Tips for overly-protective parents

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist and Author, explains how parents can tell if they are overly involved in their child's life, and shares advice on ways that they work to be an appropriately involved parent
Parenting Styles | Tips For Overly Protective Parents
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Tips for overly-protective parents

Parents are always concerned about, am I appropriately involved? How involved am I supposed to be? What's the difference between an appropriately involved parent and an overly involved parent? We know that parents are supposed to be involved. That's our job. What happens when we are overly involved? Overly involved means that we are taking the tasks that our children are capable of doing and getting in the way of that. In that case, we are not being good parents because we are preventing our kids from mastering the developmental tasks that they have to master in order to grow up and go on to the next thing. I think the way that you can hear when you are being overly involved is as soon as you start hearing things like, "we" or "I." Like, "We're going to Wisconsin," or "I think you should be a doctor," or "We're taking an SAT course." That's a suggestion that there is a collapse of boundaries between you and your child. Once that happens, that's being overly involved.

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist and Author, explains how parents can tell if they are overly involved in their child's life, and shares advice on ways that they work to be an appropriately involved parent


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Madeline Levine, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant and educator. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her book, Teach Your Children Well, outlines how our current narrow definition of success unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century- creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research- based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at the Stanford School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s’ futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. So every day, Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential. We know that success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of the grading period.

Dr. Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. Currently however, she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students, and business leaders. Dr. Levine has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through High School, public as well as private, throughout the country. She has been featured on television programs from the Early Show to the Lehrer report, on NPR stations such as Diane Rheems in Washington and positively reviewed in publications from Scientific American to the Washington Post. She is sought out both nationally and internationally as an expert and keynote speaker. 

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, MD are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving sons.

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