(Adapted from Presence Family Magazine, May 2012, 4th Issue)

By Presence Editors/Justin Yee

“Helicopter parenting” has become more and more common in recent years. These “helicopter parents” take care of their children’s every need and even help solve their problems in order for their children to focus on academics or other areas of talent. But is making life easier for children really in their best interest?

We can learn valuable lessons from Justin Yee, a recent college graduate, as he looks back and shares his experiences with us. With transparency, he tells of his own shortcomings as well as successes that transpired in his transition from high school to college life. His candid sharing can also be helpful for parents who want to reevaluate how to best raise their children. The following is a summary of his interview:

“The type of child I was during elementary school was really self-centered. I relied heavily on my mother for backing. I was really taken care of, but that in a way hurt me because I was irresponsible and tended to get in trouble. Responsibility and trust were not implanted in me.”

“School was the focal point of my duty and obligation but development and responsibility was my greatest downfall after high school.”

“When I started college, responsibility hit me like a ton of bricks because I had to take care of everything myself. For example, I rarely kept track of homework assignments. Time was also another thing that I could not keep track of. I had the freedom to do anything since I was in charge. With this new freedom I could hang out with my friends or join a club. College was a new adventure with many opportunities to grow, but unfortunately I was a late bloomer.”

“When I started college, I joined a business club, and my time and efforts were solely devoted to it. I skipped classes and missed assignments and eventually failed two out of the three classes I was taking that quarter. I still did not have a sense of responsibility until my mentor brother made me realize that I was growing up and needed to man up because in order to succeed, I needed a college education. From then on, I would not fail any courses and would do well in my studies to prove to myself and my parents that I could be a responsible person. Putting effort into my education yielded rewards not only for myself but also my parents.”

“Having a good education can make people smart, but parents raise their children to make smart decisions, which, in my humble opinion, matters more than grades. Habits and values are the basis of who a person is and the good that he or she can do with his or her life.”

We are thankful for Justin’s sharing. From his experiences, we see that over-caring and over-protecting children may do more harm than good. The best way to prepare children for adulthood is to teach them to be accountable for their actions and subsequent consequences. Parents also need to allow their children to fail from time to time. While children are young, parents can begin to teach them biblical values and model these values for them. Last but not least, parents need to lift their children up to God and pray that they will continually walk with a solid foundation of faith in following Jesus’ guidance throughout their lives.

Presence regularly hosts parenting seminars and workshops to help individuals and families build strong, healthy relationships in order to bring up the next generation. For more information about our ministry and events, please visit our website.