“AUNTLORI” writes below about an epidemic that I’ve written about extensively on this blog and on the Park Slope-centered blog, “ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN." It is the narcissistically-inspired plague of parental over-involvement with their children.

As both a mother of a toddler and a teacher of college students, AUNTLORI sees the results of this vicarious acting out by parents at both ends of the journey of childhood. Whether your child is 18 months or 18 years old, Mom and Dad, you are gutting their genuine confidence and sense of self, and thereby causing them to seek the over-compensation of self-aggrandizement and exaggerated self-importance, or to collapse into permanent co-dependence, because of your neediness.

Make no mistake, parents, your ingratiating indulgence and overprotective hovering is not a measure of your love for your kids. In fact, it is not love at all. It is you desperately trying to possess and control your kids so that they can fulfill for you what you feel you haven’t fulfilled for yourself. Your fantasy is that instead of doing the hard work of healing your own wounds from your own childhood, you can simply live out a new childhood through your unsuspecting children. How nefarious and selfish is that?


"What struck me most about this was not the absurdity of parental involvement in playground battles, but the fact that when I recollect my own playground adventures as a young child, there were no parents at the playground! I lived in a crowded suburban neighborhood, with a playground down the street. It was always loaded with kids, but there were no parents standing guard. We walked down the street by ourselves, played, fought, and got hurt by ourselves. I realize that life in the city vs. life in suburia is not the same; however, most playgrounds today, even in the safest of neighborhoods, are littered with parents ready to pounce. How do kids develop confidence and independence, if they are not given any? I was shopping at a local mall recently, on a particularly cold day and stopped in at the indoor playground to let my 18 month old burn off some energy. I sat down on a bench and watched him go. It was amazing to watch all the parents hovering over each toy, slide, and groups of kids. What in the world is going to happen in a fully contained, padded indoor playground? And I wondered why, as a college professor, so many of my 18 year old students wanted someone to hold their hand through each and every assignment and exam!"


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