“Parents must immediately take a step back,” says Harriet Rossetto, founder of the educational institution and residential treatment center, Beit T’Shuvah. “This generation’s inclination toward over-parenting is devastating to the child and the parents.”
Ms. Rossetto is working with families daily who are negatively impacted by an over-indulgent approach to raising a child. She first made the connection between parenting in affluent families and the failure to launch of their children,15 years ago. Now with rates of depression, addiction and suicide on the rise, she felt the urgent need to share the knowledge Beit T’Shuvah applies with families, so others have the opportunity to fix these problems before it’s too late.
Beit T’Shuvah is announcing the launch of an awareness campaign on “Trauma of Privilege.” This effort will include discussions, workshops, and educational outreach explaining how parents cause this trauma, what they can do to avoid it, and how teenage and adult children can undo th e damage.
The educational institution conducted a study, Drug, Alcohol, and Risky Behavior Report, which proves the rates of depression among affluent teens and young adults correspond to the rates of depression and anxiety suffered by incarcerated juveniles. “These children feel overlooked, believing as long as they appear to do well on the outside in athletics or with top grades, that no one will ever question or care if they’re falling apart on the inside,” explains Rossetto.
The “Trauma of Privilege” is not referencing the top 1% of society, but rather families privileged enough to have the time and inclination to be over involved in their children’s lives. Rossetto explains, they often helicopter to the point of eliminating choices, challenges, and the growth essential to discovering individual passions.
Beit T’Shuvah educators believe these statistics are often a direct result of misguided parenting:
In 2013 The American College Health Association surveyed close to 100,000 college students. When asked about their experiences 84.3% felt overwhelmed, 60.5% felt sad, 51.3% felt overwhelming anxiety, 31.8% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function, and 8% seriously considered suicide.
There’s been much talk about these older children who suffer from a failure to launch as a generation of listlessness, age of entitlement, or they’re described as narcissistic. Ms. Rossetto views it as a medical condition, a trauma imposed by those with the very best intentions. “The benefit of viewing this condition through the trauma lens rather than the personality disorder lens is that the latter is static, the former infinitely reparable,” explains Rossetto. “The label narcissistic personality brands you for life; trauma views adaptive behavior as a learned way of being that can be unlearned.”
Steps to Heal:
- Adult children need to be free of parental control and to experience the consequences of their choices without being rescued.
- Parents must separate their happiness from the successes and failures of their children. This means leading a truly independent life void of any expectation or pressure placed on their children.
Trauma of Privilege Awareness Campaign:
- Discussion on parental missatunement on August 30th with Julie Lythcott-Haines, the author of the book “How to Raise an Adult,” in which Beit T’Shuvah’s research and practices are referenced throughout.
- Harriet Rossetto will conduct a workshop on October 11th, along with Lisa Miller, author of “The Spiritual Child.”
- The Beit T’Shuvah team will integrate teachings of Trauma of Privilege in their educational outreach at school sites throughout theLos Angeles area.
- Trauma of Privilege education & outreach efforts to be coordinated with national partners in community education.
Doug Rosen, Directors of the Prevention Program at Beit T’Shuvah, says educational outreach is essential in order to raise awareness and to stop the downward spiral of susceptible youth. “The first reaction we get from children and parents is relief,” explains Rosen. “It’s like the wake up call they didn’t know they needed, and then there’s the realization that they don’t have to keep going like this. Parents don’t have to make themselves crazy trying to fix everything, and their children are given the freedom to speak up and admit they’re struggles.”
“The pressure to get the top grades, be the best athlete, and get into the best schools isn’t worth the pain that it builds,” says Rossetto. “Parents don’t have to be perfect, and neither do children. It’s facing and then dealing with challenges that make us healthier and more complete human beings.”
Harriet Rossetto was recently honored by the White House administration for her uniquely successful approach to drug and addiction prevention.
Harriet Rossetto is the founder and executive vice president of Beit T’Shuvah, a residential treatment center and educational institution in West Los Angeles. Her belief that addiction is a malady of the soul inspired her to create a community that for 30 years has supported the process of recovery through spiritual healing. The Obama administration selected her this summer as an Advocate for Action, a national role model for her unique approach to addiction prevention and called on her to advise on national drug control policy. The Bush administration recognized her work with recovering Jewish addicts as an example of why the government should support faith based efforts. Harriet’s been honored with the Alan Kassin award for professional achievement from the Jewish Communal Professionals, the Vision Philanthropy Award, and the Isaiah Award from the Jewish Federation for filling an unmet community need. Rossetto has also authored her own spiritual memoir, “Sacred Housekeeping.”
SOURCE Beit T’Shuvah