Parenting artistic children

Psychologist & Author Madeline Levine, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to encourage creativity and passion in your artistically minded child
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Parenting artistic children

One of the things that is really challenging about being a parent is, you don't know exactly what kind of kid you are going to have. You can have an academic kid. You can have a creative kid. You can have a hands-on kid. Part of our job is to be able to adjust and embrace the differences in our children. Sometimes that can be challenging. My middle son is creative, with a capital C. I think of creative in two ways. One is, we are all creative. Then there are the kids who want to be photographers and artists, directors and actors. Parents say, "Well, they can't make a living at that. Shouldn't I tell them to be more practical?" Having lived this and treated it in my life as a psychologist, this is how I feel about the capital C kids: They are rivers, and you can be a rock and get in the middle of it, but they will flow around you. That kind of creativity is in somebody's blood and is an essential part of who they are. Of course, you can talk about the realities of a difficult lifestyle versus being a lawyer or an accountant, but you can't stop your child and you wouldn't want to stop your child from following what they are passionate about. All you can do by saying "No, you can't be an artist." Is you can damage your relationship with your child. That's the last thing you want to do.

Psychologist & Author Madeline Levine, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to encourage creativity and passion in your artistically minded child


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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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