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June 21, 2011
Deflating the myth of perfect parenting
There are two kinds of parents in the world. There are those who strive to re-create for their children the blissful upbringings that they themselves once knew. And then there are the rest of us. But somewhere in the quest to make childhood a safer, happier, more secure place, parenting — and specifically, motherhood — became a highly competitive field. And as two recent, much forwarded features reveal, that zeal is not just driving parents crazy, it might not even be so great for the kids.
First, Lori Gottlieb — the author who just last year made the best-selling case for “settling” for “Mr. Good Enough” — took a similarly bar-lowering tack to parenting in this month’s Atlantic. In a story with the hot button title “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy,” Gottlieb now advocates for the “good-enough mother” and wonders, as she regards the anxious patients in her psychotherapy practice, “Was it possible [their] parents had done too much?”