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The Risk-Taker’s Advantage

Are Today's Parents Too Overprotective?

Michael Ungar

There’s now consensus among social scientists that children in developed countries have never been safer. But the new normal is a growing pattern of overprotection that I’ve seen emerging as one of the thorniest clinical issues for therapists because it can look so reasonable. Rather than insisting that parents change their behavior and supervise their children less, I focus on how they can give their kids opportunities to experience the manageable amounts of risk and responsibility needed for success.

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Jay Haley Takes Family Therapy to Task

The Story of Family Therapy's Unabashed Founding Father

Mary Sykes Wylie

Jay Haley was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. But as someone who translated the abstruse concepts of cybernetics—the rules, sequences, and feedback loops that guide self-regulating machines—into the lingua franca of family therapy, Haley helped give the field its organizing principles.

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Therapy in the New World of Kids and Teens

Ron Taffel on How Today's Child Therapist Can Build Rapport

Ron Taffel

While at first glance, 21st-century adolescents appear impossibly cool---cooler than we could have ever been ourselves---teens today are running hot with cultural forces that have redefined the nature of their consciousness and experience of selfhood. Therapy with adolescents needs to change fundamentally. We may not have the power to alter the techno-pop culture that defines so much of teen experience today, but by focusing treatment squarely on how to engage adolescents in a vital relationship, we can make an enormous difference in their lives.

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Bubble-Wrapping Our Children

The Perils of Overprotective Parenting

Michael Ungar

While not all overprotective parents are as extreme in their behaviors as Shyam (indeed, few experience themselves as being obsessive at all), many middle-class families are struggling to decide how much protection is the right amount, even when their children are showing signs of anxiety and rebellion as a result. Whether these families are my clients or my neighbors, overprotective parenting appears to have become the rule, rather than the exception, in today’s world.

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