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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  1470 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Helicopter parenting is increasingly correlated with college-age depression and anxiety.

I grew up with a hippie for a father who liked to show me how to do things, and talk with me about life, and a mother who thought crossing a subdivision street was dangerous. Guess who I got along with better? Guess who I call for advice when I need it? I love my mother, and we've had a good relationship since I moved out (which I did on my 18th birthday--best present ever), but if I have children the most important thing I'll have learned from her is how not to treat a kid. I can remember being very young and wanting nothing more than to be taken seriously as a person. The ability to make decisions for oneself is among the most important things that makes us human.

Fortunately, I got a job when I was 14. That was the best thing I ever did for myself, and what I would recommend all teenagers do. First I worked on a golf course, then at a restaurant. The restaurant was the best, because even though I was 15 when I started, if I did a good job, everyone treated me like I was a person. If I fucked up, they still treated me like a person; the boss there didn't pull punches just because you were young. I loved every minute of it. It was the anti-high school, a place where I had clearly defined responsibilities, but could be whoever I wanted to be so long as those responsibilities were taken care of. I became the shift manager by the time I was 16 (probably not legal, but it was a small place), and I actually felt good about myself when I was there in a way that I hadn't ever before. My career now has nothing to do with the restaurant business, but I feel that the experience I had there definitely helped shape the way I interact with the world.

I'm not blaming my teen angst and depression solely on my mom, but her constant attempts to control my life certainly didn't help at all. I think many parents simply need to recognize that kids aren't pets; they're people. As long as you keep that small fact in mind, you've got 99% of the battle won already.