Perhaps as a backlash to the micromanaged, overscheduled children of the past 10 years, many writers are sharing a new trend in parenting– with many names, all entertaining, such as “idle”; “free-range” or “slow” parenting. Oh, yeah, do I like the sound of that.
According to this article Let the Kid Be from the New York Times, more and more parents are refusing to overschedule, hover, and worry about every move their child makes. You’ve probably read their blogs, late at night, when you are worrying about something, and they made you feel better. It’s a bit like watching the Nanny show when you think your kids are poorly behaved, because by god, they are never that bad.
The truth of it is we all like to read about moms who admit moments of unglory and tedium in parenting. It makes us all feel normal, in the widely emotional journey of parenting, where extremes are the norm.
If this trend is a bounce away from the last generation, or a response to the economy is not clear. I think it’s always been there, this reality of imperfection and toil, it’s just that blogging has given many a new voice.
But back to the idea of doing less. I’ve often pondered all the things I could be doing with my children: music lessons, gymnastics lessons, violin lessons, soccer– you name it. I see my friends doing some of these things with their kids and I wonder if I should too. And then we play for hours in the yard, or imaginary story lines take place all over my house on a rainy day. My gut says chill out. Life is short, and as soon as they start school, the pace will be forever altered. So live it now. Why do I sometime feel like I have to do something with them every second? The research is with the “chill” parenting style: wide swaths of creative play produce higher functioning, happier kids. Not that you need to worry about that: just pull up a lawn care, chill out and watch.
[This post was written by Katy Farber]
Fantastic article – we decided this year to not do soccer for our 3 year old (when everyone else is) – rather go home and play outside till the sun goes down or the bugs get too bad. Thank you.
Crimson Wife says
I’m currently reading Lenore Skenazy’s “Free Range Parenting” book. I have to say that it’s my suspicion that many of the ECP contributors would not care for the author’s dismissal of parental fears about chemicals like BPA, lead in toys, etc.
As I was reading the book, I kept thinking about Allison Wolff’s ECP post “Raising a Baby in the 21st Century”a couple months back and thinking that is exactly the kind of hyperobsessive parenting Ms. Skenazy is talking about.
Stephanie - Green SAHM says
That’s how we handle things. It still takes planning to get playtime with other people’s kids, just because so many do have other things going on. But most days my kids are in the back yard digging, catching bugs and just having disorganized fun.
If you’re interested in discovering your parenting style based on the latest research, please check out the Parenting Style Application by Signal Patterns on Parenting.com.
The underlying model developed by our team of psychologists reveals an underlying complexity far richer than just ‘strict’ or ‘relaxed’ classifications.
And what’s particularly interesting is that you can take the test for a spouse and see where potential conflicts might lie and get advice on how to deal w/them. You can also compare results to your friends’.
Hooray!!!! this is our choice, too. Check out SlowFamilyLiving.com, a couple of my friends started it and it’s all about this stuff.