My colleague, Ashley Shapiro, an educational therapist in the community (http://ashleyfeinstein.com/about.html) who also does extensive work with children with learning, behavioral and executive functioning challenges sent me an article recently entitled, “Raising Successful Children.” Merely reading the title of the article evoked a number of thoughts, emotions, and questions that flooded my brain. So many parents enter my office stating they merely want their child to be “successful.” And I always ask, “well, what do you mean Mr. X?” How in fact is success defined?” For one parent who has a child with a feeding disorder, success may be defined by increasing nutritional content and calories per day. For another parent with a child with Autism, success may be documented by developing sustained and long-lasting relationships with peers. And finally, for another parent with a child with a severe learning disability, success may mean reading and writing with proficiency at a fourth grade level. So success, at any rate, has so many definitions depending on the circumstances of the family and the child.

The ultimate question though, as the article poses is, “how do parents try to achieve success?” I would argue that the more important question is how do parents communicate what success means to their children. Secondly, I would also question does success equate to happiness. There are so many different avenues to take including Tiger Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Authoritative versus Authoritarian Parenting. My goodness, what’s next, Car seat Parenting? Lightheartedness aside, I believe being present for your child with a sense of honesty, integrity, and realism is the direction that allows children the room to honor themselves and you as the parent. When parents do not allow their children the fortitude to figure out how to navigate their social worlds, their own personal identity, or their role in the family system an unhealthy co-dependence transpires between parent and child that makes for a difficult and rocky road of development as children transition through adolescence into adulthood.

Check out the article below. I challenge you to examine yourself and where you fall in terms of how you promote “success” in your own child:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/raising-successful-children.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-share

More importantly, how do you project yourself, as it relates to the ideals that you may have wanted for your own success onto your child. Is this fair? Is this the right expectation for your child in terms of their present level of development? Are you happy? Is your child happy?

Food for thought folks.

Be well,

Dr. Stephanie

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