Saturday, September 18, 2010

Over parented

This generation of kids may very well be the most over parented in the history of time. I see signs of it everywhere I go anymore. Parents hover and watch and guide and limit. They spend all day hanging out at school. They micromanage every single detail of their kids lives, some into the teen years.

I know it wasn't like that when I was a kid.

Time Magazine had a cover story on it last year. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1940395,00.html

I took AJ to the park a few days back and saw it again. More like was smacked in the face with it.

A woman arrived at the park pushing a double stroller, with a few toddlers tagging along behind. She let the older ones start playing, then took the two little ones out of the stroller. She brought the little girl over to the area where AJ was digging in the sand and proceeded to nudge the child almost constantly to stand up and climb up the stairs. She really just wanted to sit down and play in the sand.

She was adorable and AJ was intrigued. He doesn't get to play with little kids much, and was instantly drawn to the little girl. The woman asked me how old he was, I asked how old the little girl was. She'd just turned a year old. Then, without me asking, she replied that she does daycare and just watches this little one.

She kept urging her to stand up and walk, to climb up the stairs. The little girl had no interest. She just wanted to play with the stick she'd found. Eventually, the girl put her knee up on the stair and climbed up, to much celebration by the woman. She told me the little girl was physically delayed, and that they were there to meet her therapist.

What???

Since when is a laughing, babbling, just barely one year old who sits up and climbs and stands holding on to things physically delayed? Once the therapist arrived, she expressed great joy that the girl had taken a few steps the previous weekend at home. So she's walking too, yet somehow physically delayed?

Mom was there, at the park. Hiding behind the bushes, watching the therapist and the day care lady. She didn't come out until about twenty minutes into the session, but she was there the whole time. Paying two other people to care for her child, and hiding so she could supervise them.

I spent almost an hour at a park this week with a beautiful little girl...one already labeled by her parents, care provider and therapist for having something wrong that she does not seem to. I am fully aware that I don't have the entire picture here, just a small view into the life of this little girl. It just seems wrong. And I can't help but wonder why.

What is wrong with this generation of parents? Why are we so controlling and neurotic? How did we get this way? Yes, when I say we, I mean all of us. Some clearly more than others, but even the relaxed parents of this generation are more controlling than in years past.

What are we doing to our kids as a result?

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