Thursday, 14 January 2016

We're Doing Okay

I'm sure by now many people have read the article that's making its way over various social media, Are we the worst generation of parents ever? This very well written piece makes a convincing case for how fear of our children falling behindor even just being averagedrives us to obsess over their development, overschedule their activities and do too many things for them. All of this can lead to stressed-out, dependent children with an entitlement mentality and poor problem-solving skills.

"If our own parents tilted too much toward neglect, they gave us space, and the bruises and social gaffes of our off-line childhoods made us who we are," the author writes. "And we aren’t the worst generation of parents ever, just the most anxious. It takes courage to still the currents of fear and just let our children be. But to be better parents, we may have to do less."

It's a totally valid point. But does adding this additional layer of stress help? As noted, we're already an anxious generation of parents that worries constantly about whether our kids eat organic produce, play with intellectually stimulating BPA-free toys, participate in enough activities to make them well-rounded we now also have to worry about doing too much rather than too little?

We are the generation that drove home the phrase "mom guilt". Add this to the pile, and it becomes just one more thing we need to feel guilty about.

So I want to tell you something: you're doing okay.
  • Whether you're the parent who packs his child's lunch with healthy homemade snacks or prepackaged crackers and cheeseyou're doing okay.
  • Whether you have your kid participating in five extracurricular activities, one or noneyou're doing okay.
  • Whether your child is truly exceptional or just averageyou're doing okay.
There are many different paths to raising a healthy, happy, socially adjusted child, and we all need to choose our own. We'll make mistakes, of course—we all do—but the fact that we spend so much time reading articles like these shows we have what it takes to do it, and do it well. 

I agree, we could probably ease up a bit on the violin lessons and create more accountability for our kids. And no way am I doing their homework for them! But let's not let fear of overinvolvement become yet another thing to obsess overor, worse, cause us to swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.
Because you know what? We're not perfect; we don't have it all figured out. But we're doing okay.

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