I recently saw the movie, "AIR," about Nike's improbable success in signing Michael Jordan to a basketball shoe contract which eventually changed the future of Nike and professional sports of all types.
One scene which struck me was when the main character, Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), has a vibrant conversation with Michael Jordan's mother, (Viola Davis), trying to convince the family to sign with NIKE as opposed to the conventional superbrands of the time, (Adidas and Converse).
Vacarro says, "I am here because I believe in your son… I believe he is capable of incredible things, not just on the basketball court, and I believe you may be the only person on earth other than me who knows it". He understands that mothers know their children best and would trust only the one that can understand that and provide what they want for their children.
Mrs. Jordan returns with a proposal allowing her son to participate in shoe marketing and sales profits. A business proposal that has never been considered by anyone to date. She knows her son's ability and what is best for his future.
As a child psychiatrist working with parents, I listen to how parents describe their children, their children's dreams, and their wishes and dreams for their children. The parents' knowledge helps assess how to understand the child's struggles, but at the same time, their perceptions are colored by their own experiences and values.
Parental consultation helps clarify and identify their values with the reality of the child. Working together is essential to get a new picture, unblurred by preconceived ideas, and allows a therapeutic place to come out for the child. The consultation identifies the parent's self-picture and opportunities/choices for the child. I listen attentively as they provide the history and symptoms of their child. They know their children more than anyone and can provide valuable information. Parents seek consultation as they seek new ideas for continuing the parenting process. I admire and respect them; I am thankful for the opportunity they bring to work together and help their children grow.
Khalil Gibran wrote, "Your children are not your children; they are the sons and daughters of life longing for itself." I remember my mother struggling with this idea. I believe there is a middle ground for the over-involved over-involved parents and the final path we must allow to let our children live their lives and write their own stories.