Written by Dr. John Carosso
The Essential Ingredients
-Start with a fun-loving, intelligent, inquisitive child who wants nothing more than to please his or her parents.
-Add-in a demanding, critical parent.
-Keep adding the parental demands and expectations.
-Add only a pinch of some subdued praise, and praise only for the highest of achievements.
-Add a few hundred cups of ‘you should have done better’ no matter the accomplishment.
-Add a few hundred more cups of admonishment, even when the child achieves.
-Add modeling of a workaholic lifestyle, achievement at all cost, and no room or tolerance for failure.
-Stir-in a perspective that everything is a competition.
-If someone complains this combination of ingredients is bitter, add a rationalization that “it’s the only way my child is going to become somebody” and “they’ll thank me some day for this…”
-Add a dash or two of parent being emotionally detached, especially for any positive interactions.
-Mix these ingredients together for fifteen years, beginning at a very young age, and try to keep ingredients from boiling over (won’t be easy).
Just like that, you’ll serve-up a completely neurotic, anxious, panicked, overwhelmed teenager who must earn straight A’s or it’s ‘the end of the world’; not only has to be in every club and sport but must be the captain of the team and president of the club; and does not know how to relax or calm themselves. You’ll have a teenager who ends-up in my office, experiencing panic attacks, feeling depressed, having trouble with friends because everything is an Olympic-style competition, and feeling that no matter what they do, no matter how much they achieve, that it’s simply not good enough; a feeling that will haunt them their entire lives.
If this sounds too familiar; if you think it’s time to change your order and put-out a new menu, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org