How to Land Your Kid in Therapy: Overparenting and Its Perils


People are investing in their children as though they were God.

Katie Couric Journalist

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy: Overparenting and Its Perils

“I think of over-parenting as having three components. So when you do something your child can already do, you've over-parented because you've taken away the opportunity to do something the child's capable of - that means he feels confident, that means he has true self-esteem, not this sort of bastardized idea of self-esteem.

So don't do what your kid can already do. And don't do what is just outside of your kid's area of expertise. We call it the zone of proximal learning because that's where a kid pushes themselves a little bit. And if you need to step in, if they can't get it, you can step in but let them have a shot at it.  And I think the third idea about over-parenting that I have is when it's really your own needs that are being met as opposed to your kid's needs.” - Madeline Levine, psychologist; author, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success

As parents, if we step in to combat every discomfort our child faces, give up our own lives to become deeply ingrained in theirs, and take on the role of friend, are we over-parenting? Some psychologists say yes, but there's a spectrum. During this panel, psychologists Polly Young-Eisendrath and Madeline Levine join psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb for a conversation about finding a happy middle ground between over-parenting and under-parenting. Journalist Katie Couric guides the conversation that's filled with anecdotes from the speaker's own lives. Are parents fixing things too much? Or, giving out too many gold stars? Is such heavy attention making it harder for kids to grow up?

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How to Land Your Kid in Therapy: Overparenting and Its Perils

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