This is a great article from the Washington Post that talks about the negative impact of over-protecting out kids. Great article! Follow Link
Watched the movie Chef over the weekend. What a great film. People will be drawn in by the story and the food (which was great), but what I enjoyed most about the film was the development of the main character's relationship with his son. Definitely worth a watch!
I had a parent ask me recently how she could create a greater sense of urgency in her 22 year-old son around his job search. In this case, her son was living in a situation where all of his basic needs were being met (room, board, internet access, cell phone) and he was receiving an allowance of up to $50/week based on the chores that he completed. Needless to say, he was putting very little energy into looking for a job.
Without passing any judgment, when we look at why he is not motivated to find work, it is pretty easy to see what is going on. He has no need to find work. Couple that with the fact that finding work is an uncomfortable process (it is for almost all of us!), and it becomes really clear why there has not been a lot of progress in the search for a job.
In order for his level of motivation to change, we need to think about how to alter the context. The quickest way to change this context is to start working to move her son out of his comfortable situation. In working with his parents, we agreed that the first steps to take were to start to limit his "allowance, giving him notice that his allowance would be reduced by 50% after 2 weeks, and then would be eliminated entirely in one month. In addition, we worked on a plan to have him move into his own residence, and also to create a budget that increased the need for her son to find a job. One ideal that we talked about would be for the parents to initially pay for the rent, basic utilities, and medical insurance, and that he had to pay for all other expenses (food, toiletries, household expenses, cell phone, internet/cable, cigarettes, coffee, and spending money). This creates a very different context for their son, and his need to find work. When the context is changed to where he will not be able to buy food if he doesn’t get a job, there will certainly be more immediacy in his job search.
The thought that arose as we were talking about making these changes, was whether she and her husband could tolerate the uncomfortable thought of her son being in this new context, especially if he continued to not be proactive in looking for work and had to live with the natural consequence of not having money to buy food. It is really hard to hold this thought, and square it with the idea that they really do love and care for their son. This is one of the challenges of parenting; holding that sometimes the most loving and supportive thing you can do for your child is help them to become more independent, even when it mean enduring the short-term discomfort that accompanies change.
The first week of February brought a couple of fairly cold days to Boulder Valley with early morning temperatures at -10F one day and -18F on another. For the first time in recent history the school district determined that schools should be closed due to the inclement weather. It was interesting because this decision prompted a number of letters to the editor in our local paper, the Boulder Daily Camera. There were people who wrote in on both sides of the issue, but what was interesting was the gender spit on the perspectives: women were universally in support of the school district’s decision and felt that protecting the kids was paramount, while men were universally concerned that by closing school, we missed an opportunity for our kids to work through adversity and learn how to adapt and be resourceful and resilient. There are merits in both perspectives, and I suppose that the balance of the two perspectives is essential for the long term survival of our species, but it seems crucial that our young men have opportunities to feel their own strength and inner resources in dealing with uncomfortable situations like getting to school on a cold morning. The ability to deal with adversity and discomfort is one skill that separates the men from the boys.
Patrick Wilson is committed to igniting purposeful action in young men. With 9 years of coaching experience, and over 6 years of working exclusively with young men, he has a clear understanding of specific challenges that boys face in stepping into manhood.