by Dan Neuharth, PhD
On the other hand, you may be too permissive if you:
Ask yourself: Do the rules in your family foster optimal growth of your children, or are they set up primarily to make your life easier by protecting you from your fears and doubts? If, for example, you forbid your children to ask questions because you feel challenged by dissent, or you make children's decisions for them because it hurts to see them fail, you may be putting your fears and needs first. Part of what's so difficult about being a parent is that it's a lifelong process of letting go. Your children will eventually go their own way whether you're ready or not. You will see your children fail, be hurt, and doubt themselves. You can do everything "right" and tragic accidents can still happen. There are limits to what parents can do.
Yet there is no limit to the love, respect and affection possible between parents and children. Foster your children's social connections. Encourage their self-respect. Listen to their fears and provide feedback that they can incorporate into an accurate self-image. Respect their privacy, feelings, opinions, and equality as human beings. Encourage them to make choices and take intelligent risks. And don't feel that you have to do it alone. Talk to your mate and friends; confide your dilemmas and fears. If you or any family member experiences abnormal depression or anxiety, please seek therapy.
As Kahlil Gibran wrote, "Your children are ... the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts ... Seek not to make them like you."
Some helpful books:Mary Pipher
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys Daniel Kindlon
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood William Pollack
The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties William Doherty
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers Michael Riera
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau
The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast, Too Soon David Elkind
The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap Alvin Rosenfeld
The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life Michael Thompson
The Pocket Parent Gail Reichlin and Caroline Winkler
If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Take Your Place in the World