"The Case For Over-Parenting"
As soon as I saw the above title in big black letters splayed across last week's Time magazine cover, I got a sinking feeling in the middle of my chest. The words "over-parenting" scared me a little…okay a lot.
I wondered if this was going to be yet another article trashing the amount of time and energy we 21st Century parents put into our kids, with examples of trophy toting pageant moms and crazy binocular-clad smother-mothers meant to represent us all.
But with the first paragraph, I found myself nodding in agreement and affirming out-loud with what the author, Nancy Gibbs had to say. I saw myself in some of it, mainly the examples of being a bit over-protective when it comes to my kids' safety. "Be careful" is way too common a phrase in my vernacular, and I just MAY have banned wrestling in my well-padded finished basement.
Gibb's well written and ultimately positive article is truly a fair case for what's been slowly creeping into our parental psyche for sometime now. The well-intentioned practice of over-protecting, over-obsessing, over-scheduling, and down right over-doing-it when it comes to our kids. Most of us do it in some form or another.
And unless you are still living in your little house on the
prairie, or have 18 kids and counting I feel sure you'll see some
part of your own parenting practices described here. Like it
Gibbs gives researched examples and valid statistics to back-up why this short-leashed style of parenting is at the end of the day, undermining our kids and robbing them of some of the joys of childhood. And it doesn't always end when they go off to college. Apparently Helicopter Parents mature into Stealth Fighter Parents.
And as the backlash to all of this "insanity" builds, there are rebel groups popping up with names like Simplicity Parenting, and The Slow Family Living class. Hmmm...from one extreme to the next? There must be a sane middle ground.
I encourage you to read the full article and let me know what you think about Ms. Gibb's assertions. It's a wake-up call I think our kids would love for us to answer.
Meredith Sinclair is a freelance writer and blogger living with three quirky guys on Chicago's North Shore.
See more of Meredith's stories here.