Richard Weissbourd is a child and family psychologist on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and School of Education…and a dad.
For many years, as a psychologist and a parent, I have kept my ear tuned to the latest wisdom parents receive about how to raise children who will become caring, strong, and responsible people. My latest research, which includes hundreds of conversations with children, parents, teachers and coaches, reveals surprising results.
The widespread desire of parents to be closer to their children—a heartening trend in many ways—and their intense focus on their children's happiness and achievements can turn children into self-involved, fragile conformists. How did we get to this point? When did our intention to be "positive parents" go too far? Why are parents praising their kids constantly? Is all this praise good for a child's moral and emotional growth? When and why did our focus on our kids' morality slip from our top priority?
These are just a few of the issues I tackle in The Parents We Mean To Be. My research has led to concrete strategies for raising moral and happy children that avoid the extremes of too much or too little involvement. The most heartening finding: parenting itself can be a tremendous source of moral growth for us as well as our kids.
Named a 2009 New Yorker Magazine
". . . a wakeup call for better moral instruction for our children."