Overparenting Leads to Kids Being Unprepared for College

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By Susan Heckler

Teach your children well takes on new meaning. Around the country, students are moving into college dorms for the first time, totally unprepared emotionally. Kids arrived at college without some basic living skills.
Parents have been becoming increasingly involved in their children’s lives, hovering over their every move to the point of being termed Helicopter Parents.
The First Year College Experience survey, conducted by Harris Poll for The JED Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and The Jordan Porco Foundation, found that 60 percent of freshmen said they wished they had “more help getting emotionally ready for college.” That means 40% are ready. If you got a 40% on an exam, what does that mean…we have failed.
They had a slamming GPA and their SAT scores rocked, but in most cases emotional preparedness was severely lacking. The survey of over 1,500 first-year college students showed that those who felt less emotionally prepared for college when compared to their peers had lower GPAs and were four times more likely (22 percent versus 5 percent) to describe their first-year experience as “terrible/poor.”
Over half of all freshmen in the survey said they were having a difficult time making new friends and struggling to feel as though they belonged. Your child needs to be accountable for their own decisions at some point in life. It is time to stop staying “we”.
Kids need to learn to advocate for themselves with their teachers, coaches, or other school staff. They should have these conversations themselves.
Parents need to step in to improve their child’s time management and independent living skills. They need resiliency, problem solving, self-advocacy, and time management as they move forward past high school graduation.
Stop doing your children’s homework. Didn’t you complete your own education already? Let them complete theirs! The only way kids will learn is by doing their work themselves. It is tempting to be the hero and do it for them with even better results, although I recently heard a family member discuss taking online accounting for their son and failing it!!
Stress management and coping skills are all components of developing emotional intelligence. Parents should not be too dismissive about the stress their teens are experiencing during this time, but also helping them navigate the stress while they are still at home in a way that builds their confidence.
At college, there won’t be anyone making sure Jody or Jimmy gets enough sleep, eats a balanced meal, has clean underwear, or gets to class prepared. Can they do their own laundry, take care of finances, and get herself to the infirmary if when sick. Young adults with ADHD or health issues may also be responsible for taking their medication.