Overparenting is so over

Overparenting has sparked a backlash, claims Time, which sees a “revolution under way, one aimed at rolling back the almost comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of moms and dads.”

The insurgency goes by many names — slow parenting, simplicity parenting, free-range parenting — but the message is the same: Less is more; hovering is dangerous; failure is fruitful. You really want your children to succeed? Learn when to leave them alone. When you lighten up, they’ll fly higher. We’re often the ones who hold them down.

One third of parents have cut their kids’ extracurricular activities in response to the recession, a CBS poll finds. Parents polled by Time said the recession had improved their relationships with their children. They’ve got less money for extras but more time for essentials.

Hyperparenting went ballistic in the in ’90s, Time says.

From peace and prosperity, there arose fear and anxiety; crime went down, yet parents stopped letting kids out of their sight; the percentage of kids walking or biking to school dropped from 41% in 1969 to 13% in 2001. Death by injury has dropped more than 50% since 1980, yet parents lobbied to take the jungle gyms out of playgrounds, and strollers suddenly needed the warning label “Remove Child Before Folding.” Among 6-to-8-year-olds, free playtime dropped 25% from 1981 to 1997, and homework more than doubled. Bookstores offered Brain Foods for Kids: Over 100 Recipes to Boost Your Child’s Intelligence. The state of Georgia sent every newborn home with the CD Build Your Baby’s Brain Through the Power of Music, after researchers claimed to have discovered that listening to Mozart could temporarily help raise IQ scores by as many as 9 points. By the time the frenzy had reached its peak, colleges were installing “Hi, Mom!” webcams in common areas, and employers like Ernst & Young were creating “parent packs” for recruits to give Mom and Dad, since they were involved in negotiating salary and benefits.

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, deserves a lot of credit. Time also calls Carl Honoré’s Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting the “gospel of the slow parenting movement.”

Via Core Knowledge Blog.

About Joanne