What is the secret to raising independent kids who can think for themselves? Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen students at Stanford University, is the author of a new book How to Raise An Adult* in which she asserts that students at the top US university are so unprepared for independent living that they phone home to ask their parents for guidance on making decisions as simple as what salad dressing they like.
"We treat our kids like rare and precious botanical specimens and provide a deliberate, measured amount of care and feeding while running interference on all that might toughen and weather them. But humans need some degree of weathering in order to survive the larger challenges life will throw our way. Without experiencing the rougher spots of life, our kids become exquisite, like orchids, yet are incapable, sometimes terribly incapable, of thriving in the real world on their own."
I'm going to be chatting on the radio (BBC Hereford and Worcester) with Malcolm Boyden again today and this is today's topic for debate - so we'd love to hear your views on the matter.
Do you agree in the importance of fostering independence in your kid in order to prepare them to stand on their own two feet later in life? Or do you think life will toughen them up of its own accord in due course, and thus feel justified in the kind of parenting style that Lythcott-Haims feels is over-involved?
I'm not going to give away my views on the matter but I'd love to share yours with Malcolm on the radio - leave us a comment below or join the conversation over on our Facebook page. And don't forget to tune in to hear Playpennies on the radio!