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The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting

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posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 10:07 AM
reply to post by ldyserenity

Your kids will remember the fun of snowball fights and hot cocoa fondly the rest of their lives. Those are the memories you pull out when things are going badly and you need strength, the good times. That's awesome parenting.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 10:12 AM
reply to post by redoubt

I think you're partially right, there's two extremes present in parenting, the idea way is to be more balanced, knowing when to watch, and when to sit back and let the children learn. That's a problem with a lot of parents today either too much guidance or not enough. very good point there.

Galloping, yes they remember those days well, especially now that we live where there is no snow.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by badgerprints

A star for your post is a lot less than it deserves.

I reckon I'm about your age. I'm a city boy, born and raised in my country's capital, although I have country cousins. The generations that followed mine had to experience childhood against the backdrop of a civil war and an increasingly militarized and security-conscious society. The fashion for overparenting (we follow the West in such matters, though we revile it so; both are colonial hangovers) was grafted on to a community in which walls were going up all over the place, while suicide bombers and abduction squads were real and present dangers. It's years since you saw kids playing in the streets in my city.

I remember what it was like before that, for my generation and those that preceded us. My memories are similar to yours, badgerprints, in several points. Neighbourhoods were communities, people interacted socially with each other, thought nothing of marching into one another's homes to borrow a screwdriver or pass on the latest gossip. We children were tasked to a strict routine of school, chores and social good behaviour, from which we escaped often and successfully, because our parents - and even our teachers - couldn't be fussed to watch our every move. A little neglect, a chance to learn to cope with the world by having a few of our rougher corners knocked off by it, was thought to be advisable.

So we played on our quiet residential streets in the afternoons when school was done, dashing about in the blazing sun while our elders kept prudently indoors, in the shade. We climbed trees and fell out of them, played cricket on the streets, acquired luridly bloody injuries that horrified and angered our mothers when we limped home with them, and generally had the time of our lives. We learnt all about human interaction from the best and most appropriate tutors of all--our peers.

To this day I know the city of my birth (population about two and a half million, though it was probably about a million when I was a boy) like the back of my hand, because as a thirteen- and fourteen-year-old I covered most of it on a bicycle with my friends. We'd also ride far into the country to fish or explore or (for some of us, not for me) hunt. I never had a .22 rifle, though I coveted one for a while. What cured me was shooting a crow with a friend's. We considered them pests--still do. I hit the bird. It fell to the ground in a clatter of feathers. I walked up to it. It was dead. I realized what I had done and made a vow never to do it again. But I'm rambling.

Anyway, my point--most of our growing-up is done, not at home, but out in the world amongst our contemporaries. This is where we learn the social and other skills we need to function successfully as adults. School supplies a lot of this, but not all of it and certainly not enough.

I had some hard knocks as a boy. We all did. We survived. Most of us made it--there was a boy two classes below me in school who drowned in a boat accident, and the little brother of a friend who narrowly missed being struck by lightning only to be crushed to death by a tree felled by the bolt. But that sort of thing could happen in spite of the closest parental supervision. Far worse than the physical dangers of independence was the frequent and much-resented imposition of corporal punishment, a regular feature of childhood for boys of my generation. In this, at least, the new world is better than the old; we no longer think it right to socialize our children by beating them.

Somebody further up the thread was talking about putting paedophile's heads on sticks. Nobody likes a paedophile, but some people can't help themselves, and there are surely better ways to deal with that than killing them. In my youthful world, we knew all about paedophiles--at least the poor sad single ones who tried hopelessly to entice us into their uninviting embraces; the ones who practised their paedophilia at home on their sons and daughters were another story entirely--and thought them somewhat of a joke, though a horrifying one. The local would-be perps were well known, and we all knew well enough not to fraternize with strangers (in my strange land it was not unkown for children to be kidnapped and sold into slavery, so paedophiles were, if anything, a lesser danger). Knowing all about kiddy-fiddlers was part of an early and highly vernacular education in sex. We learnt about sex from our contemporaries, and we learnt early. Not the best way, you might argue--certainly, there's much to be said for early, institutionalized sex education--but at least it meant that we were alive to all these dangers.

