Monday, August 20, 2012

What Parents Don’t Know Can Hurt Their Child

“I don’t know what I’m going to do about my son,” said my long-time friend who lives 1,500 miles away.

I was already familiar with events of the past few years. When “Mark” graduated from high school, he talked his parents into co-signing for a $30,000 loan to a private college. But after six months, he dropped out because he didn’t like the school. The parents are making monthly payments for that debt.

He moved back home and enrolled in a local community college for a few months but quit before the end of the semester. More debt incurred by the parents, who once again co-signed for the loan, with hopes that this time would be different.

Mark spent the next year living at home, mostly playing video games and hanging out with his friends. All this time, his parents were paying for his car insurance and living expenses, in addition to making loan payments.

When urged by his mother to get a job, he half-heartedly filled out applications for minimum-wage positions. At the time of our call, he was still living at home and working part-time. The only expense they were asking him to pay was his car insurance. He feels no guilt about the debt he and his parents have incurred or any sense of responsibility or urgency about paying them back.

His mother struggles to understand why he acts this way.

I know other parents with similar stories. They all revolve around a grown child who lacks the motivation and drive to pursue a meaningful education or career, to become financially independent and live on his own.

The still-at-home adult child is a disturbing phenomenon, especially when you project the long-term impact this lack of contribution or feeling of personal responsibility will have on our society.

Of course, there are no simple answers to explain why this happens. But I do know one of the factors that’s at work here.

Even well-meaning parents often don’t invest enough time to help their child learn to THINK…about evaluating pro’s and con’s, understanding cause and effect, and anticipating the consequences of their actions. Or to accept responsibility for their actions.

These are life skills that every young person needs to develop in order to become a fully functioning adult, yet there’s no manual that explains how parents can facilitate their child acquiring these skills.

Until now.

Over the past few years, my business partner Denny Coates has studied what goes on in the pre-teen and teen brain. He’s also talked with hundreds of adults to find out what their parents did and didn’t do to prepare them for life as an adult.

For parents who wonder what they can do to prepare their kids for the rest of their lives, Denny has some answers.

I recorded a recent phone interview, where I asked him some hard questions and got him to share insights from his ebook, How to Give Your Teen a Superior Mind. If you’re a parent, I encourage you to listen to the 20-minute interview and get a copy of the free ebook.

What you learn could make a huge difference in your child’s future.

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