"I'm going to tell my mommy on you!"

For all the talk about the importance of emotional intelligence, many American kids today seem to lack it.

[University] housing officials say… students seem to lack the will, and skill, to address these ordinary conflicts. “We have students who are mad at each other and they text each other in the same room,” says Tom Kane, director of housing at Appalachian State University, in Boone, N.C. “So many of our roommate conflicts are because kids don’t know how to negotiate a problem.”

…Administrators point to parents who have fixed their children’s problems their entire lives. Now in college, the children lack the skills to attend to even modest conflicts. Some parents continue to intervene on campus.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I am talking to a student and thinking I am making headway and the student gets out their phone and says, ‘Can you talk to my mom about this?’ ” Mr. Kane says. Or housing officials field calls from parents pleading or demanding that the college get involved in a dispute, only for the officials to discover that the dispute was little more than a minor irritation, if anything.

…Ms. English says: “It surprises me when students say, ‘My roommate’s mother called and yelled at me,’ and I think, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I can’t believe parents call students. Ten years ago, I never heard of that.”

…Five years ago, 5 to 10 students at Marist might have asked to change roommates after the first six weeks; now 30 to 40 do.

Parenting is not about solving your child’s every problem and satisfying their every desire. Proper parenting involves teaching your kids to cooperate, share, and compromise and letting them make and learn from mistakes. Disappointment is part of life, and the earlier kids experience small-scale disappointments, the better. Giving them every toy they want and letting them stay up past their bedtimes or watch TV whenever they want is the road to future disappointment. Boundaries and rules are important because kids need to become increasingly responsible and self-sufficient.

Posted by James on Friday, July 23, 2010