I see parents tie up their egos in their children.
By BETSY HART
Scripps Howard News Service
“Our children are not our masterpieces,” Wendy Mogel is fond of saying. A clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, she is the author of “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee.” And she’s the wise and oft-quoted voice in Lori Gottlieb’s provocative piece, “How to Land Your Kids in Therapy: Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods,” in Atlantic magazine’s July/August issue.
Gottlieb is a therapist and mother herself. She says that while she learned in graduate school that parents can really mess their kids up, she learned something surprising in her practice: that parents who overly focus on their children’s happiness can mess them up, too. Over and over again, she started seeing young adults in her office with idyllic childhoods and involved, attuned parents. What were they there for? Anxiety, depression and general emptiness. It seems their nearly perfect early years, in which they were unlikely to experience frustration, disappointment or certainly outright failure, had not prepared them for real life and its natural ups and downs.
As children, life was one constant “up.”