A common phrase around our house is,”Yeah, well, it’ll be something for them to tell their therapist.” My husband is a actual therapist,so I think he knows whereof he speaks.
So does Paula Bloom, presumably. She posted a story this week titled “What Can You Do to Lower Your Kids’ Future Therapy Bills?” I clicked over, thinking this was tongue in cheek. And it was…but still came off as pretty guilt-mongering for parents. While she jokingly lists which screwups might levy the heftiest bills (Forgetting to pick up the kid at a birthday party: $1,000; letting the child cry because the sleep advice book told you to: $2,500;bringing store-bought cookies to the school bake sale: $600), she still places the blame for an adult’s decision to seek therapy squarely on the parents.
While she tells parents that we are worrying about the wrong things, she also says that “parents looking for a healthy state of mind for their children should look no farther than the bathroom mirror.”
Whoa. I fully acknowledge that we have a major responsibility for instilling a healthy mental attitude in our children. But really? It’s all on us? This completely ignores the possibility of a biochemical blip, or a hardwired tendency toward depression, bipolar disorder or worse, to name a few. No currrent psychological thinking places all the blame soley for those problems on bad parenting — and the kind of parenting that does influence these outcomes tends to be the exception to the norm.
Her final point is a good one, that parents need to be aware of their own weaknesses in order to better parent their children. But most of us veer from somewhat bad to pretty good to great on a daily basis — and generations of children have grown up to be empathic, effective, fully-realized adults despite our screwups.