The coddling of today’s generation

The coddling of todays generation

Alex Caceres, Reporter

      Growing up in today’s modern world, teens are inevitably exposed to people, ideas, and behaviors that their parents may deem “inappropriate.” Because of this, parents often shield their teens from the outside world in order to keep them “safe.” But at what point does a parent’s “protection” become harmful? Where is the line that separates normal concern from excessive control drawn? 

     Overprotective parents may believe that their children will be better off if they are shielded from real-world experiences because their main goal is to safeguard children’s emotional and physical welfare. However, impeding teens from having escapades away from their parents’ watchful eyes or heavily relying on unfair punishments when their teen “misbehaves,” actually produces young adults who will be more likely to lie and in turn take more risks. In fact, the Newport Academy, a “mental health treatment program for depression, anxiety, and trauma-related issues and addiction” that has the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities’ approval, claims that 75% of teens whose parents are overly controlling are more likely to lie.

     According to a report by Michigan State University, teens will become more susceptible to perilous situations in order to avoid parental punishment. If teens are denied independence, they are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors when given the chance to gain that independence back.

     Not only does overprotective parenting cause external issues in adolescents, but it can also lead to internal conflict. 

     ThriveWorks, a site whose authors are therapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, among other mental health professionals, reports that “coddling your kids can even lead to the development of certain mental illnesses, such as anxiety.” Parents who “hover” and handle challenges for their child rather than letting them be in control create underprepared teens who are afraid or even completely unable to face adversity on their own.

     Some proponents of overprotective or “helicopter” parenting argue that this form of care is actually beneficial because their kids may feel “supported” or “heard,” and that kids should take comfort in the fact that their parents have their backs, according to GoodTherapy, the top online therapist directory. 

     However, this argument does not take into consideration the fact that children will not stay children forever. Children will grow up to become, hopefully, independent and self-sufficient adults. To do this, they need to be taught skills and be provided with tools that allow them to excel on their own, not only personally but also professionally, from a young age.  

     Coddling and overprotecting children and teens makes for underprepared young adults who are more likely to take risks and participate and engage in activities that threaten both their physical and emotional well-beings. If parents took a more laid-back approach and allowed their kids more freedom while still providing them with the necessary tools and information to keep them safe, today’s generation could grow up to be more competent, responsible, and reasonable. Abandoning this style of parenting now will positively impact subsequent generations and, in turn, construct a stronger and healthier society.