Many parents are pushing their kids far too hard today — and are advised to ease up and examine their actions.
In an interview about how to raise resilient children, New York City-based Erica Komisar, a clinical social worker, psychoanalyst and parenting expert, recommended that parents “take their foot off the gas” and take a long, hard look at their own behavior.
Even as far back as two decades ago, “I realized the referrals I was getting were increasingly for younger and younger children,” she told Columbia Magazine in an interview for its winter 2023-24 issue.
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“I was a consultant for preschools and primary schools in Manhattan, and I noticed a growing number of children being diagnosed and medicated at an early age for anxiety and depression. I started to look at every bit of research I could get my hands on.”
She noted that yes, the “vast majority” of moms and dads “want the best for their children” — that’s generally not in dispute.
“But sometimes they don’t know what the best is,” she told the magazine.
“Some pressure their kids to get perfect grades. I can’t tell you how many parents bring their children into my office because of a B grade. They’re certain something is wrong.”
The world today is a “more complicated and competitive place,” and many parents today, she said, just “push and push and push.”
Everyone around the kids is pushing and pushing as well, she said.
As a result, “we’re pushing these kids to the brink.”
Her advice to parents for adjusting this scenario is straightforward, she indicated.
They need to “take their foot off the gas. Be self-aware and reflective.”
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In that vein, parents should reflect on this key point: “How do you define success in your child’s life? Shouldn’t it involve their being happy and mentally balanced?”
Komisar, who holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Social Work, advised parents and caregivers to “spend as much time as you can with your kids while they’re still living with you … [But] be nonjudgmental. Have open communication.”
She also strongly advised against helicopter parenting.
Parents should help kids “learn to deal with experiences that are overwhelming for them,” she told Columbia Magazine — not “do things for them excessively.”
A strong caveat is that any parent who suspects suicidal tendencies should take the child for an evaluation “right away.”
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Komisar told Fox News Digital via email on Saturday morning, “We are trying to help our kids find not only balance but the best in themselves. Helping our kids to identify and support their strengths and accept their limitations is the foundation for good self-esteem and ego strength, which is the foundation of resilience.”
She added that “today’s parenting and education makes kids and parents anxious because it assumes that kids need to be the best at everything — which is a formula for a breakdown.”
Instead, “parents can introduce their kids to new activities without the expectations that they will enjoy them or excel at them.”
Said Komisar, “Anxiety in parents is passed down to children verbally and non-verbally. When parents are imbalanced or excessively focus on academic and material success, then children will suffer.”
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A recent study of 2,000 adults found that many people would love nothing more than to give their younger selves some smart and useful tips, as Fox News Digital reported previously.
Among those tips, relevant to parenting and more: “Relax and enjoy the ride.”
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Also, “look after your mental health.”
And finally, “celebrate the little wins.”
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