You are of course right about severely abusive parenting causing damage. If it involves malnourishing the child, as in an appalling case here in the Northeast recently, it can actually cause permanent physiological (and likely mental) damage.
I speculated in one of my posts that there might be really important effects–though I had in mind POSITIVE ones–at the other tail of the parenting bell curve: that, as I said, “really super-duper, all-out 24/7 gut-busting total-attention parenting might make a big difference too.” A reader emailed in to say he thinks I am right, that super-attentive parenting might have big effects, but that the effects would be NEGATIVE. In other words, that super-parenting may be a sort of “higher child abuse.”
I think this is an interesting notion–I have a great fondness for counterintuitive ideas–but I have absolutely no data to go on. Do you? What do you think about the consequences, if any, of super-parenting? I’m talking about the kind of intensive parenting that less than 0.1 percent of parents both could and would do–in the same sort of percentile as seriously abusive parents, but at the other end of the curve.