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Experts from higher education discuss what children really need with Cobb School parents

Mr. John Kniering, Coach Paul Assaiante, Head of School Mary Lou Cobb, and Dr. Larry Antosz smile together following The Cobb School's "Voices from Higher Education" parent education event.
Mr. John Kniering, Coach Paul Assaiante, Head of School Mary Lou Cobb, and Dr. Larry Antosz smile together following The Cobb School's "Voices from Higher Education" parent education event.

On Friday, January 24th The Cobb School, Montessori in Simsbury welcomed three experts in their respective fields from Connecticut colleges to discuss with current Cobb School parents what children really need.  Drawing from their one hundred plus years of collective experience working with young adults, The Cobb School’s guests shared stories that left many parents stunned and all wishing for a seismic shift.  

Dr. Larry Antosz, staff psychologist from Wesleyan University, Paul Assaiante, squash coach and author from Trinity College, and John Kniering, Director of Career Services at the University of Hartford, agreed to share their thoughts with Cobb School parents because they know the early years count.  Although these three men traveled unique paths and worked in different departments, they held fast to a shared philosophy: college students are arriving on their doorsteps ill-equipped to face life’s challenges and today’s parents can do something about it.

Dr. Antosz, Coach Assaiante, and Mr. Kniering, in the kindest, wisest, and most gentle way imaginable, delivered the disheartening news.  At the first sign of hardship, young adults are crumbling.  The hum of helicopter parenting is the din of college campuses.  Parents who have orchestrated every detail of their child’s younger years -- protecting them from disappointment, sheltering them from hardship and hard work, pushing them into extracurriculars the children have no passion for -- has resulted in a generation that looks more put together than ever before yet is more fragile than we want to believe.

But the news wasn’t all bad.  These three men did offer the antidote.  Children need to construct themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.  They need to discover who they are.  They need time to reflect, to follow their interests (not their parents’), to experiment, to fail, and to pick themselves up after.  The message was very simple.  Guide your children, then let them fly.

Friday’s panel discussion was the third in the school’s “Voices Series,” this year’s parent education program at The Cobb School, Montessori.  To learn more about ways in which parent education is integral to The Cobb School experience, call 860.658.1144 and schedule a visit.


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