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American Parents: Doing it WRONG!

 
 
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 12:47 am
Quote:
Kolbert’s basic argument is that we, American parents, are doing it wrong. From tying our kids’ shoes to analyzing their every emotional dip to punishing them only after counting to three—and trying desperately not to get to that horrible, dreadful number—we are managing our children’s every move until they can’t move without us.

This is not exactly new territory, though Kolbert’s piece, which is in part a discussion of a bunch of books from the unparenting movement, synthesizes the various down-with-helicopter-folks threads quite well. And her plea only feels more essential after reading today’s New York Times piece on the wealth of monitoring tools available to families with tech-wielding kids, and the well-intentioned but seriously misguided parents who use them.

There’s the dad who reads his son’s text messages, the mom who subscribes to her daughter’s YouTube channel, and the grandmother who, via something called uKnowKids.com, monitors her granddaughter’s Facebook page. All the parents quoted in the Times piece express a certain amount of conflict about Big Brothering their kids, with most saying that though they are privy to the ongoing teen dramas of their children’s lives—boy trouble, mean girl fights, swearing—they usually keep it to themselves, as if that’s somehow an actual attempt to let their little ones fly.

Whatever happened to knowing that our kids were going to steal from our liquor cabinet, or somehow fool the poor guy at the 7-Eleven with a terrible fake ID, and go get drunk on a trespassed golf course—and basically being OK with that? Yes, terrible things can happen to our kids, online and elsewhere. But from the way Kolbert tells it, terrible things are happening to them already as we stunt their growth, and more terrible things are to come when they hit 25 and can’t cook themselves a meal.

One small solution in the work-family balance struggle: Go to work, take a run, socialize with friends, give your kids room to screw up—real room, not managed room—and let them fend for themselves


http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/06/26/work_life_balance_and_having_it_all_one_solution_is_to_spend_less_time_with_your_kids.html

Take my word for it, the long running idiocy of American parenting is about to hit a wall......that **** does not fly in the world of global competition.
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 12:55 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
Not long ago, Sally Koslow, a former editor-in-chief of McCall’s, discovered herself in this last situation. After four years in college and two on the West Coast, her son Jed moved back to Manhattan and settled into his old room in the family’s apartment, together with thirty-four boxes of vinyl LPs. Unemployed, Jed liked to stay out late, sleep until noon, and wander around in his boxers. Koslow set out to try to understand why he and so many of his peers seemed stuck in what she regarded as permanent “adultescence.” She concluded that one of the reasons is the lousy economy. Another is parents like her.

“Our offspring have simply leveraged our braggadocio, good intentions, and overinvestment,” Koslow writes in her new book, “Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest” (Viking). They inhabit “a broad savannah of entitlement that we’ve watered, landscaped, and hired gardeners to maintain.” She recommends letting the grasslands revert to forest: “The best way for a lot of us to show our love would be to learn to un-mother and un-father.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/07/02/120702crbo_books_kolbert#ixzz1yySvDCEJ


AMEN!
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 07:22 am
@hawkeye10,
I don't think this is an "American" problem.

Almost every day you hear about how parents in Asia are so strict and how wonderful their kids are and how their beating us on PISA and if we don't buckle down and get our kids in line then America will "lose". So we end up with "Tiger Mom" books telling us to watch our kids every minute, to never let them make a mistake, and to criticize the hell out of them should they slip up. Everyone applauds. (OK, not everyone.)

I think there are a lot of reasons we got this way though:

We're fed a steady diet of horror stories about the awful things that can happen to kids if you aren't watching every minute. The internet speculates on how terrible those parents must have been -- they allowed their child to be unsupervised and look what happened!

Your kid makes a nasty post on Facebook? Shoot their computer and post it to Youtube! Get famous as a hero! Appear on the morning talk shows!

Your kid fails a class? Make them hold a sign on the street announcing their crime! Post it to Facebook! Get famous as a hero! Appear on the morning talk shows!

People pat you on the back and tell you you're "doing it right".

If you aren't busy becoming a hero on the internet, you can get busy becoming a criminal:

I saw my neighbor's kids out after dark smoking cigarettes, what do I do? Call CPS!

My neighbor's baby is crying, what do I do? Call CPS!

