Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Former Standford Dean Saw the Pitfalls of Helicopter Parenting

Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former Stanford Dean, has seen students enter the prestigious school for many years. In a Washington Post article, she reported an increased trend of students who were well prepared academically, but ill prepared to take care of themselves. She saw parents who were so concerned with protecting their children from disappointment and failure that they robbed them of developing the skills necessary for adulthood. The focus was on building their academic accolades, not resilience. In the article, Lythcott-Haims argues, "such 'overhelping' might assist children in developing impressive résumés for college admission, but it also robs them of the chance to learn who they are, what they love and how to navigate the world."

Parents feel a lot of pressure to provide their children with every advantage to get into a "good" college. What may have begun as, "I just want my child to be happy," "I want them to develop their own interests," or "Everyone has different strengths," turns into a focus on GPA, number of advanced classes, and whether or not their educational experience looks good on paper. In doing so, parents often fall into the trap of rescuing their kids from making and learning from mistakes, preventing them from achieving their accomplishments on their own, and figuring out what path is right for them.

Parent Tips
1.  Confidence Comes with Experience
Children and teens need to learn how to solve problems through experience. They need to be supported in coming up with the solutions themselves and seeing if they work. The best way to build confidence is for kids to experience making mistakes and knowing they have the skills to fix future mistakes.

2.  Focus on the Process Over the Product
Praise the "process" and effort your child puts toward a task, rather than the outcome, even if the outcome wasn't what he or she expected. Talk about how your child tried to achieve a goal, whether or not it worked.

3.  Strong Grades, Not Good Grades
Talk about whether or not a test score or grade is strong for your particular child in that particular subject. An A may be a strong grade for one child, but a B may be a strong grade for another child who isn't as skilled in that subject area.

4.  Don't Associate Grades with Intelligence
Grades measure academic skill, not intelligence. Some students are more academically gifted than others. However, that does not mean they are more intelligent.

For the complete Washington Post article, follow this link.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Yes! It is Okay to Read Your Kids' Texts and Here is Why

Almost every parent we talk to asks us if it is okay to check their kids' texts. We say, "Yes!" Here is why:

1.     Kids need to learn that texts are NEVER private. When they put something in writing and hit "send", it is out there and there is nothing they can do about who sees it. Kids tell us every week of instances when the text recipient promised not to share something they sent, but did. By the way, adult's texts are not totally private either. If someone sends me a text, even on a lock-screen, that text is displayed for everyone to see.

2.    They are learning to take a pause and be considerate in what they write and how they write it. There are many misunderstandings that occur in a text conversation. However, if kids write a text like their parent is looking over their shoulder, they are less likely to impulsively send something they wish they could take back. This is very important for this generation of instant gratification.

3.    They will think about the topics they are texting about. If kids think their parents may see something they text, it requires them to censor themselves. This is very important in a culture of kids where sexting and cyberbullying are common.

What to Tell Your Kids

"I want you to know that your texts are not private. Texting is a tricky thing to learn and there are a lot of ways kids get themselves in trouble for things they write in texts. You have no control over who sees your text once you send it. That is true for anything you put in writing, like emails. I agree 100% that you need privacy. You can have that through voice to voice conversations, either over the phone or in person. I don't want you to ever use texting as a way to communicate private things."

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