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VOL. 129 | NO. 130 | Friday, July 4, 2014

Angela Copeland

Giving Your Child Independence

By Angela Copeland

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Parents of newly minted graduates have all heard about it: the “Boomerang Generation.” According to Pew Research Center, It’s estimated that some 45 percent of college graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 are living at home with family. If you are a parent, you may be wondering what you can do to give your children the gift of independence on this Fourth of July.

In the past, it was assumed that a college degree alone would lead to a great job. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case anymore. In our current competitive market, job seekers must be more proactive and aggressive than in generations before.

Today, some parents are working hard to help their children get the upper hand. They’d do anything to help their son or daughter get ahead. The child learns they can really count on mom or dad to help them figure things out.

Although these loving parents mean well, this sort of help can often hinder their child in the long run. The unfortunate truth is that the job market is tough. In order to build up the stamina to compete, jobseekers must do most of the work on their own.

It’s not to say a parent can’t help out or give the child a friendly nudge. But, when the parent helps to organize every detail, the child doesn’t learn the skills they need to be competitive. And, in turn, they won’t have the skills to survive when things really get tough.

For example, if a young jobseeker doesn’t learn to write their own resume or perform well in an interview situation, how will they do on the job? If they don’t learn to make their own appointments and show up on time by themselves now, how will they do when they’re finally hired?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m an advocate for providing a certain level of support. For example, I’m a fan of utilizing coaches to learn new things. Everyone needs a little help. But, the fact is that struggling can often also build strength. It’s an education of sorts.

If your child is unsure of what they to do with their life, and if they begin pursuing various internships, they will learn what they do and don’t like to do. They will test their boundaries to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They’ll learn how to effectively manage political situations, to multitask, and to be responsible for their own schedules.

These are things they can only learn firsthand. And, the lessons will help them to become a successful employee and a contributing member of society.

It can be a real struggle at first. But, sometimes the best way to give your child independence is to give them the freedom to fail.

As our founding father Benjamin Franklin said, “I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” Sometimes, the best thing a great parent can do to help their struggling graduate is nothing at all.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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