As a psychologist, Madeline Levine has seen firsthand how children today are unraveling under pressure. In order to “succeed,” children take stimulants to study or cheat regularly to maintain their grades. They also resort to unhealthy ways of coping with anxiety such as substance abuse or self-mutilation. What the heck are we doing to our kids?
What’s the Big Idea?
We’re hyper-parenting them. At every level of their educational development we are subjecting them to strict measurements.
“We need to embrace a healthier and radically different way of thinking about success,” Levine argues in her book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. We celebrate what is obvious and measurable over everything else. This is debilitating to children in precisely the same way that it is debilitating to parents. It is debilitating to everyone.
Levine argues for a different approach which she calls “courageous parenting.” If your child hasn’t learned to read in kindergarten, don’t freak out. Development is a process, and it is doesn’t happen at the same pace for everyone. Have the courage to let your child experiment and play. We overload our children with homework, even though we know that about one hour is really the right amount.
What’s the Significance?
Teach Your Children Well offers savvy advice for courageous parenting at different stages of a child’s education. Therefore, the lessons span from “remembering to play” to “building independence” to “becoming an adult thinker.”
You can apply Levine’s underlying concept to your own adult life. Courageous parenting is related to the idea of permanent beta, that is, being a lifelong learner. You need to embrace the process of learning and developing skills, not just the outcome. And it is absolutely alright (in fact you should be encouraged) to go at your own pace.
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