We’ve been surfing the web doing research in preparation for the conversation about boys we are having on Friday with Dr. Robert Franklin and Gregory Hess, president of Wabash College, at the Chautauqua Institution (more on that in another post!) and have discovered some great articles which are definitely worth reading. We will share what we come across.
“Letter to My Son” by Ta-Nehisi Coates: This piece by noted writer Ta-Nehsi Coates published in The Atlantic has been excerpted from his forthcoming book “Between the World and Me”. Take the time to read through this letter in which Coates tells to his son how knowing American history and the culture it has created makes the racially charged horrors of today sadly predictable. His discussion of the fear that pervades young black men and the parents of young black men alike is so powerful. He gives you a lot to think about here.
OK all you parents of college children, here’s something else for you to worry about: recent studies have indicated that helicopter parenting is increasingly tied to depression and anxiety in college aged kids. Children whose parents have micromanaged their lives from pre school through high school get to college and have difficulty coping with the combination of their parents’ expectations and their newfound freedom. A survey of 300 college freshmen a few years ago revealed that students with helicopter parents were less open to new ideas and actions and more vulnerable, anxious, and self-conscious. Students not constantly monitored by their parents were less likely to suffer from anxiety. No research has suggested that hovering over your college son actually causes depression or anxiety–the adjustment to college life brings challenges unrelated to parenting influence–but a correlation has been shown. Read all about it here. As a college parent who has a tendency to hover, I can see its detrimental effects, and try hard to stand down when I am tempted to fix my children’s problems and monitor their behavior. Hard to stand down, since we are motivated by our love and concern for our kids, but really important for their feelings of self esteem to do so. The next time you are tempted to dive in to save your college child from some (non emergency) disaster, call a parent friend instead. Or send us a comment; we’ll talk you down!