My Students Evaluate Their Parent(s’) Parenting

In response to a chapter on the downsides of “hyper-intensive parenting” in Ruth Whippman’s America the Anxious.

I’ve just started chipping away at the behemoth pile of essays, so this may be coincidental, but a theme of tough-minded, strict disciplinarian parents is emerging. The 18 and 19 year old students are mostly appreciative of their hard ass parent(s).

Except for one little thing, as a student who moved to the Pacific Northwest from Mexico at age 8 explained. She wrote eloquently about being afraid of her mom and emotionally stunted because she never had anyone to discuss her feelings with. A lot of the time she’s not sure what she feels, and when she has some modicum sense of them, she doesn’t know what to do with them. And she concedes, she’s wholly incapable of asking for help.

I used “little” above facetiously because emotional intelligence is THE BIG THING. They think their future success hinges on picking the exact right academic major or getting good grades. But their relationship success, professionally, but especially personally, will hinge in large part on their ability to calmly and constructively discuss their’s and other people’s feelings.

What say you, should I tell them or just let them discover that on their own through inevitable trials and tribulations?

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