Spence News

Felicia Wilks In Conversation with Dr. Aliza Pressman

What does it mean to be a “good human?” Dr. Aliza Pressman, developmental psychologist and co-founder of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center, recently explored this question in conversation with Head of School Felicia Wilks in a PA program for Spence parents. Dr. Pressman shared insights from her New York Times-bestselling book, The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans, including actionable techniques for parents. She acknowledged how difficult it can feel to navigate parenting in today's social media-driven and academically pressured environment, and hoped that her book could offer some relief. Wilks confirmed that the book felt “kind and generous to parents.”

Her book centers around five science-backed principles that move the needle for parenting and child development. When considering these principles, Dr. Pressman chose to focus on aspects that are within a parent’s control and deeply rooted in science: relationship, reflection, regulation, rules, and repair. As long as these five components are happening within the household at some capacity, progress can be made. 

Central to Dr. Pressman's message is the idea that parenting isn't about perfection but about continuous learning and growth. She stressed the importance of parents working on themselves to model the behavior they want to instill in their children. By embracing imperfection and allowing room for mistakes and growth, parents can create a healthier environment for their children to thrive. 

Raising a “good human” looks different for everyone, but to answer this question, Dr. Pressman asks parents to reflect: “What are our values? What is our family mission statement?” In closing, she shared that when she considers what it means to be a “good human,” she asks herself, “when my child is an adult, how will they describe me to their kids? When I envision my child as an adult, how am I describing them?”
A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


© 2023 Spence School