Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out

Excerpted from How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims, out now from Henry Holt and Co. Academically overbearing parents are doing great harm. So says Bill Deresiewicz in his groundbreaking 2014 manifesto Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. “[For students] haunted their whole lives by a fear of failure—often, in the first instance, by their parents’ fear of failure,” writes Deresiewicz, “the cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential.” Those whom Deresiewicz calls “excellent sheep” I call the “existentially impotent.” F

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