Madeline Levine, a psychologist and author, has released a book to help parents guide their children to success without burdening them with excessive weight of parental expectations. Levine notes that instead of focusing on the desired result of raising a kid that is happy and driven, parents are increasingly preoccupied with the process: the fear of a single misstep has parents raising children who are depressed, stressed and burned-out.
In her new book, “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success,” Levine says that parents are preoccupied with “a narrow and shortsighted vision of success,” and that we rely on our kids to “provide status and meaning in our own lives.” It’s a harmful combination, weighing kids down with serious issues — “stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, poor coping skills, and unhealthy reliance on others for support and direction, and a weak sense of self,” Levine says — when we should be trying to teach them to be resilient and independent if we really want them to succeed in life.
This concentration on process means that parents are hyper-vigilant and become too much of a physical presence in their children’s lives. On the downside, the emotional connection between a parent and a child could be strained — especially if the kids see mom and dad not as motivators, but as being pushy, bored and oblivious. While trying to do everything by the book, it’s easy to overlook that fact that children are individuals who each require a unique approach.
This is especially sad in light of the fact that recent research has suggested that a child’s success depends very little on parental efforts to make him successful. Brian Camplan, the author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You think, says that there’s practically no different between kids raised in different domestic environments.
“Today’s typical parents strive to mentally stimulate their children and struggle to protect their brains from being turned to mush by television and video games” pushing them instead to strive for academic success, he told Yahoo! Shine. “Yet by adulthood, the fruit of parents’ labor is practical invisible. Children who grew up in enriched homes are no smarter than they would have been if they’d grown up in average homes.”
But as parents push kids to succeed — and try too hard to shield them from failure –their kids are soaking up the stress and increasingly unable to do anything without their parents’ input.