Madeline Levine writes in the New York Times about the challenge parents face in determining how involved to be in their children’s lives. The problems with helicopter parenting is a suffocated kid. But a child whose parents are too permissive will face their own set of problems. Figuring out the right level of praise and feedback to give a child’s accomplishments is a difficult task. Can calling a kid smart make him dumb?
Tackling more difficult puzzles carries the risk of losing one’s status as “smart” and deprives kids of the thrill of choosing to work simply for its own sake, regardless of outcomes.
The key, it seems, it to make sure the child’s success is his own. Parents can do this by giving appropriate attention to their own success.
Parents also have to make sure their own lives are fulfilling. There is no parent more vulnerable to the excesses of overparenting than an unhappy parent. One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.