Looking over summer homework assignments, last-minute shopping for clothes and supplies, and checking classroom placements — these are among the things parents do in the final weeks before their children start school.
We don’t want to add too many new items to the list. In fact, we’d suggest that if anything, many parents are doing too much. The price is children who aren’t really ready — not for school, and not for life.
While writing our book about the struggles of college students to adapt to independence, we saw clearly that it’s never too early for parents to start being careful about not being too careful with their children. If they don’t, their kids may have a greater chance of turning out like many of today’s college students: sheltered, dependent and unprepared for adult life.
Our national surveys of campus officials and students and our site visits to 31 campuses paint a picture of what one Midwestern regional university official calls “the You Generation,” because the students have been told since infancy: “You are great. You are wonderful.” The result is students who grow up feeling a sense of entitlement and looking to others to make them whole and address their challenges.