WATCH: Parents, stop obsessing over your kids — try "reflective parenting" instead

Salon talks to a child-parent psychiatrist about what kids really need from the adults in their lives

By Alli Joseph
April 2, 2017 2:00AM (UTC)
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This Salon video was produced by Kevin Carlin

Dr. Regina Pally, a veteran child and adult psychiatrist, stopped by Salon to calm parents' universal fears about whether their children are going to grow up all right. She discussed her theories that promote healthy growth, which she calls "reflective parenting," in her new book, "The Reflective Parent."

"In a nutshell, being a reflective parent means seeing the world from your child's perspective, as well as your own," she said. "Reflective parenting is like a tool kit. It's the skill of being reflective, and then all these guiding principles that help you keep your thinking healthy."


Pally's theory is about balance. "I think of parenting according to what I call the Goldilocks Rule. Not too much, not too little, but somewhere in the middle [is] just right."

She says kids need a lot from their parents, but it should be delivered in moderation.

"They need limits, but not just limits," Pally said. "They need empathy, understanding, [for] you to teach them the limits and boundaries. Your role as a parent is basically to teach your child how the world works, and how to be a competent social person in that world."


Pally also addressed the competitive nature of parenting today.

"In the scientific revolution, we have come to have so many cures to so many difficult problems, that we've almost become egotistical in thinking we can fix everything," she explained. "The hard truth is — and this is a hard truth for parents to accept — there is no guarantee that no matter how well you do it, your child is going to turn out well."

Alli Joseph

Alli Joseph is a writer/producer and family historian; a Native New Yorker, she is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

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Authors Books Children Kids Original Video Parenting Psychiatry The Reflective Parent