Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is There An ‘Overparenting Crisis?'

Babble is one of the edgier, honest parenting web sites out there. And this new piece entitled, “The Overparenting Crisis,” is a solid example of why I visit the site daily.

The essay, by the author of an attachment parenting book (no kidding!), essentially tells this generation’s professional parenting set to chill the heck out.

An excerpt:

“While there have always been obsessive, overbearing parents, they used
to be the exception, rather than the norm. They were the kinds of
hyper-involved parents no one wanted to become; because as they lived their
lives solely through the prism of their parenting, it was believed they
produced the archetypal ‘mama’s boy,’ the child who was never allowed any
activities outside his parents’ watchful eye, and who was coddled and
protected from all conceivable risk. This type of childhood, we have always
believed, ultimately produced individuals who were stunted in their ability
to make bold moves or take leadership roles — or even function

Until recently, the essential tasks of parenting were
seen as nurturing and socializing children. Today, however, this simple
mandate seems criminally neglectful. Now, parenting requires constant
vigilance, unflagging attention to every detail of our children’s lives, and
ever present monitoring of their every activity.”
I loved how the author, Katie Allison Granju described her parenting style:

“I have often described my parenting philosophy as ‘benign neglect.’
Responsive parenting means just that: we respond to children’s needs. It’s
not the same as over-parenting, in which we anticipate, preempt, or take
control of our children’s needs and developmental tasks.”
Now I don’t solely blame the parents for the rise of helicopter/hovering moms and dads. The parenting expert culture, as well as some of the parenting media, are culpable as well. With all the guilt-filled articles telling parents how they’re failing 24/7 and how they could (and should) better protect their children, it’s no wonder we’re in this mess.

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