How overparenting backfired on Americans

Being raised indoors might the reason young Americans struggle in the adult world.

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  • American childhood is going, going… gone, says Professor Jonathan Haidt.
  • In the mid-'90s there was a sharp shift to overprotective parenting. In previous generations, kids were allowed to out of the house unsupervised from age 5-8, which has now become age 12-16. As a result, their independence, resilience, and problem-solving skills suffer.
  • "Give childhood back to kids so that they do what they most need to do, which is develop the skills of being an independent adult. Remember that the job of a parent is to work him or herself out of a job."
  • As a resource for parents, Jonathan Haidt recommends letgrow.org.
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Have Americans become too fragile for their own good?

Beyond trigger warnings and safe spaces lies an entire population that espouses victimhood in all walks of life.

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  • Depression and anxiety rates are through the roof amongst young Americans, with the left and the right sides of the political spectrum blaming each other. Neither has an answer, and it goes beyond buzzwords like "safe spaces" and "triggered".
  • When everyone feels like a victim, are the mediums of communication themselves—social media and search engines—at fault?
  • There is no one right answer, but Jonathan Haidt makes a case for more open talk about our insecurities. Transparent communication with others, and perhaps learning some self-therapy, can help assuage a potential generation of failure.
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3 great untruths to stop telling kids—and ourselves

These psychological principles can make you more resilient.

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  • Popular platitudes can squash your critical thinking, argues moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt.
  • Always trust your feelings? The world is a battle between good and evil? These popular pieces of conventional wisdom are merely myths—ones that can set us up for failure.
  • "When we protect children from unpleasantness, from conflicts, from insults, from teasing, from exclusion, we're preventing their social psychology, we're preventing their social abilities, we're preventing their strength from developing," says Haidt.
  • He highlights three great untruths and explains the psychological principles that debunk them. Unlearning a few token ideas can make us more resilient and help us grow, rather than break, in the face of adversity.


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Learn about the basic software of your mind and you will develop moral humility.