Experts say kids are less stressed about school when parents learn to relax

"I don't know how we're preparing kids to solve their own problems if we're not even letting them take a shot at it."

Suzanne Monaghan
September 01, 2018 - 9:32 am
parent with child

Valerii Honcharuk | Dreamstime.com

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's back to school time, and experts say more than ever parents are overprotective and overly concerned with academic achievement. And that leads to stressed-out kids.

When parents are too involved in their children's social and academic success, it leads to anxiety for the parent and the child.

"Parents get nervous because they think, 'If my kid's not doing well now, how are they ever going to get into a good college? And if they don't go to a good college, how are they going to get a good job?  And if they don't get a good job then how are they going to make money? And if they don't make money, how are they going to support themselves right?' So they put together this catastrophic domino effect," said author and family therapist Adam Russo.

Parental stress over children's academic success isn't going to secure their future, says Russo.  

"I see it happening as young as second grade with families, like: Is my secnd grader going to get into honors math? You know, who cares? I mean the thing of it is that all those objective indicators on honors classes or test scores or GPA, things like that, they're not correlated to success in adulthood."

However, learning to deal with challenges is. Allowing kids to solve their own academic and social problems does contribute to becoming a secure, adaptable adult, he says.

"I don't know how we're preparing kids to solve their own problems if we're not even letting them take a shot at it at younger ages," Russo said.

"Every adult knows that a stressful life is ahead, yet as adults we shield our kids from this stress, and then we get surprised as kids get older that they can't cope with stress."

Russo says parents should coach kids through their problems rather than solving them.