Julie was Dean of Freshman at Stanford University and she noticed a growing trend over recent years. Many students were struggling with depression and anxiety about school and life because these young adults’ sense of independence hadn’t been cultivated. She is a dynamic speaker and understands the pressure of students and parents wanting their teens to attend a highly regarded college. In a parent’s effort to help their teen maintain a high GPA for college entrance, many parents will do some of the homework, such as write their teen’s research paper. A parent may also help the teen choose his or her college classes. She mentions “Helicopter Parenting” where the parent hovers over their teen continually directing him or her. She points out that these teens grow to become more dependent on their parents and rarely develop their own visions and passions. Even if the teens are aware of their vision and passion, the parent’s decision or “wisdom” overrides it. These teens go to college unable to make decisions. These teens enter college without resilience to challenges because their parents overprotected them when obstacles appeared in their childhood and adolescence. Depression and anxiety sets in when these college students become fearful of the challenges and can’t decide on a direction that truly fulfills them and not their parents’ vision for them. Happiness is a precursor to success and not the other way around. Often, these college students lack initiative in the workplace. They have not learned independence. They have not learned how their choices are directly correlated to the results or consequences because the choices they have made in the past relied on the parental demands. Of course, not all teens enter college lacking a sense of independent thinking. Nevertheless, Julie reminds us to pay attention to the messages we are sending to our teens. Independence begins in the home.
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