Yes, says a panel of parenting experts. Children need nurturing, but they also need "something to bump up against."
"It's actually really healthy for your kids to think they were born into the wrong family," insists Lori Gottlieb in this Aspen Ideas session about parenting. It's an argument Gottlieb made in her July/August 2011 cover story, "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy": well-meaning parents have raised a generation of young adults who require constant hand-holding.
Lawrence Cohen, author of the book Playful Parenting, agrees. Here, he talks about children's need for "something to bump up against" -- a resistance he says many helicopter and attachment parents are reluctant to provide.
Harvard house master Erika Christakis offers an example of where this sort of coddling can lead. In one of the most memorable moments from this session, she shares a letter from a student who failed to read a course syllabus carefully. "I am completely astonished about these revelations and not sure how this happened," the Ivy League student wrote to the professor, after realizing that several major deadlines had come and gone. "I'm also surprised you didn't notify me earlier of my failure to complete these assignments. What do you suggest that we do?"