When to increase your child's privileges

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how to tell if and when your child is ready to have increased privileges
Parenting Tips | Knowing When To Increase Your Child's Privileges
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When to increase your child's privileges

One of the things that is difficult to parents is to figure out when their child is capable and safe from venturing from home, whether that's playing in the yard at home, whether that's taking the bike down the road, crossing streets. One of the things we know is, can your child meet the last privilege that they had? So if they were supposed to be home at dinner, and they were only supposed to be on the block, and they were able to do that. That means, the next day, maybe they can go around the block. I think parents have become unnecessarily anxious about having their children out of their sight. Part of that has to do with the media and the way that things are portrayed, that its an incredibly dangerous world. In fact, violent crime is way down from when most of us were growing up. It isn't more dangerous, it's actually safer. Often, when I do parent education, I'll ask at what age do people become comfortable with having their child take their bike and go and come back in an hour. The answer I most often get is, about 13 years old. Here's the reality of adolescent life, by 16 years old most kids are having sex. So a child needs more than three years between getting on his bike and going around the block and sexual intimacy. We have to allow for reasonable accumulation of privileges. They way we know if it's time is if your child is comfortable and have they mastered the stage before the next thing they want to do.

Madeline Levine, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how to tell if and when your child is ready to have increased privileges


Expert Bio

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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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