Over-parenting on the rise?

Filed under: Opinions

mother standing with sonA recent review in The New Yorker looks at several new books on overparenting, including one that -- get this -- blames feminism and the Russians for creating the dreaded helicopter parent.

Oy.

Included in the review is "A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting," by Hara Estroff Marano. Marano points to a lot of the usual suspects -- spoiling, the desire to live through their offspring -- and throws in some intriguing new factors. The working mother and (this is a good one) the Cold War also take a beating, according to the review.

Marano posits that working moms can hire full-time caregivers to "hover" over their kids in her absence. Oh, but wait! Even worse is the mother who decides to stay at home. The sacrifice of her income and autonomy make her ripe, says Marano, for wanting to reinvest her power in parenting her children.

As for the Cold War, a hard shift in the United States during that era led to an intense focus on math and science in schools, making parents push their children to excel in these subjects so they could "beat the Russians." Even the global economy gets in on the act.

Lordy, remind me not to check this book out from the library.

I can certainly see how moms and dads can get wrapped up in their kids, and how annoying that can be, but to pin the blame on working moms and the Cold War?

Ridiculous.

The New Yorker agrees with me, and calls the current spate of "anti-overparenting" books "pushy," adding that this trend hardly qualifies as a cultural "emergency."

However, I am 100 percent in agreement that overparentng is silly. I'm more of the old-school kind of parent -- get your butt outside and get the stink off, and let me do the dishes in peace. There's nothing wrong with high expectations, but dude. Let them fail once in awhile, would you? A little failure is good for the soul.

That's my take, what's yours?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.