Great read from the Washington Post


What's Wrong with This Outfit, Mom? Written by a clinical psychologist.

Here's a snippet:

Another even bigger problem I see is indecision: Parents lack confidence in their instincts and in their judgment. Previous generations had no trouble making hard and fast rules. Parents in those days looked like and conducted themselves as adults and role models; kids and teenagers wanted to grow up and get the perks of adult life as soon as possible. Therapists see the inverse today. There are lots of parents who are uncomfortable with their grownup role and want to be young again; their kids don't want to grow up, or wish to postpone it as long as possible.

There are definitely cases I see in which girls imitate their mothers' sexy style of dress, with their mothers' blessing. (Although there was one high school girl who confided that she was glad she didn't have a mother who looked like Goldie Hawn -- too tough an act to follow!) But the majority of mothers want their daughters to dress more conservatively but are afraid to take their daughters on. Fathers, too.

They make the mistake of thinking that a good relationship is largely conflict-free. One mother said to me, "I hate to rock the boat when she's a teenager; we got along so well when she was little." They don't want a child who complains about them to her friends and the rest of the world on her blog.

I've polled a number of therapist colleagues, and virtually everyone agreed: We almost never see autocratic, dictatorial parents today; it is far more common to see parents who have relinquished power, and kids who have assumed it. Which makes for very unhappy young people. They are petulant and angry; they lack respect for their parents because their parents haven't inspired respect through real leadership.

Without that leadership, kids have trouble recognizing lines of propriety. Boys don't know where the line is and where to stop; and girls -- or gurrrrrrrrls, as the new terminology puts it -- who have become accustomed to their deliberately outre styles of dress, are displaying increasingly aggressive sexual behavior.

Hat tip to the ladies over at Inkwell, the blog of the Independent Women's Forum.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on November 21, 2005 1:28 PM.

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