The Perils of Overparenting: Is 'extra love' causing more harm than good to our children?

Generation of Overprotected Youth: Despite the best intentions, modern interventions have backfired, resulting in a generation of young people plagued by anxiety, depression, and a fear of growing up.

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Generation of Overprotected Youth: In the quest for perfect parenting, many of us have unwittingly created a generation of young people who are lonelier, more anxious, and less resilient than ever before. The rise of touchy-feely parenting coupled with an overreliance on therapy has led to a generation of children who struggle to cope with life's challenges. Abigail Shrier uncovers six concerning trends in modern therapy that could be doing more harm than good to our children.

The Rise of Overprotective Parenting

In previous generations, parenting was often more straightforward, with less emphasis on catering to children's every whim and emotion. However, as adults who underwent therapy ourselves, we vowed to parent differently, rejecting traditional notions of authority in favour of fostering closer relationships with our children. We sought happiness for our children above all else, turning to parenting books and experts for guidance.

The Pitfalls of Hyper-Focused Parenting

Yet, as we became increasingly attuned to our children's feelings, we struggled to tolerate their discomfort or disappointment. The more we scrutinised their emotions, the more apparent their struggles seemed, leading to a rush towards mental health professionals for diagnosis and treatment. However, despite our best intentions, these interventions have backfired, resulting in a generation of young people plagued by anxiety, depression, and a fear of growing up.

A Crisis of Resilience

Today's young people are facing a mental health crisis unlike any seen before. Despite the widespread availability of therapy and medication, rates of depression and anxiety among children and adolescents continue to soar. Rather than building resilience, therapy has left many young people feeling even more helpless and afraid.

The Problem with Diagnosis and Medication

While therapy and medication may offer relief for some, they are not always the answer for every child. In fact, overdiagnosis and overmedication may be exacerbating the problem, leaving children feeling labelled and stigmatised. Moreover, the side effects of medication can further compound their struggles, leaving them feeling even more isolated and disconnected.

Reconsidering Therapeutic Approaches

It's time to reassess our approach to therapy and parenting. Rather than prioritising feelings and diagnosing every minor issue, we need to empower our children to navigate life's challenges with resilience and independence. This means allowing them to experience discomfort, failure, and even risk-taking, rather than constantly shielding them from adversity.

Embracing a Balanced Approach

By trusting our instincts as parents and encouraging our children to think about others, take on responsibilities, and form meaningful connections, we can help them develop the resilience and confidence they need to thrive in an uncertain world. Let's reject the culture of overprotection and embrace a more balanced approach to parenting that values independence, resilience, and personal growth above all else.