being a parent – and don’t lie about it

New York Times published this letter from me.  As in my book, I find myself again writing to the theme of catch the lies – in this case identify your goals – and you calm or end the conflict, internal or between people.  Read the letter below, it’s only a couple of paragraphs, and you’ll see.  (You can also read the letter on the New York Times website here.)

Re “Stress, Exhaustion and Guilt: Modern Parenting” (The Upshot, front page, Dec. 25):

Listening to parents who helicopter and those who free-range, one can hear a key difference that is often missed, often denied by the parents: goals. Helicopter parents focus on their children’s success in societal terms, on beating the Joneses; free-rangers want their children to be strong, self-determined, at peace, what we used to call self-actualized, even if later on they don’t make a lot of money or win awards.

Although these goals shouldn’t be mutually exclusive they are often wildly so in the real world, as shown by the research your article mentions. How about a little balance, a little appreciation and carrying out of both goals — combined, of course, with attention to what suits the child, who, research shows, does come out of the womb with strengths, weaknesses, interests and proclivities.

Bennett Pologe
New York
The writer is a clinical psychologist.

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