Monday, July 13, 2015

Rigidly structured childhoods and psychological blowback in college

 A recent article on published excerpts from How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former Stanford University dean: 
"In my years as dean, I heard plenty of stories from college students who believed they had to study science (or medicine, or engineering), just as they'd had to play piano, and do community service for African, and, and, and. I talked with kids completely uninterested in the items on their own resumes. Some shrugged off any right to be bothered by their own lack of interest in what they were working on, saying, "My parents know what's best for me...

In a 2013 survey of college counseling center directors, 
  • 95% said the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern on their campus, 
  • 70% said the number of students on their campus with severe psychological problems has increased in the past year,
  • reported that 24.5% of student clients were taking psychotropic drugs. 
 ...The increase in mental health problems among college students may reflect the lengths to which we push kids toward academic achievement, but since they are happening to kids who end up at hundreds of schools in every tier, they appear to stem not from what it takes to get into the most elite schools but from some facet of American childhood itself...

The data emerging about the mental health of our kids only confirms the harm done by asking so little of them when it comes to life skills yet so much of them when it comes to adhering to the academic plans we've made for them."

Continue reading here.