The balance between authority and promoting independence in parenting

Parental behavior has an extremely significant influence on a child’s development, so BIPR provides services for parents in addition to those for children. These include clinical psychotherapy services and the Zero-to-Five program’s parent consultation and support groups. In a recent New York Times article, clinician, consultant, and author Madeline Levine evaluates studies of parental involvement.

Levine describes how most research, primarily performed by UC-Berkeley’s Diana Baumrind, concludes that an engaged parent who allows his or her child a certain level of independence will raise the most academically, psychologically, and socially successful children. Standford psychologist Carol Dweck’s research coincides with Baumrind’s findings, showing that children who are excessively praised are not independently confident and rely on someone elses’s approval, making them unwilling to attempt more challenging tasks at risk of losing this approval. Allowing a child to move forward and make progress on their own without intervention, even when mistakes are made, gives the child the self-motivation necessary to meet greater demands later in life. However, some initial rules and encouragement will teach the child the basics necessary for them to develop this sense of motivation. Levine emphasizes the need for distinction between enforcing good behavior and psychologically controlling the child for the parent’s personal benefit. A parent’s most effective way of encouraging a child to achieve more is to present an example of adult happiness and success.

To read more of the details on Levine’s evaluation, see the article:

Raising Successful Children

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