“I always wanted to go to this ivy league School, but I never applied. I was good enough to play professional ball, but my high school coach didn’t think I could do it so I didn’t try. Maybe you have a young adult at home this summer singing this type of blues. I could have, but it just never worked out. It frequently doesn’t work out because these teens are afraid to fail so they never try, which means they never do anything.

Teens with this type of resume, a list of “I could haves, but never did” are simply overwhelmed by the possibility of failure. They believe things must be done perfectly in order to turn out the way it should otherwise it can’t be tried. They may take minutes or hours to develop a plan for the simplest task or just get frustrated with the simplest road block that their anxiety over ensuing challenges overwhelms them to the point that they drop the whole thing.

As much as you might try, doing the task for them will not make the situation any better nor will it improve their ability to problem solve for themselves in the future. It only serves to make them more dependent on you, or serves to make you a source of blame when things do not go well. Yes, blame you for helping when things do not go as they wanted.

Failure is part of success. No one who is truly successful has not failed; the billionaire has lost their billions, the proud mother may have had a miscarriage, and the great writer had books rejected by publishers. Certainly these teens can benefit from counseling services and may have an underlying anxiety disorder, but they can also derive hope from you teaching them that even if they fail, they can end up on top, even if they fail they will not die and even those who fail end up producing something of utter perfection.