Psychologist Lynn Johnson is confident that his two young granddaughters, Lily, 7 and Emma, 4, will be successful adults as their parents, who have benefitted from Johnson's parenting influence, did not let fear affect their parenting style to his granddaughters. Experts said Johnson is right. Parents, who let children make choices, weigh and take risks in age-appropriate ways, might end up with kids who have enhanced problem-solving skills, boosted physical and psychological well-being and well-built resilience.
Johnson was fearful when he first became a parent. He and his wife wanted to keep their children safe all the time. On 1992, he read research that showed the benefits of nurturing optimism, which he decided to adopt in his parenting style.
Johnson said he overcame his fear and believed his children were benefitted. He added that he shifted his attitude and with a risk-embracing parenting style, the children also shifted towards optimism.
Lisa Pisha, a family therapist, noted that kids normally have fears, which can be aggravated by the fear of their parents. "Studies show that our acquisition of fears and their negative influence is determined by what our parents have modeled for us. We learn how to handle fear and what to be afraid of from our family," Pisha said to Desert News.
On the other hand, parents who are fear-driven in all decisions might have children who are anxious, timid and sometimes neither capable nor flexible adults, experts said. They suggest that kids have to make choices, take some risks and should be taught how to weigh up risks by their parents in age-appropriate ways.
Tim Elmore, founder, and president of Growing Leaders, said today's generation of parents is riddled with fear and are scared of their kids will get pregnant, won't make it on the honor roll or will get abducted and will be killed. However the truth, according to Today's Parent, is crime rates are the lowest they have of 40 years and children have never been safer.
Experts said parents should be the children's guide and not a guard. Linda Lucas, the assistant professor in Human Services Department in Florida's Beacon College and a licensed mental health counselor, said when children grow feeling restrained, they're at risk to act out the greatest fears of their parents.
So she suggested that parents should teach their children that healthy concerns are the beginning of preventing risks, however scaring them, thinking that doing so will protect them, creates the risk of developing troubled kids. For example, rather than refusing to let the children walk to the shopping mall for fear of the kills will be killed or abducted, parents should tell them to walk together with their friends and to watch out traffic.
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