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Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

(30 Posts)
Gracesgran Tue 29-Sep-15 09:08:51

With family teaching in both FE and HE I didn't find this surprising but it is always a bit of a shock to see it in print.

Surely it is a parents job to prepare a child for adulthood. Why are we tipping these students out of the nest without the wherewithal to cope?

TerriBull Tue 29-Sep-15 09:30:09

Yes I agree, I gave my son a crash course in cooking before he started uni, he graduated 3 years ago and now really enjoys cooking and has extended his repertoire way beyond spag bol, chilli and a basic cheese sauce. In his final year he shared a mixed house with 6 others, one boy had no concept of clearing up after himself after cooking, another couldn't boil water. The kitchen could be a battle ground at times, those who washed up, albeit infrequently, against those who wouldn't and kept most of the dirty dishes and cutlery in their bedrooms shock

Another thing that struck me as how little recycling some at uni do, in spite of mouthing off in their support for green issues, there seemed to be precious little sorting going on into recycling bins as far as I could see, bottles, cans, takeaway cartons just left outside for the bin collection. We were only there at the end of term pick ups, but I felt sorry for the next door neighbours. My own son had half the Amazon jungle in pizza boxes stowed under his bed hmm so I can't claim to cover myself in glory.

Another thing many of them fail to get to grips with is managing a budget, I've lost count of the times I've heard about various people's kids getting their loan living allowance through and then blowing it in the first few weeks of term.

Gracesgran Tue 29-Sep-15 09:37:54

I agree that we need to prepare them for the practical side of life but this article seems to say that they are not prepared for emotional challenges or any form of failure which they seem to be exaggerating anyway.

TerriBull Tue 29-Sep-15 09:42:18

Having read the article I think it's symptomatic of behaviour today, crying and hugging it's everywhere and it takes very little to trigger it. I often wonder how our parents' generation would have got through the war if they were as wet as some appear to be today. My son told me when he was in his first year he spent a couple of hours comforting a fellow student in his hall of residence who was in tears through homesickness, he presumed she came from the other end of the country and when he asked her where her home town was, he was gobsmacked to find it was a mere 5 miles away!

rosequartz Tue 29-Sep-15 09:53:50

I remember reading an article a couple or so years ago (can't remember where or when and I only have a hazy recollection of its content), however I think it was along the lines of over-praising children. By always praising them effusively for everything they do and not pointing out occasionally where they may have failed or could do better, parents were not preparing them for real life.
Coupled with school sports which were becoming less competitive, exam grades where A* had to be introduced (A was a great achievement when I was at school) we were in danger of setting them up for an inability to cope when they became young adults out in the world.

Of course, praise where praise is due is a good adage, but if given as a constant diet a child could be bewildered when reality hits them head on.

I hope mine went off able to cook, cope and manage money. However hard you try, though, some will always be better at managing their finances than others!

Luckygirl Tue 29-Sep-15 09:57:22

Universities are in a difficult situation - they have to avoid self-harm and suicide, but they also have to provide a proper education.

I do think that our school system with its emphasis on SATs and levels does not help students. They are put under such pressure even from a very early age. But there is a paradox here - they are expected to attain these levels (even if they have SEN), but teachers are also supposed to teach positively and non-competitively.

Children do need to learn how to deal with failure of various sorts, but they also need the freedom to be children. They only get one crack at it and we should not strip them of this precious time with too much in the way of SATs etc.

My personal view is that children do not do enough for themselves and have few duties or responsibilities at home any more. Washing up, feeding a pet, laying the table etc. - there is a tendency to feel they have to be entertained all the time, which leaves them unprepared for real life.

I know that some schools are taking on the task of teaching children mindfulness or relaxation to give them the tools to face stressful times, but in some places this has not gone down well with the fundamentalist christian parents who see it as coming from another religious culture - don't get me started on that one!

