So the pendulum has swung according to today’s NY Times magazine, and now new parents are saying enough with over protecting their children. The backlash is against the idea that parents are so involved with their children and putting them on the track to success.
One criticism is against over scheduling your kids for activities. I for one support this. I don’t think a kid needs or wants to be scheduled every minute of the day. From my own observation, kids look forward to some unstructured time to just let their mind wander, play, and be silly. Especially when they are in the early years of school.
As parents, one of the issues we fail to consider is what do the kids actually need or want. For example, we may love soccer, but the kid is more interested in butterfly’s, because the game may not fun for them. On the other hand, our kids may wish to swing on the swing for long stretches of time and be quite content, and then we interrupt it for a chance for them to maybe hit a ball a few times in little league.
If our game is cancelled on the weekend, my kids would go from swinging, to kicking the soccer ball, to playing music, to playing a computer game, to reading with one of us, to having a jumping party with sofa cushions on the couch, to fighting with one another, making up, and running around the house, literally climbing up the door way, playing a board game, to swinging, and running outside in the sprinkler. The point being they would create ways to have fun.
To me, the question is who is all the activity for- the kids or the parents? From what I’ve observed, there are many middle to upper middle class kids that are just hungry for some down time with their parents. In fact, whenever I’m reading to my kids or hanging out with them near a park, kids will flock around us.
Where are there parents, you might ask? They’re usually on their laptops, Blackberry’s, or on the cell phone. I guess spontaneous, unstructured time with kids is not as much fun…for the parents.