Bad Therapy, Weak Parenting, Broken Children | Abigail Shrier | EP 427

Bad Therapy, Weak Parenting, Broken Children | Abigail Shrier | EP 427

2024 tour Info (00:00:00)

  • Jordan Peterson announces his 2024 tour, starting in February and running through June.
  • The tour will visit 51 cities in the US.
  • More information and ticketing details are available on Jordan Peterson's website.
  • The tour will cover ideas from his upcoming book, "We Who Wrestle with God," to be released in November 2024.

Coming up (00:00:39)

  • Peterson emphasizes the importance of parenting in raising good children.
  • He suggests removing unnecessary psych meds, diagnoses, over-monitoring, over-coddling, and over-accommodation.
  • By doing so, parents can raise good kids and reduce their fear of teachers with different values and the influence of social media.

Intro (00:01:16)

  • Jordan Peterson introduces Abigail Shrier, author of the book "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters."
  • Their previous conversation on the podcast focused on the transgender phenomenon and the medical treatments associated with it.
  • Shrier's new book, "Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up," analyzes the problems within the therapeutic enterprise.
  • The discussion on YouTube lasts for about an hour and a half, with an additional half hour on the Daily Wire Plus side.

“Irreversible Damage”: revisited (00:02:51)

  • Abigail Shrier's first book discussed the sudden rise in transgender identification among teen girls.
  • She hypothesized that it was part of a social contagion influenced by social media, peers, and therapists.
  • Many parents relied on therapists to guide their parenting and help their children.
  • Therapists often made the sense of being transgender worse by reifying it in the kids.
  • Shrier began to wonder about the other kinds of mischief therapists were making with kids.

It used to be hard to become a therapist (00:05:56)

  • In the past, clinical psychologists were well-trained, scientifically trained, and careful.
  • The field has been invaded by people who lack the intelligence and wisdom to be therapists.
  • These naive social worker types are ideology-addled and insist that their theories explain everything.
  • This weakness has magnified itself tremendously, leading to Shrier's fear and shame about the current state of therapy.

What prompted Shrier to write “Bad Therapy” (00:07:32)

  • Shrier initially had a different hypothesis, believing that the rise in mental health issues among the younger generation was not necessarily due to therapy.
  • Despite 40% of young people receiving therapy, their mental health was declining.
  • Shrier observed that the increase in therapeutic interventions coincided with worsening mental health, contrary to expectations.
  • She explored the iatrogenic effects of therapy, acknowledging that therapy can have harmful consequences.
  • Therapists often overlook or deny the potential harms of therapy, claiming it has only healing powers.
  • Shrier noticed that children were receiving excessive psychological intervention not only from therapists but also in schools and from parents guided by therapists.

What’s wrong with trauma informed care? (00:10:19)

  • Abigail Shrier believes that the therapeutic industry is doing more harm than good because it is treating people who don't need treatment.
  • Treating people who don't have severe mental health problems increases the risk of iatrogenesis, which is the introduction of harm by a healer.
  • Shrier has seen firsthand the harms that therapy can cause, such as convincing kids that they are transgender, anxiety, depression, family alienation, loss of a sense of agency, and treatment dependency.
  • Shrier points to false diagnosis as a causal role in the pathologization of therapy recipients.
  • She argues that it is a mistake to jump to the conclusion that someone who is depressed and anxious and shows signs of body dysmorphia is born in the wrong body and needs surgical intervention.

Chloe Cole, the evil of affirmation (00:15:50)

  • Khloe Cole, a detransitioner, is suing therapists who medically transitioned her.
  • Therapists failed to explain that increased negative emotions during puberty are normal for girls.
  • Therapists didn't explain that women tend to focus on body image during negative emotions, while men focus on socioeconomic status.
  • Cole envisioned herself as having a curvy figure but recognized she would have boyish features due to early puberty.
  • Cole's thought of becoming a boy was dismissed as an 11-year-old's delusional thought by credible individuals.
  • Incompetent therapists pushed Cole towards hormonal transformation and potential surgical intervention.
  • Affirming, agreeing, and altering self-understanding with a diagnosis are standard practices in therapy.
  • Many high school students in Los Angeles are in therapy and identify with a mental health diagnosis.
  • Identifying with a diagnosis is a negative effect of therapy.

Is it “all social media”? (00:20:33)

  • The deterioration of youth mental health cannot be solely attributed to social media.
  • In 2016, one in six children aged 2 to 8 had a mental health or behavioral diagnosis, before the widespread use of social media and smartphones.
  • Youth mental health has been in decline since the 1950s, suggesting that social media is only a partial explanation.
  • Two questions arise: why has social media had such a negative impact on youth mental health, and why have we not taken action to address it in the past eight years?
  • The answers to these questions are related to the actions of mental health experts.

