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April 30, 2017

Nobody's Child

By Dr. Richard Boyum

In counseling one of the things that we know is important is for individuals to take responsibility for their own lives. In working with college students, one of the directives that I have recently been giving that has proven to be highly effective is the statement, "You are nobody's child." Individuals that I work with in the university counseling center are all over the age of majority. I indicate to them that for there to be a parent there needs to be a child. When there is a child, there is a parent. Most of my clients in the university counseling center want leadership and support, but they do not want to be parented.

They really do want to make their own decisions. To help them understand that they are young adults, I give them the phrase, "You are nobody's child." I further indicate that they will forever be somebody's son or somebody's daughter, but this connection is very different than the child-parent connection. For most individuals, used judiciously, this is an empowering statement/concept. In our working with students, freedom and choice is based upon responsibility and is one of the tasks that we, as counselors and student personnel workers, help facilitate in the young adults. See if nobody's child might work for you.