She allowed her kid to ride the subway alone! Call CPS! She doesn't deserve to have kids! Send her a death threat!

Parents are afraid to let their kid make a mistake because they're afraid they'll get their kid taken away.

There's also the fear that if your kid makes one mistake that their life is essentially over because they'll never get into college and they'll spend their life in a dead end job and it's all your fault.

If you refuse to drug your kid, you're a bad parent.

If your kid tries drugs, you're a bad parent.

I think the biggest problem is that our notion of privacy has changed to the point where a lot of people are fearful of allowing their child any privacy. One forum I look at has a lot of young people on it and they don't seen to understand that privacy is desirable. It's almost like they haven't really done something unless they've announced it publicly.
thack45
 
  4  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 08:16 am
We're all up in everybody else's business. Same as we've always been.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 08:31 am
@boomerang,
Word.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 09:52 am
@hawkeye10,
Someone in this article agrees with me:

Quote:
In “A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting” (Broadway), Hara Estroff Marano argues that college rankings are ultimately to blame for what ails the American family. Her argument runs more or less as follows: High-powered parents worry that the economic opportunities for their children are shrinking. They see a degree from a top-tier school as one of the few ways to give their kids a jump on the competition. In order to secure this advantage, they will do pretty much anything, which means not just taking care of all the cooking and cleaning but also helping their children with math homework, hiring them S.A.T. tutors, and, if necessary, suing their high school.



hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:08 am
@boomerang,
You are arguing that fear is the cause of bad parenting. You have probably noted that I have at many points argued that Americans have been manipulated for a long time by the selling of fear, and that this trick still works alarmingly well.

We can argue about how it got there, but that Americans are full of fear is clearly true, and it is the cause of much of which ails us.
DrewDad
 
  4  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:18 am
@hawkeye10,
This is simply a case of finding an article or study that fits your pre-existing bias.

There is no empirically tested method of "correct parenting" and too many "experts" have ended up being complete idiots.

Our society is far too heterogeneous, and kids are far too heterogeneous, for one approach to work for all kids.

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:22 am
@DrewDad,
If you don't think that American parents on the whole are over invested in and over manage their kids lives then you need to get out more.
DrewDad
 
  4  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:26 am
@hawkeye10,
There is certainly a segment that does that.

There is also a large segment where both parents work and they don't have the time to do that. Or they head to the bar, or they head to the golf course, or they head wherever the hell else they want to go.

Then there's the segment that just enjoys spending time with their kids.


And then there's the segment of the population that has too much free time, so they sit around finding fault with everyone else.



Hey, I found your nose. It was in my business.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:31 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
If you don't think that American parents on the whole are over invested in and over manage their kids lives then you need to get out more.


How is this an American thing?

The article you posted compares American kids to kids living in the Peruvian Amazon. Those parents sound very invested in their kids. They are teaching them what it takes to survive within their culture. That's what American parents are trying to do too.

I think it's safe to assume that Matsigenka parents aren't all exactly the same.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 10:39 am
@boomerang,
I am not arguing that this is only an American problem. I don't know enough about other cultures to say, though when I was in Germany for 6 years I found their youth to be much more independent than ours. In any case others having the same problem would not make me feel any better. Nor would it change what we need to do going forwards.
0 Replies
 
aspvenom
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 01:28 pm
@hawkeye10,
It's just the way kids are, so parents should back off (but not entirely).

A little over 2000 years this is what one person (Socrates) noted about teenagers:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Hey, it sounds like he is somewhat describing me when I was in HS.

I think some parents are expecting the unexpected from most of us, stereotyping kids to be perfect angels whith bright halos on their heads.
I call them helicopter parents, they hover on the shoulder at every moment of the kid's youth. Most kids with that kind of treatment become neurotic from anxiety at the first chance of independence they get.
DrewDad
 
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Reply Wed 27 Jun, 2012 02:20 pm
@aspvenom,
I'm also struck by the automatic assumption that "the way it was done in the past is to be preferred to the way it is done now."

There are many things that we've learned to do better now. Everything from building a better houses, to child safety, to vaccinations, to annual well checks, etc.

Just because things are different now doesn't mean they're worse. I have things a helluva lot better than my dad, and his dad, did.
0 Replies
 
 

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