Pressure from the professional governing boards (00:23:30)

  • Therapists are required to affirm transgender identities to avoid repercussions from governing boards, even if they believe it's harmful.
  • Therapists who express caution or suggest alternative approaches risk their livelihoods and reputations.
  • This culture of affirmation is a result of laws against conversion therapy and ideological enforcement.
  • In Canada, therapists are unwilling to speak out against the transgender trend due to fear of retribution from governing boards.
  • Governing boards that accredit university programs for clinical psychologists require social justice orientation, reinforcing the victimhood narrative.
  • Therapists' legal and training obligations lead them to reinforce the victim position in their patients.
  • Rewarding victimhood through differential attention reinforces mental health diagnoses as identities.
  • This toxic environment encourages young people to choose mental health diagnoses over normality.

Don’t hand your children to malicious strangers (00:27:15)

  • Therapists are diagnosing and medicating children for minor deviations from a benchmark without tracking the harmful effects of their interventions, including constantly ruminating on sad moments and questioning everything before doing it.
  • Parents' unwillingness to assert their authority has allowed therapists to become the authority figures in children's lives, and therapists are incentivized to keep children coming back for the longest period.
  • Some mothers of daughters with rapid-onset gender dysphoria may have borderline personality disorder, which can lead them to manipulate their children and sacrifice their well-being for their own attention.
  • The accusation that a parent would rather have a dead child than a transgender child can pressure parents into supporting treatments they may not agree with.
  • Many parents are unaware of the issues happening in schools, such as the influence of psychopathic teachers, due to their trust in institutions and the media.

Self consciousness and misery are directly linked (00:32:56)

  • Negative emotion is associated with depression and anxiety.
  • Self-referential statements load with neuroticism.
  • Self-consciousness and being depressed and anxious are the same thing.
  • Therapists and teachers induce depression and anxiety in kids by constantly asking them how they are feeling.
  • Parents are handing over their kids to therapists and letting them guide their parenting.
  • Parental authority is important for kids, it doesn't mean being cold or cruel.

Happiness does not stem from self actualization (00:34:54)

  • Mental health is thought to be subjective and internal, but this is not true.
  • Happiness is not found in self-actualization alone, it requires proper situation in a hierarchy that includes the social environment.
  • Focusing on oneself leads to misery, depression, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, and insanity.
  • Kids should be taught to take their place in the world, have a partner, friends, an occupation, and an educational plan.
  • The current focus on mental health diagnoses as an alternative to normality is oppressive and harmful.

We created the infrastructure for miserable lives (00:37:10)

  • Mental health experts have contributed to the problem of unhappy lives by focusing on individual happiness and not addressing the underlying unhealthy societal structures.
  • True happiness comes from doing things for others and feeling part of a social fabric, which are not areas where mental health experts can provide guidance.

The self esteem movement ruined independence and achievement (00:38:18)

  • The self-esteem movement, promoted by social psychologists, encouraged celebrating non-achievements, which led to narcissism being confused with self-esteem.
  • Scales for self-esteem and negative emotions show no difference, indicating that low self-esteem is similar to depression and anxiety.
  • Educational psychologists fostered dependency by requiring children to seek permission for important decisions, hindering their independence.
  • The culture of trigger warnings and protection promoted by mental health experts exacerbates anxiety instead of addressing it effectively.
  • The actions of the therapeutic community, educational psychologists, social psychologists, and social workers have collectively contributed to the current state of mental instability in children.

Kids today are “afraid to even try” (00:41:22)

  • Abigail Shrier discusses the negative impact of modern therapeutic culture and parenting practices on young adults, leading to increased anxiety, depression, and a lack of agency.
  • The therapeutic era and its experts promote treatment dependency and discourage independent decision-making, contributing to this issue.
  • Modern parenting avoids competition, depriving children of opportunities to learn resilience and cope with setbacks, instilling a fear of failure and risk-aversion in young adults.
  • Parents rush children to experts for exhibiting behaviors outside the norm or expressing a different gender identity, driven by the fear of trauma, despite research showing resilience is the norm in response to potentially traumatic events.
  • Parents have become overly reliant on experts who may have incentives to treat children as sick, even when they are not.

