The Trophy Kids

Lori Gottlieb speaks to parenting expert Wendy Mogel about the ways well-meaning parents can ruin their children.

Lori Gottlieb speaks to parenting expert Wendy Mogel about the ways well-meaning parents can ruin their children.

Also see:

How to Land Your Kids in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb

The Atlantic, July/August 2011

Something surprising began happening: I started getting more patients like her. Sitting on my couch were other adults in their 20s or early 30s who reported that they, too, suffered from depression and anxiety, had difficulty choosing or committing to a satisfying career path, struggled with relationships, and just generally felt a sense of emptiness or lack of purpose--yet they had little to quibble with about Mom or Dad.

Instead, these patients talked about how much they "adored" their parents. Many called their parents their "best friends in the whole world," and they'd say things like "My parents are always there for me." Sometimes these same parents would even be funding their psychotherapy (not to mention their rent and car insurance), which left my patients feeling both guilty and utterly confused.

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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