News Articles

Published:  September 16, 2003

“Mom and Pop Wisdom”

*A Triangle “Family Life Expert” and her husband dispense parenting advice on the radio…

Tiffany from Raleigh has a problem.  Her 5 year old son is a miser. Her husband “spoils” him with too many toys, and the kid hoards his loot like a mini-Midas, refusing to share or part with anything.  “How can I teach him how important it is to care about others and not just himself?” Tiffany asks.

Katharine Leslie, Ph.D., aka Dr. Mama, nods, listening to Tiffany’s plight through her earphones. It’s the kind of complaint Leslie and her co-host/husband, Steve Case, aka Psychodad, have repeatedly addressed in the eight weeks they’ve been hosting their fledgling call-in radio show. **”The Family Hour,” hosted by Dr. Mama and Psychodad,

is the Triangle’s newest, family oriented call-in show. This show deals more with family coaching and raising kids … it gets a little more hands-on and in-depth.” Dr. Mama’s advice to Tiffany this afternoon: Model generous behavior and encourage the kid to do likewise. He’ll catch on. But be patient. Five-year-olds, after all, are not known for altruism. As both doctor and mama, Leslie knows what she’s talking about. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology; in fact, Leslie has sometimes directed callers with issues too complex to tackle via the airwaves to call her private practice in Pittsboro. Married for 18 years, she and Case have adopted four children. He’s a stay-at-home dad and homemaker.

The show’s goal is to provide support, information and entertainment to parents from fellow parents. And the tone is friendly; preachiness, hidden agendas (religious or political, for instance) and nagging aren’t tolerated, Case and Leslie say. That light tone is reflected, too, in Case’s moniker. Psychodad, he says “is meant to sort of celebrate that part of parenthood that all parents go through where you’re going crazy.” The couple say the No. 1 problem they hear about from parents today is how to instill respect for adults in their children and how to effectively discipline their children. “I have found adults want respect from children but they’re not willing to teach (their children how to respect them,” Leslie says.

*To read this article in its entirety
see the News & Observer – Tuesday, September 16, 2003.
**This radio program is no longer on air.  
However,  Dr. Leslie is available for interviews for all types of media outlets.  
Please call 336-376-8366 for further information.

RALEIGH  NEWS & OBSERVER  Published: Oct 12, 2004
Are we spoiling kids rotten?
Overindulgent parents neglect true needs, experts say…

By KAREN GUZMAN, Staff Writer

He was only 4 years old, but that kid ran the house. Rummaging through the refrigerator, eating what he pleased. Commanding the television, watching whatever he chose. Going to bed when he felt like it. No one dared interfere with the tot’s sovereignty. His befuddled parents were beside themselves.

Casting back 12 years, Family Life Educator Katharine Leslie remembers the clients who made her realize something was askew in American parent-land.  Leslie, a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, has a private practice in Pittsboro and works with many Raleigh families. These parents, though, illustrated the problem perfectly.

Their reasoning: “That the child should have equality in the home and everywhere,” Leslie says. They didn’t want to hurt his self-esteem, they explained, by criticizing or imposing limits on him. To her surprise, Leslie began hearing more versions of this logic from parents who wouldn’t set limits or enforce rules. “I was hearing things from parents, and I couldn’t believe my ears,” she says.

The age of permissive/indulgent parenting had arrived, she says, and it’s still going strong. Its hallmarks are parents afraid of denying children and, consequently, their disrespectful children running amok. But the problem runs deeper. Experts say overindulging kids is actually a form of child neglect. Indulgent parents give kids too much of everything: material goods, freedom, privileges. And they expect too little of children. Such parenting prevents children from achieving important developmental milestones and from learning life skills.

Overindulged kids often suffer from poor social skills and impulse control. They’re set up to become narcissistic, lazy and unable to cope with life’s ups and downs. “It’s an epidemic,” Leslie says. At a time when U.S. culture promotes indulgence, experts say “good” parenting has become a counterculture activity.

Leslie spent the past year traveling across the country leading workshops for mental health professionals on how to combat child indulgence. The Cary-based American Society of Professional Education hired her — and other experts — to give workshops on the topic. “It’s a growing issue. We saw a need early on with professionals,” says Brian Wolf, ASPE senior product developer. Since 2003, ASPE has tutored more than 16,000 mental health professionals in 300 cities on how to re-educate parents. “The point is to convert the parents of overindulged children into more of a mentoring parent,” Wolf says.

Overindulgent parents have always been around. But the current epidemic has its roots in the “me” decade of the ’70’s, which begat the “self-esteem movement,” Leslie says. Self-esteem then morphed into political correctness. “It turned into, we’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. Everything became OK. You’re not allowed to judge anybody,” Leslie says.

But these beliefs don’t translate well to raising children. “We’ve fabricated this place of specialness,” Leslie says. “The goal became we’re going to give children self-esteem by telling them how good they are, even though they haven’t done anything” to earn it.

Buying their love

Throw into this stew parental guilt over working long hours and a mind-set that equates cell phones and iPods with love. “Now the whole culture seems to buy into it,” Leslie says. She breaks overindulgent behavior into three categories. Material indulgence is one. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, 12-to-19-year-olds spent about $175 billion last year, $53 billion more than they spent in 1997.

Permissiveness and over-nurturing are the other prongs of over-indulgency. Permissiveness covers issues such as allowing teens to date too young. And Leslie describes over-nurturing as “doing for kids what they can do for themselves, not allowing them to be moderately frustrated.”

Let me entertain you

Experts agree that overindulgence isn’t about too much love; it’s about too few limits. Kids need time and attention. But they need the right type, in the right doses, at the right stages in their development. Too many stay-at-home parents, for instance, have turned into kiddie entertainers, Leslie says. Infants aside, a child should not command a parent’s nonstop attention all day. Learning to play independently is a crucial skill. Kids who never master it are among those who can’t sit still or keep quiet in school.

*To read this article in its entirety
see the News & Observer – October 12, 2004.

Brand New Day Consulting Just For Families Services for Agencies Seminars News Articles BND Publishing

Brand New Day Consulting
27 12 Quakenbush Rd.
Snow Camp, NC
336-376 8366 * 336-376-9674 (fax)
[email protected]

Copyright 2007-2023 © Brand New Day Consulting