Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Children Really Need for ‘Back to School.' From the NYTimes.


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.


1 comment:

  1. Hmm. . .between this and the recent "grounding helicopter parents" column, I rather like the direction the current advice to parents is going. Perhaps there might be improvement on the horizon? Of course, we don't know how the parents are responding/will respond; they may just take such suggestions as more evidence that faculty are lazy, unhelpful, and overpaid relative to the work they/we do(n't do).

    From my perspective, any home experience that helps a prospective student learn to take care of him/herself, pitch in when help is needed, and generally be proactive and resilient will serve hir well in the college environment. Students are going to need to be tough, resourceful, and independent to get a decent education at our increasingly underfunded, overcrowded, generally overwhelmed educational institutions. It can still be done, but if they hang around waiting for the adults to guide/nurture/coddle them, they'll either end up with a degree but not much of an education (thanks to overwhelmed faculty/lowered standards), or neither a degree nor an education.


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