abroad to find themselves; they only have to look in the mirror and voila there they are.
After the adventure abroad the world traveler needs a few months to orientate themselves to the new life style while staying with the folks. If you suggest that they actively seek out work by hitting the pavement they report that they are looking–on-line. Sleeping in till noon and hanging out with like minded grads on Richmond Row there is no fear that they will go hungry. Suggest to your former world traveler that you would like to have them pay a nominal amount for room and board from their trust fund and they will be miffed and will move in with a friend.
I have friends who have 40-50 year old sons who are dependent on their parents for financial help. It`s not the " boys" fault: they have learned helplessness from their parents. Most "Junior the Moochers" come from upper class hard working families who have always gone out of their way to fix all of their children`s concerns. Recently I was admonished by a mother for stating that: "I thought it was wrong to take care of all the wants of my adult children." They are not entitled. No money for fancy cars, apartments, clothes or Visa Card bills
One of my very handsome university drop outs recently told me that he was a waiter. ``What restaurant`` I inquired. ``Not that kind of waiter" he laughed, " he was waiting for his parents to die``
I helped my daughter, Sarah, pay her university second semester tuition fees after seeing her acceptable transcript of her first semester. She graduated from Althouse College of Education in June and she was employed in September by the Toronto Board of Education.
If parents always do it for their children 1-12 years of age there is no reason for them to do it for themselves. Hopefully they are self sufficient adults when they are 18-50 standing on their own two feet.
When I was a little boy when I fell down my father would always tell me; "to come on over to him and he would pick me up."
As parents our dream was to have a child, but we can not forget that our children have a right to dream for themselves. But overlapping causes harm. It can leave young adults without the strengths of skill, will and good character that are needed to know themselves to craft a life. They must be authors of themselves.
I still remember the movie, "The Piano", where a young rich women, who was abandoned on the beach; when asked to put on her dress, raised up her arms into the air and asks to be dressed.
My definition for success for our children is as follows: Good ability, good work ethic, good willpower and the desire to embrace positive change.