A terrible hypothesis for the toxic maternal instinct of modern women (00:47:30)

  • The hypothesis suggests that women who are childless or have delayed childbearing may redirect their maternal instincts into other areas, such as education and the therapeutic industry.
  • This hypothesis is based on the observation that many women in these fields display a hyperdeveloped maternal side and treat others as infants.
  • The author proposes that this behavior may be a result of women struggling to reconcile their maternal instincts with the demands of modern society, which often require them to delay childbearing or forgo it altogether.
  • The author discusses the concept of the "necessary failure of the good mother," which refers to the process by which mothers must gradually step back and allow their children to become independent.
  • This process can be difficult for mothers, as it requires them to let go of their role as the primary caregiver and allow their children to experience setbacks and failures.
  • The author suggests that fathers can play an important role in this process by providing a higher threshold for child distress and encouraging children to take risks.
  • The author argues that educational institutions have been transformed into "NeverEnding nurseries," where students are treated as infants and their needs are catered to excessively.
  • This transformation is seen as a result of the influx of women into these fields, who may be redirecting their maternal instincts into their professional lives.
  • The author cites Freud's observation that pathological narcissism of dependency-inducing mothers is a significant developmental impediment to human beings.

Why have parents lost faith in their children’s ability to cope? (00:52:07)

  • Parents are having fewer children and are older when they have them, leading to increased attachment and pressure to ensure their child's success.
  • Children have fewer siblings and cousins, reducing opportunities for social development and the development of resilience.
  • Children's play patterns are more isolated and scheduled, limiting their opportunities for free play and social interaction.
  • The combination of excessive screen time, lack of socialization, and older first-time mothers may have negative effects on children's development and reproductive patterns.
  • The increasing number of only children, older mothers, and wealthier parents represents significant changes in family dynamics.
  • The atomization of society and the loss of multigenerational wisdom further contribute to the challenges of raising children.

If you treat your children as if they are fragile, they will be more likely to break (00:58:30)

  • Treating children as fragile can increase their likelihood of breaking.
  • Other cultures, such as Japan and Israel, have different approaches to raising children.
  • In Japan, children are not treated as fragile and are allowed to explore and negotiate conflicts without adult supervision.
  • In Israel, children are expected to take the bus to school independently by age eight.
  • These approaches help children develop strength and resilience.
  • The idea that anything can traumatize a child and leave a lasting psychological imprint comes from the mental health industry.
  • This idea is not supported by many experts and has led to excessive fear of childhood trauma causing adult psychopathology.
  • Resilience is the norm, not permanent damage from traumatic incidents.

What trauma actually is (01:01:23)

  • Trauma occurs when an unexpected obstacle stops a person from pursuing an important goal.
  • The more important the goal, the more likely an obstacle is to cause trauma.
  • Trauma can result from the dissolution of a person's plans or expectations.
  • The severity of trauma depends on the importance of the plan or expectation that was disrupted.

Why trauma is necessary (01:05:02)

  • Overprotecting children from obstacles and negative emotions can prevent them from developing resilience.
  • Exposing children to challenges and allowing them to experience setbacks can help them learn how to cope with adversity.
  • American children tend to exaggerate the degree of danger posed by small things because they have not had to face even these small risks themselves.

The Oedipal mother, a truth as old as symbolism (01:06:36)

  • In classic Disney movies, there's often an evil queen who interferes with the development of the prince or princess.
  • This motif of symbolically feminine overprotection becoming the ultimate destructive force has been present throughout human developmental history and literature.
  • Overbearing mothers are more likely to show cluster B psychopathology.
  • These mothers use their excessive caregiving as a way to parade their virtue to others and make their children miserable and dependent.
  • Overtreated children may end up diagnosed, medicated, and unable to experience life fully.
  • Puberty often cures gender dysphoria.
  • Growing up and into adulthood is the cure for many of the troubles teenagers face.
  • If children were given the resources to grow up and not constantly surveilled, many of their problems would resolve on their own.
  • The clinical literature shows that 80% of gender dysphoria conditions resolve on their own by the age of 18.
  • If culture is regarded as oppressive, taking one's place in it can be seen as oppressive and make one an oppressor.
  • This takes away the benefits that adulthood could offer.
  • Schools teach young men that their ambition is nothing but the manifestation of oppressive patriarchal power, taking away the moral benefits of becoming an adult.
  • The beauty of being an adult is the freedom to have adventures, face challenges, and make a positive impact on the world.
  • This is not explicitly made clear to young people in most schools or homes.

