How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

Lori Gottlieb, the author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough has an interesting piece in the Atlantic entitled “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy.” Apparently, in today’s society, parent’s obsession with their kids’ happiness is likely to bring a lifetime of adult misery:

The irony is that measures of self-esteem are poor predictors of how content a person will be, especially if the self-esteem comes from constant accommodation and praise rather than earned accomplishment. According to Jean Twenge, research shows that much better predictors of life fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency, and reality-testing—qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day.

Earlier this year, I met with a preschool teacher who told me that in her observation, many kids aren’t learning these skills anymore. She declined to be named, for fear of alienating parents who expect teachers to agree with their child-rearing philosophy, so I’ll call her Jane.

Jean Twenge is the co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement and in the article says that kids never really learn how to fail anymore. They are all told they are terrific and everything they do is great.

So where would kids learn perseverance, resilience and reality testing? Even our government officials show few of these traits, particularly the latter.

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