Overprotective parents raise ‘lazy’ teens

Overinvolved parents are raising “lazy,” unmotivated teen-age boys, writes therapist Adam Price in the Wall Street Journal.

Parents complain their children — especially their sons — aren’t achieving their “potential.” His practice is seeing more “college students, home for a year because when the parents, tutors, coaches and, yes, therapists were no longer around, they failed.”

It’s hard to be motivated by someone else’s goals. Teens crave autonomy, Price writes. Many parents won’t let their children make their own decisions and live with the consequences.

. . . the lack of motivation is not the root problem: For many children, it is the lack of accountability. Parents remove that when they try to protect their children from suffering in the future by doing everything possible to make them successful today

He suggests parents stop telling their kids they’re smart or too “special” to take out the garbage. Set limits. Don’t “saddle children with unrealistic expectations.”

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  1. Right. Has nothing to do with the high school’s decision to base grades on teacher pleasing behavior rather than scholarship. Also has nothing to do with the lack of study skills, or suddenly having to actually master content for the long term at a warp instead of fully included drifting to nowhere speed.
    These boys need real high school classes, not full inclusion pap.

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    Hmmm. Didn’t click through and read the entire article but as the parent of two teens there’s another reason why parents protect kids from consequences. Having a child fail is embarrassing. If you live in a community with any kind of standards or have an extended family with certain expectations letting junior fail in any big way can be quite embarrassing to the parents; many of them will preserve the appearance of success to preserve their own reputation and status.

    As the parents of a dyslexic and an aspie the guilt and embarrassment came early and hard for my husband and I, and our boys – at the ages of 15 and 17- have struggled and overcome more than any typical kid experiences. Without the hard stuff life is weak sauce. Why would you want to serve your kid weak sauce?

    • superdestroyer says:

      Another way to put this, there are no second chances when it comes to education. IF a kid screws around in junior high and does not get on the college prep AP.IB track in high school, then many career tracks are off the table. If a kid fails in high school, then a number of career tracks fall off the table. If the kid does not succeed in college, career tracks fall off the table. If a kid screws up in law school or graduate school, career tracks fall off the table.

      There is a ratchet effect when it comes to careers, one cannot get back on track after falling off. No one in Harvard Law School as ever failed in a meaningful way.

  3. Well, it would also help if Mommy (or Daddy) didn’t make an “emergency” run to school because Junior forgot his lunch or history project. Let the kid go hungry once at lunch, and he’s much less likely to forget his lunch a second time.

    Unfortunately, though, if the parents did that in today’s snoopy, busybody climate, somebody would lodge a complaint against the parents with Child Protective Services or something ~