Too much parental nurturing is making adolescents less independent and less skilled at common tasks. Now, a new book provides tips on how to help teenagers grow up responsibly before they enter adulthood.
Studies have shown that more than 60 percent of 23-year-olds and 30 percent of 25-year olds are still financially supported by their parents.
Advertisement"We call it 'the Nurture Paradox,'" said University of Virginia clinical psychologists Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen
"Today's parents are trying so hard to nurture their teens that they end up not preparing them for adulthood," they added.
In the new book 'Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How to Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old', the Allens say the problem occurs when parents do too much for their teens, effectively stifling their ability to take flight.
"We tell parents that as much as you do for your teens, as much as they're doing for themselves, every teenager should be doing something for somebody other than themselves on a regular basis," Claudia said.
"Teens need that as a fundamental character-builder."
Teens must also be allowed to make mistakes, to fail at things, and to take responsibility for those failures, Joseph said.
"We tell parents that letting young people make mistakes and learn from their failures is what starts to make them feel like adults; that handling one's own mistakes is one of the things that distinguishes adults from adolescents," he said.
Teens, he said, learn by experience, and parents must allow and encourage those opportunities that will prepare them for the inevitable world of adulthood.
"Nurturance partly means asking something back from them and that's what really makes teens spring to life," he said.