The authority of the parent is the Childs model for what to become, soft parenting fails (01:12:30)

  • Gentle parenting and therapist-led parenting prioritize empathy and accommodation of a child's pain, leaving no aspiration or graduation for the child.
  • This lack of a clear path to adulthood discourages young people from having children, as they see adulthood as being a slave to a two-year-old.
  • Modeling a fulfilling adult life, including a career, is important for children to aspire to become adults themselves.
  • Being a slave to a two-year-old is demoralizing for both the parent and the child, as it stunts the child's growth and creates a sense of existential hopelessness.

This is the first generation where the majority does not want kids (01:14:49)

  • This generation is terribly fearful and does not want to have children.
  • Young people view parenthood with dread.
  • The notion of a fulfilling career and family life is no longer appealing to young people.
  • Women are pressured to prioritize their careers over family.
  • Young women are lied to about the importance of career over family.
  • Career is not more important than children for most people.
  • Having children is a profound opportunity and sense of meaning and responsibility.
  • We have let experts analyze and categorize our children, which has damaged our relationship with them.
  • We should view our children as individuals, not as diagnoses.

The revelation of motherhood (01:19:15)

  • The speaker shares an anecdote about a high-achieving lawyer who had a child late in life and was surprised by the profound love she felt for her child.
  • The speaker observed this phenomenon among many career-oriented women in law firms who found that nothing they had done previously compared to the significance of motherhood.
  • The speaker personally experienced this revelation when her four-year-old son overcame his nervousness to perform at a piano recital, making her immensely proud.
  • This moment provided a glimpse into her son's ability to handle himself in the world, highlighting the importance of parental support and guidance in fostering children's development.

Something all truly great people do (01:22:10)

  • Great people find young people with ability and foster their development.
  • This can be done within a family or in other relationships.
  • It is a satisfying experience to help others aim up and grow.
  • Children today are not raised to be loadbearing walls, they are taught to second-guess themselves and check in with adults.
  • This undermines the child's sense of agency, efficacy, and power in the world.
  • Therapy can be helpful for adults, but it can be undermining for children who may not be able to push back on the therapist.
  • Faith is necessary to believe that one can bear a load before attempting it.
  • Evidence is not always available when encountering something new, and induction is fallible.
  • Assuming one can bear a load and failing is possible, but faith is still necessary.
  • Life is an unbearable load, and the only remedy is the belief that one is an infinitely loadbearing creature.
  • Courage and the willingness to take on challenges should be praised.
  • Traditional family wisdom and values used to produce well-rounded individuals with a sense of meaning and purpose.

Take back your children: the subtraction technique (01:27:41)

  • The educational system is corrupt, with incompetent and ideologically addled teachers.
  • Universities are equally bad, if not worse.
  • Parents can raise good people by removing unnecessary psych meds, diagnoses, over-monitoring, over-coddling, over-accommodation, and over-avoidance of unpleasantness.
  • Parents should give their children more responsibility, be the authority in the home, transmit their values, and stop allowing intermediaries to come between them and their children.
  • By doing so, parents can raise good kids who are not as easily influenced by teachers with different values or social media.

Advice for facing disagreement with the parenting “experts” - remember who loves your kids (01:30:12)

  • Parents should have faith in their ability to raise their children because love naturally orients them in the right direction.
  • Experts may not have the same level of love and care for children as parents do.
  • Parents know their children's capabilities and can rely on their own experiences to guide their parenting decisions.
  • Children can survive difficult experiences without excessive therapeutic intervention.
  • Seek advice from people who have successfully raised good children, rather than solely relying on experts.

How Shrier’s writing has changed her life as a mother (01:32:26)

  • Abigail Shrier emphasizes the importance of raising independent and resilient children by allowing them to take risks and face challenges, such as walking home alone or doing chores, to develop a sense of responsibility and self-esteem.
  • Shrier highlights the significance of extended family and community connections in fostering a stable and healthy upbringing for children.
  • She stresses the importance of communicating values to children and ensuring they share the family's values, rather than relying solely on mental health experts or therapists.
  • Shrier's book aims to encourage parents to let their children take risks and experience independence for a meaningful and good life.

The role of the feminine in the landscape of the sacred (01:37:06)

  • Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's represents the ultimate female symbol of union with God through sacrifice.
  • Sacrificing a child is considered the most difficult sacrifice, implying that it is harder than sacrificing oneself.
  • A good mother has to offer her child up to the world as part of the sacrificial gesture of eternal motherhood.
  • This requires courage and manifests itself in small, horrifying decisions, such as letting a nine-year-old daughter walk home alone.
  • The choice is between raising a child who is always dependent and weak or one who is strong and can individuate.
  • The latter is the right sacrificial gesture and involves allowing children to place themselves wisely in danger as part of life's adventure.

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