Moms

Intervention time! Do you need Parents Anonymous?

June 20, 2011 at 7:35 AM ET

Wendy Mogel, author of "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" and "The Blessing of a B-minus," joined TODAY to talk about how to bring helicopter parents in for a landing. Here, she shares her "12-step program" for parent who do way, way too much for their kids.

I’ve seen increasing numbers of devoted, loving, highly intelligent parents treating perfectly capable children like handicapped royalty. These good-intentioned parents overprotect, overindulge, overschedule and over-tutor their children. What’s the downside? More and more kids suffering from entitlement, anxiety and low motivation.

Understanding how hard it is to resist what everyone else is doing -- the new normal of parenting -- I've created a 12-step program for parents in need... Parents Anonymous. 

1.   Resist taking the role of butler, sherpa, concierge, talent agent or the secret police -- parents lead best by example.

2.   Don’t mistake a snapshot for the epic movie of your child’s life. Kids go through phases.

3.   Before you nag, criticize, praise or over-explain, remember the slogan W.A.I.T.: “why am I talking?”

4.   Be alert but not automatically alarmed.

5.   Don’t confuse children’s wants with their needs.

6.   Remember that your child is not your masterpiece.

7.   Learn to love the words “trial” and “error.” Let your child make mistakes before going off to college.

8.   Don’t fix what’s not broken.  Accept your child’s nature even if he’s shy, stubborn, or not great at math. 

9.   When your child doesn’t make the team, the school play, or the in-group, remember that this is good preparation for adult life.

10. Recognize that the grades your child receives are not the measure of your worth as a parent.

11. Emphasize ordinary chores and family citizenship along with schoolwork and extracurriculars.

12. Give your kids time to play… lest they try to sue you for stealing their childhoods.

Dr. Wendy Mogel is a clinical psychologist, parenting expert and the author of the New York Times bestselling parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Her new book, The Blessing of a B Minus, is about raising teenagers.

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