Tag Archives: The Atlantic

How the cult of self-esteem is ruining the kids of Northfield

Last week I purchased two magazines– the type made of paper—from a bookstore—the type made of bricks and mortar. Radical, I know, but it’s part of my August sabbatical strategy of whacking myself upside the head.

There’s an article in the July/August issue of The Atlantic titled How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb. The tagline: "Obsessing over our children’s happiness may doom them to miserable adulthoods."

I think it’s an excellent wake-up call for many Northfield parents—and maybe the local therapist community. Our colleges might appreciate it, too. Here’s a quote

Atlantic cover July Aug 2011Something surprising began happening: I started getting more patients like her. Sitting on my couch were other adults in their 20s or early 30s who reported that they, too, suffered from depression and anxiety, had difficulty choosing or committing to a satisfying career path, struggled with relationships, and just generally felt a sense of emptiness or lack of purpose–yet they had little to quibble with about Mom or Dad.

Instead, these patients talked about how much they "adored" their parents. Many called their parents their "best friends in the whole world," and they’d say things like "My parents are always there for me." Sometimes these same parents would even be funding their psychotherapy (not to mention their rent and car insurance), which left my patients feeling both guilty and utterly confused.

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