To the Editor:
Madeline Levine (“Raising Successful Children,” Sunday Review, Aug. 5) says “the happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing.” This formula pertains equally to adult relationships.
In marriage, for example, one person commonly rushes in to give advice or take over because he or she can’t tolerate seeing a partner struggle to figure out how to work the new remote control, or put a snowsuit on a flailing toddler.
What matters most in all family relationships is not that things get done “right,” but rather that each person gives the other the space to make mistakes and develop competence through trial and error.
If you can’t learn to be “less helpful” with the adults in your life, you won’t be able to do this for your children.
Lawrence, Kan., Aug. 5, 2012
The writer, a clinical psychologist, is the author of many books about family relationships, most recently, “Marriage Rules.”