Julie Lythcott-Haims: We parents are overprotecting, overdirecting and doing a lot of hand-holding, ostensibly in furtherance of kids’ safety — physical, emotional — and security — emotional, academic, reputational, professional, financial. But also in furtherance of our own ego. Our kid becomes chronologically adult but still expects us to tell them what to do and how to do it, and is bewildered by the prospect of having to fend for themselves as an actual independent human. God help them when we are gone.
How are schools playing into this dynamic?
Lahey: Teachers and administrators complain about parents, but we helped create this frenzy … Teachers have come to accept that parents interfere and co-opt school projects and have begun to take that for granted when grading.
Lythcott-Haims: The other way in which high schools in particular play into the dynamic is during the college admission process, where they feel judged based on the brand names of the colleges their seniors get into, and their incentive is to brag about that.