Indinana Tue 29-Sep-15 09:58:52

It's the result of years of never letting children fail at anything, of heaping praise on their every effort, however meagre.
I remember being appalled when my own children's junior school, over 30 years ago, had a new head teacher who completely changed the face of the annual school sports day. Everyone was a winner. The children ran in races but the child who came first received no accolade, because the head had decreed that those who didn't come first must not be made to feel a failure. So many children these days expect success, almost as a right, and have no idea how to deal with failure.
Combine this with the overly protective style of parenting that seems to have taken hold in recent years and it's little wonder that 18 year olds are unable to deal with everyday situations and stresses that they've always been shielded from.

J52 Tue 29-Sep-15 10:21:12

Long ago, the uni., all femail hall of residence (!) I was in, did not let anyone home for the first term!!

I don't know how they imposed this, but itmeant that everyone had to tough out any homesickness.

Several years ago our elder DS came home from uni for a week end, in the first term, and said he was not going back. His personal tutor just said, it was up to him.

We said fine, but on Monday he had to get a job and pay us back all the fees and up front money we had spent.

He was on the Sunday 4 pm train and never looked back!

Tough love works, sometimes.


Anya Tue 29-Sep-15 10:38:25

Too many little princes and princess being reared these days IMO. My own children had paper rounds, Saturday jobs, and worked on local farms during Uni days if they needed extra money.

DD did a year as an au pair in France between 'A' Levels and University.

It certainly taught them to look after themselves, toughen up and the value of money.

I love my oldest GS but he is a wimp and I dread to think how he'll cope with life.

Teetime Tue 29-Sep-15 10:44:03

I think the issue is really about emotional resilience. I had the same issue with student and newly qualified nurses. We found what they really needed to help them build up some inner reserves was solid mentoring and leadership at all levels. Easy to say not easy to do and very labour intensive.

M0nica Tue 29-Sep-15 12:29:52

I went to Uni in the 60s and there were plenty of problems then, but those with problems were braced rather than comforted. My BF caught the bus, to travel 30 miles home at least once a week because she was home sick. When she got home her father turned her right round and put her on the next bus back. She settled and really enjoyed her university years and says her father did exactly the right thing.

I think the number of mothers devastated by empty nest syndrome indicates, perhaps, parents who have run their lives round their children and built up a co-dependence that neither of them quite realise. I missed my two when they left. The house was quieter, only two for meals, less cleaning, less tidying up and washing. I was delighted when they came home, but I never felt the devastation that so many mothers, in particular claim they feel when the children leave home. I always had my own independent activities, a career I enjoyed and shared interests with DH so the children leaving home did not devastate me - and they both settled into uni quickly without home sickness.

annodomini Tue 29-Sep-15 13:11:09

My DGD1, who graduated two years ago, has worked since the age of 13 when she took up a paper round and eventually on the counter of the paper shop, continuing through her uni career, also working in a takeaway. During the holidays she did house maintenance for her landlord, cleaning up after filthy tenants (students) and decorating. Unable to get a job that suited her qualification, she has done bar work and cleaning until recently when (hallelujah!) she has found the job she was looking for. She is far more resilient than I was almost 60 years ago when, after a sheltered life, I entered university as - I must admit - rather an over-privileged student and young for my age! Not that I was homesick. St Andrews was very familiar to me and I'd always intended to go there.

ninathenana Tue 29-Sep-15 13:46:43

Did anyone notice the line in this article that stated on male student "didn't even know how to tie his shoe laces"
The image of an 18 yr olds mummy tying his laces is quiet frightening.

Luckygirl Tue 29-Sep-15 14:40:27

Get some velcro shoes!

PRINTMISS Tue 29-Sep-15 14:59:00

I rather feel that today's children are rather over-protected, although that was true of me also, but for an entirely different matter. There is a life out there, and children/young adults should really be encouraged to face it. Our two grand-children have been over-indulged in many ways, but our grand-son has made a good life at uni, and manages everything on his own, has done from the start. Our grand-daughter rather more over-indulged by a lovely dad, would have found life at uni almost impossible, but has a job and pays her way in every respect. (Unfortunately, since her dad has found a job which he now has to go out to do, she finds coming home to an empty house rather unpleasant - that's life - and the cat's just died, double tragedy).

