Hara Marano, editor-at-large and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been watching a disturbing trend: kids are growing up to be wimps. They can’t make their own decisions, cope with anxiety, or handle difficult emotions without going off the deep end. Teens lack leadership skills. College students engage in deadly binge drinking. Graduates can’t even negotiate their own salaries without bringing mom or dad in for a consult. Why? Because hothouse parents raise teacup children—brittle and breakable, instead of strong and resilient. This crisis threatens to destroy the fabric of our society, to undermine both our democracy and economy. Without future leaders or daring innovators, where will we go? So what can be done?
Kids would play in the street until their mothers hailed them for supper, and unless a child was called into the principal’s office, parents and teachers met only at organized conferences. Nowadays, parents are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives—even going so far as using technology to monitor what their kids eat for lunch at school and accompanying their grown children on job interviews. What is going on?
Hothouse parenting has hit the mainstream—with disastrous effects. Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the lumps and bumps out of life for their children, but the net effect of parental hyperconcern and scrutiny is to make kids more fragile. When the real world isn’t the discomfort-free zone kids are accustomed to, they break down in myriad ways. Why is it that those who want only the best for their kids wind up bringing out the worst in them? There is a mental health crisis on college campuses these days, with alarming numbers of students engaging in self-destructive behaviors like binge drinking and cutting or disconnecting through depression.
A Nation of Wimps is the first book to connect the dots between overparenting and the social crisis of the young. Psychology expert Hara Marano reveals how parental overinvolvement hinders a child’s development socially, emotionally, and neurologically. Children become overreactive to stress because they were never free to discover what makes them happy in the first place.
Through countless hours of painstaking research and interviews, Hara Marano focuses on the whys and how of this crisis and then turns to what we can do about it in this thought-provoking and groundbreaking book.