Parenting Your Emerging Adult for College and Career Success

Will your parenting style promote the college and career success of your emerging adult? How much parent involvement encourages the development of critical skills needed for future success? Which educational and employment situations should parents let young adults handle on their own? How can parents influence college and career success?

Parent involvement or over-involvement

As emerging adults head off to college or take the first steps in their career, parents want to be involved, now more than ever. In “Is There an App for That?” Autonomy and Dependency in Today’s College Students, authors Diane R. Dean and Arthur Levine gained insight from college deans about the effects of parenting on students. Dean and Levine point out that too much parent involvement hinders the development of skills that students need for college and career success. Parents should consider their parenting style and identify any over-involvement that may be result in more harm than good.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Parenting for College and Career Success

  • Do listen to the college and career choices of your emerging adult. Don’t push them in the direction you would necessarily choose for them. Parents and emerging adults often differ in thoughts when it comes to choosing perfect college, major, or job ladder. When parents encourage supported exploration of college and career planning, emerging adults essentially take responsibility for their future.
  • Do encourage your emerging adult to attend meetings with advisors/counselors/professors on their own. Don’t be the parent who goes in place of your child. The obligation to retain information about what classes to take, how to raise a low grade point average, or when to plan for a study abroad program should fall on the emerging adult, not the parent. As college students take charge of their educational appointments, they figure out how to manage important engagements, how to pay attention in meetings, and how to follow-up with any questions left unanswered. When emerging adults accept the responsibility of meeting with college officials, they get practice collaborating with figures of authority, which will be beneficial upon graduation and entry into a professional field.
  • Do read your child’s papers if they ask for help. Don’t make the edits yourself. It’s alright to make a few suggestions or to challenge the way a point is presented. However, sitting down at the computer and rearranging an assignment so it will be a guaranteed “A” inhibits your emerging adult from critically thinking, as well as suppresses the development of essential coping and young adult life skills needed to deal with disappointment.
  • Do make yourself available to brainstorm when your emerging adult is stuck on a school or work project. Don’t come up with the plans on your own. Bouncing ideas around with your emerging adult will stimulate innovation and may give them a fresh perspective. Putting your heads together will be good practice for when your emerging adult needs to creatively collaborate with colleagues.
  • Do research with your emerging adult on how to create the perfect resume. Don’t do all the work for them. Resume writing is the first step an emerging adult will take in representing their professional persona. It can be a great exercise in identity-building, as putting together a resume enables an emerging adult to understand personal strengths while highlighting achievements and learning to verbalize their accomplishments.

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