TerriBull Tue 29-Sep-15 15:20:44

PRINTMISS your comment made me laugh "coming home to an empty house, rather unpleasant - that's life and the cat's just died, double tragedy" but sad too if you love cats sad

janeainsworth Tue 29-Sep-15 15:23:10

I have to admit monica that I used up an entire box of Kleenex on the way home after we dropped DS off in Malvern where he was to spend a year before going to university. It was too far to come home for a weekend and I knew in my heart he would never live at home again, so for me it was a wrench.
He didn't know that though!
And I was working full time and just got in with it, but I missed him terribly.

ninathenana Tue 29-Sep-15 15:35:43

Slightly off topic.
When DD moved from being 15 mins down the road to Edinburgh. My friend asked how I was coping, and regularly asked how she was doing and what she was up too. When one day I told her I hadn't spoken to her for 10 days, and didn't know what she was up too. Her reaction was "Oh, I couldn't go 10 days without speaking to 'C' " our DD's are both 27. I know this is true as they text each other once or twice a day when either of them is on holiday. I'm happy that I raised an independent self sufficient person.

Iam64 Tue 29-Sep-15 20:03:40

I'm probably off on a Pollyanna jolly, again, but the young folks in my family and friendship circle just aren't as described here. Well, the are so far as hugging and weeping as terribull describes, they seem to express and manage their emotions pretty well, most of the time. They also seem to support each other through go thick n thin, and challenge each other's excesses where necessary. All generations seem to find a way to muddle through life's challenges and many older people love to criticis the youth of today. ??

janeainsworth Tue 29-Sep-15 21:02:27

Yes I agree Iam64.
My DD2 in particular is expert at operating on a 'need to know' basis, not telling us anything, and sorting her problems out for herself.
Though I suppose it's 12 years since she left university and maybe things have changed since then.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 29-Sep-15 23:11:38

perhaps the one who could not tie shoe laces is dyspraxic. (but yes to velcro shoes or slip ons.. )

I hope that they will both eventually be independent... anyway, I certainly will have developed resilience trying to develop it in them.. grin

Anya Wed 30-Sep-15 07:26:55

But it isn't our children's generation they are talking about - unless you're a very young granny is it? It's those currently going to university - the generation after.

But (and please don't take this the wring way BESusan) but there are too many excuses made these days such as 'dyspraxia' without these conditions being professionally diagnosed.

A good example of this is one of DD's friends whose eldest son has 'autism' - her diagnosis. She refuses to have a referral or official diagnosis. But every incidence of bad behaviour is put down to this condition. Now, her second son, at age 6 is developing this condition too, according to her!

Gracesgran Wed 30-Sep-15 09:14:35

I have never come across this Anya. Each time we asked for help for my daughter, who is dyslexic, she needed to have a recent report to access it. In fact, age 43, she is about to do a part-time masters (while teaching for three days a week and helping to run their business) and has had to have an up to date report. The scores on all her tests were exactly the same as they were when she was 9 as far as I can see although her coping skills have grown immensely. This will now give her access to help such as reading software (she reads at about half the speed of an average adult), etc.

Gracesgran Wed 30-Sep-15 09:18:15

There was something about this on the radio this morning and the women being interviewed was saying that many of these young people are coming into university with tremendous pressures to succeed because of the debt they will have. I am not sure that this is a cause but it may add to how they deal with things.

janeainsworth Thu 01-Oct-15 08:15:27

I heard that too Gracesgran.
I think another factor which was mentioned was the system in which funding follows the students so that if students drop out the college loses money. Perhaps this makes them more likely to provide counselling and pastoral care in an attempt to retain students who might simply have made a bad choice of course and might have been better off dropping out and starting afresh.