I wish the world, for children, was more like the one I grew up in. The history I've lived through, however, makes it impossible for me not to realize that the world has changed, and children can no longer be raised the same way my contemporaries and I were, because that upbringing is not appropriate for the environment we live in today. All the same, I think it's best for children to be left to their own devices as far as possible. In this I have the loving endorsement of the mother of five absolutely marvellous children presently ranging in age from eight to twenty, who once, in my hearing, told an inexperienced and overprotective young matron who was running herself ragged after her toddler, 'Let them hurt themselves. It's good for them.'

I couldn't agree more. All the same, I hope there's no 'backlash against overparenting'. A generation brought up in complete neglect will have its own problems, of that you may be sure.

Great subject, tothetenthpower. Kudos, star and flag.

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 12:29 PM
The Time article is ridiculous. Only an idiot parent would not worry about the safety of their kids on a field trip. Parents who take an interest in their kids extra curricular activities are irritating for sure , but the parents who do not help their kids will have trouble sending their kids to descent colleges.

The journalist (or those who paid for this article) are mad as hell that some people still care about their offspring. The root of this anger is that the dumbing down of Americans was not as successful as some people had hoped. In other words some people are still helping their kids learn math, reading ,and writing instead of watching T.V. Those parents even have the audacity to hire tutors. Goes to show you can't make a pig's ear out of a silk purse.

[edit on 22-11-2009 by eradown]

posted on Nov, 22 2009 @ 04:55 PM

Originally posted by space cadet
Overparenting? Really? Given that most kids these days are sociopaths, I would say that those who 'overparent' have good reason to! Kids today are spoiled selfish self centered brats, whose parents have not taken or had the time to parent them, that was done by television and games, they think they must have their own cell phone, computer, and the most expensive clothing available, they don't think about tomorrow, they just text their little lives away as they demand more. The quality of life for kids just plain sucks anymore. Personally, I think that most poor families have a much more quality life with their children due to their inabilty to provide the cell phones, computer and games, instead relying on good ole imagination, and a child's energetic mind and body to entertain them, and spending more time with them. People of more means are usually unavailable to their children because they have to work, you know, to pay for the cell phones, computers, games, new clothes.......

As stated, those children are like that BECAUSE of a LACK of parenting, not because of the technology.

My kids have everything you are talking about and are extremely well adjusted, respectfull and succesfull.

It's not what you give them, it's how you teach them to use those things.


posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 12:38 AM
I've seen an increase in parents that "overparent" as of late, however i believe that (at least where i live) i've seen way more of an increase in under-parenting, or non-parenting. So many kids these days walk around with an attitude that they are owed something, that they are entitled to everything that they want, and that they can do no wrong. They seem to have not been taught to have respect for anything, or anybody, not even themselves and i shudder to think what many of them will grow up to be.

I remember when i was a kid i'd spend summer vacation at my Aunt's, in a suburb of Chicago. We'd get up in the morning, eat breakfast, do our chores and then we'd pack a lunch and head out the door, gone until supper. We'd play by the lagoon, the prairie, etc collecting snakes and crawfish, making rafts, clubhouses,etc. We'd have our little accidents, get skinned up, got into a couple of fights, but we survived and we learned how to take care of ourselves. We learned how to be independant. We were taught right from wrong, to have respect, and what the dangers were, and then we were allowed to explore the world to make our mistakes and learn from them.

My boys grew up in the city, didn't have the chance to get away like I did, so they didn't have quite as much freedom as I was allowed. I taught them right from wrong, to have respect, and what the dangers were, and although they had to wait until they were a little older than I was, when they were old enough I let them go out and explore the world and make their own mistakes to learn from, knowing all the while that I was there if they needed me. They played football, shot bb guns (responsibly), got into fights, etc, and they got pretty scraped up sometimes, but they had fun and they learned how to be independant.

They're both fine men now, 28 & 30 and I think i did a pretty good job. We have a lot of good memories of things that we did together just the three of us and quite often sit back and laugh remembering some of those times, and they also have a lot of good memories of the things they did together on their own with friends as it should be. My oldest has two of his own now, a boy and a girl and they will be raised the same way, allowed to make their own mistakes and face the consequences, fall and get scraped up and get right back up again, knowing that we are all here for them when they need us.

Being a parent is hard, it's hard to find that middle ground. When they're very little you have to pick them up so they know they can depend on you, but as they get older you have to step back and let them pick themselves up so that they can learn to depend on themselves, so that they can become independant.

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