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Why Mentally Strong Parents Let Their Kids Fight Their Own Battles

Sheltering your children might do them more harm than good.

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BY Amy Morin - 14 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The following is an excerpt from the book 13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PARENTS DON’T DO: Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Life of Happiness, Meaning, and Success by Amy Morin. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Morin. On sale September 19 from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

When animals are born and raised in captivity they aren’t usually released into the wild. Biologists say letting these animals fend for themselves is cruel, because they lack the life skills they need to survive on their own.

But that’s what many parents do to their kids. They do everything for their children and their kids grow up unprepared for the rigors of adulthood. They lack the skills necessary to succeed in college, the military, or a job. That’s why we’re seeing another disturbing trend--parents becoming overly involved in their adult children’s employment. In a 2007 survey conducted by Michigan State University, 32 percent of large companies report they hear from employees’ parents.

While 31 percent of hiring managers say they’ve seen parents submit their children’s résumés for them, 4 percent say they’ve experienced parents attend interviews with their adult children, and 9 percent say parents have tried negotiating their child’s salary.

Some HR departments report getting phone calls from parents when their employees receive disciplinary action. Just like in middle school, young adults are complaining to Mom and Dad when they get in trouble. And parents are getting involved and trying to ensure that their children aren’t held responsible when they mess up in the office.

If you don’t think your child is able to get his own job, or you think he can’t deal with workplace issues on his own, that’s a big problem. This is not to say she might not need your help. She may have questions about how to negotiate her salary or she may want you to read over her résumé. Offering your words of wisdom can be helpful. But that’s different than taking over and doing things for your child.

If you’ve always rescued your child from facing his own battles and sheltered him from responsibility, he’ll lack the experience and confidence he needs to get by in the real world. Your child’s future boss--or partner, for that matter--isn’t interested in someone who still relies on his parents financially, physically, and emotionally.

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