Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that as another school year ends there is an increase in articles about the state of parenting and also how children are spending their time. I know I could choose not to read them, but I see such articles shared a lot online. It can be easy to point to —- (insert various labels or styles of) parenting as causing increased rates of anxiety, depression, low-resilience, entitlement, risky behaviour (or not enough risk-taking), etc. Some offer solutions or better strategies. Here are two articles I read recently about a new book, How to Raise an Adult:
What Overparenting Looks Like from a Stanford Dean’s Perspective (an excerpt from the book)
How to Raise an Adult (a review of the book)
The latter ends with a quote from the author of the book,
When parents laugh and enjoy the moment but also teach the satisfaction of hard work, when they listen closely but also give their children space to become who they are, they wind up with kids who know how to work hard, solve problems and savor the moment, too. In other words, get a life, and your child just might do the same someday.”
Sounds simple enough, but…
I talk with many parents now with older and adult children. Not all did the “bad” parenting behaviours often listed in various articles, yet their adult children are experiencing anxiety and other personal struggles as they try to take on more independent living. There is a lot of uncertainty — in post-secondary options, career planning, job stability, living affordability, etc. Young adults have absorbed many “messages” and expectations from schools, the workplace, family, peers, media, etc., and have to sort all that out. We have numerous conversations about this in my own family. It can be quite annoying when an 18 year old says, “I can do what I want — I am an adult now”… yet they clearly aren’t and haven’t taken on adult responsibilities and independence yet. This can be frustrating and discouraging for everyone.
I have posted previously about the hasty judgement of parents without taking the time to understand their context. I still wonder if the state of society and schools should be examined more often to clarify the ways parenting can be a response to certain conditions, expectations, and the “promises” of success. What are parenting “trends” a response to… rather than causing… ? Can the focus become more about changing the state of society and communities rather than the state or approach of parenting?
I need a bigger picture of what is impacting youth and young adults rather than just analyzing parenting. Are parenting articles and books really helpful, or do they just stress out parents even more? Let me know if you read the book!