Loosen those Reins


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Growing up, I was aware that some of my friend's parents had very different parenting styles than I was raised with. Some of my friend's parents were very strict, rarely allowing my friends to do any activity outside of school. Also, some of my other friend's parents were very carefree, often times not even knowing where their child was for the day or who they were with. I feel lucky that I was definitely in the middle of these two extremes. I was encouraged to get involved with activities outside of the school room and to make friends, but my parents also wanted to make sure that I was not getting myself into any trouble.A_mom_saying_goodbye_to_her_col.jpg

Now I am realizing how these parenting techniques alter how the child will behave and function in the real world or in college. It is often said that those children who are so controlled at home thrive off of their newly found freedom in college. Is this a negative consequence? I decided to look into the effects of parenting techniques on young adults.

I found an article, Controlling Parenting Could Cause Problems for Kids, that described just how these techniques can actually have a negative effect when the child grows into an adult and must learn how to function on their own. The article stated how the University of New Hampshire did research that showed strict parents were actually more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children. How could this be?
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The study showed that the children who were so coddled lacked trust in their parents and did not see them as legitimate authority figures. They also were the least independent and lacked tendencies to explore and learn from their surroundings. These children often would avoid any attempts their parents made to socialize them. I wonder if maybe these children were so reluctant to learn and discover on their own because they were too busy trying to find ways to go against what their parents wishes were for them. Yet, I still agree with the findings.

Instead, these parents should learn to "loosen their reins" a bit on their children. This will allow the children to grow up more and be able to control their own behaviors. This teaches the children the responsibility that they need to be mature adults and especially go to college where they will be on their own for most likely the first time. As the parents become less controlling, the child will begin to trust the parent more which also leads them to have more respect for them as an authority figure in their life.

Some statistics I found on overly controlled children show that 82% were rarely satisfied with themselves and would classify themselves as extreme perfectionists. Another huge statistic was that 91% of these children felt their parents did not even know who they were. 100% of these parents actually seemed unwilling to admit that their parenting techniques may have been detrimental to their children.
I think that this statistic about the parents is the most interesting because it is clear that the children are experiencing or feel they are experiencing detrimental effects from their upbringing yet the parents are too stubborn to listen and change their ways to better help their children.

I think this is important for parents to understand as their children age into adulthood and begin to transition into college. It seems as though from these studies it is important for parents to have a mutual respect and trust with their children which will allow for easy communication. I feel lucky that my parents had such a "middle of the road" parenting technique because I feel that now I had a very easy transition into college life and I know that even though I am independent, I can still tell my parents anything that bothers me or that I need help with.

How do you feel your parents' parenting techniques have prepared you for college? Or the real world?

3 Comments

I've actually seen this happen before with my friend. In high school her mom was very protective of her, and even once College started her mom wanted her to visit home a lot. Because of all this my friend kind of just went crazy once she got away to school, enjoying her new found freedom. Referring back to the beginning of your post, are there any negative (or positive for that matter) effects of the carefree parents? Did teens raised in that household act differently when they entered the college world (did it hinder them in any way)?
That would be an interesting topic to look at in connection to this one.

It's interesting to look at this from the other side too. The stereotype is that teenagers with non-strict parents will go on to be delinquents. I don't think that is necessarily true though. In order to become a delinquent teenager, I believe there are a lot of other factors that must also be present. For example, growing up, my mother was more than relaxed about what ever I wanted to do, and to be honest I think that made me a little nervous to do anything wrong just because I didn't want to lose her trust. So even though my parents were not strict growing up, I don't think it had any negative effects on my behavior as a college student.

I definitely agree that how a person is raised affects them for the rest of their life, especially when they go to college because it is such a big change that happens rather quickly.

I feel that my parents prepared me well, but also I believe that having an older brother (who went to college (and penn state) a few years before me) helped prepare me even well. I wonder if having older siblings who have gone to college helps students be more prepared for college? (Siblings are closer in age and therefore are more relatable.)

Also, this made me think about the recent controversy from Time magazine's article (and cover story) about attachment parenting (these children are breastfed much longer than the average child). Will kids whose parents used attachment parenting have a more difficult time adjusting to college and adult life?

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