I read an article this week about college students’ declining mental health and how their schools are responding, and it reinforced my belief that parents and others can do a much better job preparing their kids for the mental and emotional challenges of adulthood.

Here are some stats from the article:

The experts in the article cite social media use and overprotective parenting as two significant contributors to the problem.

Social media can make it appear that no one else is having a hard time, making those who are struggling feel isolated and lonely. There’s pressure, too, to make it look like you’re living an ideal life.

And parents are setting kids up for a difficult transition by protecting them from real-world consequences to an unhealthy degree. The article talks about a lack of resilience in today’s college students, with kids unable to cope with disappointment, manage stress, or deal with change.

Here are some things parents can do at any stage to set kids up for better mental health in college:

It’s natural to want to swoop in and fix things for our kids when something hard is happening, but our kids will be much better off if we hold strong and let them learn. More support and services in higher education are crucial, but so is stronger parenting.

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