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Can Parents Be Saved From Overparenting?
by Dore Frances, Ph.D., founder of Horizon Family Solutions, LLCOverparenting got way out of control in the past generation.
Now professionals are working to restore some balance and sanity to family life and help bring all those anxious helicopter parents down for a soft landing.
The insanity crept up on parents slowly; because they just wanted what was best for their kids. I have come across parents who will only buy macrobiotic cupcakes and hypoallergenic socks. I have encountered parents who are hiring tutors to correct 5-year-olds "pencil holding deficiency". I have found parents that hooked up broadband connections in the treehouse and yet took down the swing set after a skinned knee.
Parents are hovering over every school playground and practice field - and these are all "helicopter parents."
Stores market "Kinderkords" (also know as leashes; they allow "three full feet of freedom for both both child and parent").
The mayor of a Connecticut town agreed to chop down three hickory trees on one block after a woman worried that a stray nut might drop into her new swimming pool, where her nut-allergic grandson occasionally swam. A Texas school required parents wanting to help with the second-grade holiday party to have a background check first. Another school auctioned off to the highest bidders, the right to skip the carpool lane and drop their child off right in front of the school building - a spot that is known as handicapped parking.
Parents were so obsessed with their kid's success that parenting turned into a form of product development. Parents were demanding that nursery schools offer the learning of a second language, since it is never too soon to prepare. High school teachers have received irate text messages from parents protesting an exam grade before class was even over; college deans have been describing freshman as "crispies", who arrive at college already burned out, and "teacups", who seem ready to break at the tiniest stress. This is what parenting is like in the 21st century - just one more extravagance, Bubble Wrapping kids. Now there is a new revolution under way, one aimed at rolling back the almost comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of dads and moms. The revolution is known by many names - free range parenting, slow parenting, simplicity parenting - and the message is: Less is more; hovering is dangerous. Do you really want your children to succeed?
Then learn when to leave them alone. When you lighten up they will fly higher. Parents are often the ones who hold their children down. Cut the kids's extracurricular activities.
Downsize, downshift and simplify - and many, to their surprise, will find they like it. The recession has actually helped the relationship between parents and kids.
Dore Frances, M.A., is an educational consultant, childs right advocate, parent coach, specializing in working with troubled teens and their families in the United States, Canda, and abroad. See her site at: www.guidingteens.com or contact her by phone at:(541) 312-4422, or email at:Dore@DoreFrances.com.
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