When Hand-Holding Goes Too Far: Why Coddled College Kids Crash

When Hand-Holding Goes Too Far: Why Coddled College Kids Crash

It's time to cut the cord.

It is the role of the parents to socialize their children to become productive members of society. However, the infantilizing of America’s college students has gone too far. We go to college to begin our launch into the world of adulthood; however, this is impeded by parents who coddle their children in an attempt to ensure that their child will not experience failure. Failure, once a natural part of growth and a part of the path to success, has become a taboo. Debate, once a healthy part of classroom discussions, now leads to hurt feelings and the enforcement of “trigger warnings.” Our culture has changed, and instead of teaching young adults about the power and importance of independence, we are breeding a culture of sissies and cowards.

There are many ways in which I have personally observed parents of my friends, classmates, and peers coddling their children. Parents are constantly praising their children even when praise is not warranted. Of course, encouragement is always appropriate and is an important way to improve a student’s self-esteem. However, indiscriminate praise leads to the over-valuing of a student’s success which can then promote narcissistic attitudes and behaviors. Additionally, college is a place where students are expected to try new things and push themselves outside of their comfort zones. Therefore, it is inappropriate to constantly applaud a person for doing what is expected of him or her.

“Trigger Warnings” were originally created to alert readers or viewers that a piece of published material may cause anxiety or distress for people dealing with a trauma or grief. I am in no way diminishing the importance of “trigger warnings,” as long as it is used in the correct environment. If students demand trigger warnings before a discussion in an academic class, then how can they ever expect to be exposed to material that will push them outside of their comfort zones? The whole point of attending rigorous classes in college is to learn to think critically, learn to be self-reflexive, and to be exposed to new material. The demand for “trigger warnings” in the classroom is a definite way to make sure that you will not be challenged or have to discuss issues that may cause discomfort, completely minimizing the whole point of engagement in discussions during a college class.

Lastly, there are too many parents who are “failing to launch” their children into society. In fact, there has been a new syndrome, “Failure to Launch Syndrome” adopted by psychologists and psychiatrists when treating adolescents who are having a difficult time transitioning into phases of development that require an increased need for independence and autonomy. There needs to be a balance, and parents and children need to find the balance between dependence and independence.

College students in particular are at a crucial point in their lifetimes where they need to learn to function without mommy and daddy. Too often, students are basing their decisions on the expectations of their parents. Too often, students are turning to their parents to get advice on how to draft an email to a professor. Too often, students are turning to their parents to help obtain an internship for the upcoming summer. Not often enough, are parents cutting the cord and encouraging their children to be autonomous.

Cover Image Credit: The Atlantic

Popular Right Now

I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Me Vs. Food: My Secret Battle With Eating Disorders

Shedding light on a silenced issue

Eating disorders around this country are spiraling out of control, but not all disorders are able to be seen. Sure, you may be able to tell that someone is underweight or someone is eating too much, but by looking at my own picture, would you be able to tell that I switch between restriction of food and purging? I don’t think so.

Since February of this year, 2018, I have had a silent battle with food. In the beginning, I would restrict myself from eating at all and would limit myself to no more than 500 calories per day. That battle persisted until everyone started noticing I wasn’t eating and was losing weight, so that’s when my battle with a different kind of disorder began.

I started eating more so that everyone around me would stop asking me questions and forcing me to eat when I clearly didn’t deserve that. Therefore, I began eating and engaging in purging activities to eliminate that food from my body. I still maintained my weight, but I stopped losing weight like I had been before, and that was my only goal.

No one ever knew about this secret battle of mine. I consistently told others that I just wasn’t feeling well, it was a side effect of a medication, or I’d just completely lie and tell them that I had eaten that day. The reality is that there is a reason why I began this battle with these difficult eating disorders.

At first, I struggled with eating because I believed I didn’t deserve food. I believed that the pains of hunger from not eating for days was what I had deserved for being who I am. I can’t lie and say that this still isn’t a partial reason why I still struggle with this today, but that reason has gone behind another very strong, loud one.

In the middle of April, as I started leaving the past behind me, I met a guy that I thought was going to make my life so much better. This was the truth until I started finding myself becoming an entirely different person because of him. The only real reason I even started seeing him was because I believed that that’s what I needed to keep other things off of my mind; a man.

The reality is that after only a couple of weeks, I started receiving messages from him telling me that I should only ever find myself in public if I looked “good” and that whenever I had time off work I should find myself only with or talking to him. Nothing else. He’s told me directly something that I will never be able to take off of my mind for as long as I live. He said to me:

“Look, I don’t feel like claiming you. Maybe if you just lost more weight, wore different clothes, or changed your body more, you’d be more attractive to me and then I’d claim you. But right now, you’re not good enough.”

When I got this message, it was a sure sign to me that I clearly needed to do something about my body. This is when I started engaging in purging behaviors, though I kept eating to ensure no one would ask me questions. In addition to this, I tried buying and wearing different clothes, engaging in other behaviors and even started acting very out of my normal.

My point in sharing this information that no one knows at this point, is that I know what it’s like to have to hide feelings and emotional abuse because of a fear of questions or judgements from others. More importantly, I understand what it’s like to have to hide entire disorders because of a fear that others will always have something to say about it. My belief now, though, is that even though this is a battle I still deal with daily, others can say all they want.

My reality now is that I still do speak to this guy and I still do struggle with these harmful eating habits. But what I can’t do anymore is try and pretend like it’s not real because of a fear. My hope is that someone reading this knows that there are other people out in the world with these issues, fighting the same battles.

During this battle, my self-worth is determined entirely by your acceptance of me.

Cover Image Credit: Brianna Gavin

Related Content

Facebook Comments