During a small group discussion with parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary, 11-year-old Nick reveals that he’s hurt by his parents when they compare him to his three siblings, especially when it comes to schoolwork. After hearing his comments, Marjorie, Nick’s mom, says she tries not to compare her children, but apparently, that’s what he’s hearing.

When parents focus too much on grades, athletic prowess or superficial qualities, Dr. Shefali says they run the risk of diminishing their child’s potential and expansive being. “When any of those pillars crumble, their entire self has the potential to annihilate,” she says. “Because we have affixed their sense of self to these qualifiers.”

Watch as Dr. Shefali reveals how parents’ fear leads to a fixation on the external.

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