Loving Parents, Unhappy Children

Here’s an excert from a highly thought-provoking article from the Motherlode Blog about what happens to kids whose parents make sure that their kids are TOO happy…

“Lori Gottlieb is training to be a therapist. All the books she read in graduate school taught her that behind every patient, there is a problem parent — one who is not supportive or loving or empathetic enough. Then, as she puts it in a piece in The Atlantic hitting newsstands next week, “I started seeing patients.” And one after the next they came to say they were depressed, and unmoored, and anxious, and that “they had little to quibble with about Mom or Dad.”

To the contrary, she writes, these patients, all in their late 20s and early 30s:

truly did seem to have caring and loving parents, parents who gave them the freedom to “find themselves” and the encouragement to do anything they wanted in life. Parents who had driven carpools, and helped with homework each night, and intervened when there was a bully at school or a birthday invitation not received, and had gotten them tutors when they struggled in math, and music lessons when they expressed an interest in guitar (but let them quit when they lost that interest), and talked through their feelings when they broke the rules, instead of punishing them (“logical consequences” always stood in for punishment). In short, these were parents who had always been “attuned,” as we therapists like to say, and had made sure to guide my patients through any and all trials and tribulations of childhood.
How then to explain why these young adults needed therapy?

Ms. Gottlieb asked the same thing…Read the rest here.

Does this sound familiar, JewishMOMs? Any thoughts?


  1. if we take a minute to realize that this current generation is more emotionally miserable/depressed/anxious/uptight than any previous generation and that this current generation is perhaps the first in history to have lived in relative prosperity and has not experienced war and constant senseless destruction firsthand, you really have to wonder what we’re missing. I think ms. gottlieb has hit on something when she suggests that experiencing adversity is a necessary ingredient in producing a confident, solution-oriented, make-the-best-of-it human being.

    i really believe that humans have not changed since the beginning of creation, only the form of our toys and distractions has changed. We still experience jealousy, desire, frustration, greed, etc… therefore the methods of childrearing from days of old still apply. it is up to us to glean this wisdom from our Sages and Torah role models.

  2. On my list of books to read is “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee”. Have you read it? It seems to discuss the same issues as this post!

    • JewishMom

      I read a few pages of it once, and it looked very interesting. Any JewishMOMs out there who have read blessing of a skinned knee and tell us whether it’s worth readings?

  3. I think the situation she describes can only be possible in small families. When you have lots of children, the most attentive and attuned of parents can’t possibly keep up that standard.

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