If you have read even a little bit on this blog, you would would most likely know these two facts about me: I love my children and I take my parenting seriously. For all the love, fun and joy it gives me, I believe that it also gives me great responsibilities.
I was reading an edited extract of a new book by Carl Honore called Under Pressure and it has caused me to look closely at how I parent.
The book is about:
“how childhood has been hijacked by adults in a way never seen before in history and investigates how the natural instinct to want our children to have the best of everything and be the best at everything is backfiring on kids, parents and society as a whole.”
Honore states that the :
“aim in the book is not to blame or demonize parents. It is to make us all feel less guilty and insecure about our children, and to show how parenting less hard can actually help them to thrive even more.”
The extract gave me a lot to think about. Since I read The Hurried Child by David Eklind, I have been aiming for balance in the kids lives with school, extra curricular and social activities, I admit to not always getting this right but overall it is pretty good.
But Under Pressure is talking about more than this. It is talking about hyper parenting or helicopter parenting. It is a parenting style where wanting the best for children and therefore monitoring the children so closely, that it is difficult for the children to be independent of the parent.
This is not the parenting style that I wish to have, but when I looked at how I approached my eldest son’s homework last night, I have to wonder how close to this line I am sometimes.
In direct opposition to this though, I also worry about whether I am doing enough? I know I am not supposed to compare, but when you hear that this child is taking this class and that child is doing this extension program, I worry that I am letting my children fall behind by not enrolling them in such classes.
Then I read an extract like this and I return to my senses. I remember that children need time to play, time to investigate, time to explore and time to be a child. Honore urges readers to
“to ease off, trust their instincts and find the natural balance between doing too much and too little for children. “
What is at risk from over parenting? Creating kids who can’t stand on their own. They don’t know how to make sound decisions and they aren’t equipped to deal with failure and frustration.
Honore also points out that unfortunately more children are likely to suffer from under parenting:
“You don’t find many children being project managed in the refugee camps of Sudan or the shanty towns of Latin America….Let’s be honest: most helicopter parents hail from the middle classes.”
Honore himself admits getting caught up into the frenzy himself, but thankfully not permanently and he used the experience as a spring board to write this book and remind parents like me that children need some room to grow to their potential.
I look forward to reading the full story in Under Pressure and am first on the waiting list at our local library when the order for the book comes in!
CREDIT: Thanks to my friend Belinda who pointed this book extract out to me and who thought I might like to “blog about it”. She was right!