Dads: The antidote to helicopter parenting


An excerpt from THIS article: By Naomi Schaefer RileyMay 5, 2014

Want to make sure your kid graduates from college? Money helps, as well as good grades — but so does having an involved father. In fact, we’re learning more about the importance of dads in all families, rich as well as poor.

An American Enterprise Institute report last month found, “Compared to teens who reported that their fathers were not involved, teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college, and teens with very involved fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate from college.”

The author, Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, suggests several reasons this might be the case: Dads might help with homework, or make kids less likely to engage in mischief; they may help with tuition, too.

But here’s another possibility: Fathers seem to do a better job fostering independence in kids. And one of the biggest challenges of succeeding in higher education is the amount of freedom you’re given.

In the past year, I’ve interviewed a number of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who’d made it to college. Without exception, they report that the biggest difference from high school is the burden of studying on their own, managing their own time and prioritizing their own activities.

It’s not just low-income kids who benefit from the fatherly presence when it comes to college. The AEI report notes: “It seems particularly important for young adults from moderately and highly educated homes.”

The kind of homes, that is, where kids are no longer allowed to wander more than 5 feet from their backyards, where every activity requires a helmet and where parents attach GPS devices to backpacks.

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