April 14, 2004

NYMag's Parenting Porn

Loretta Lux photo, Yossi Milo Gallery, image:nymetro.comFirst, if New York Magazine's cover story on needless therapy for babies was actually intended to enlighten over-aggressive, over-scheduled Manhattan parents about the pitfalls of over-programming your child, it would'nt be so freaking long. Who has time to read all that?

Single people, childless people, on the Stairmaster, patting themselves on the back for not getting sucked into that gotta-get-my-above-average-kid-into-Dalton-or-my-life's-over maelstrom. And since the article has the same Loretta Lux photos of creepy photoshopped children that the NY Times featured a couple of months ago, you feel like maybe you've already read it.

I had a single friend exec summarize it for me; she was suitably titillated and horrified. If you insist on reading the article, the last page has some very daddy-relevant quotes.

Otherwise, here's the takeaway:

  • In the highly competitive world of private Manhattan pre-school and kindergarten admissions, any hint of developmental delay that's visible to the admissions people must be pre-treated via jargon-heavy therapy.

  • Unstated: These therapies and consultants are like the Princeton Review: they have nothing at all to do with your kid's actual well-being or intelligence or abilities, and everything to do with reverse-engineering the admissions criteria.

  • Apparently, every school in New York wants to fill their classes only with only preternaturally chatty mini-me's who can discourse on abstract thought. Note: almost no schools are mentioned by name, anywhere in the article.

  • Downtown, every child is in therapy, and parents talk about it endlessly on the playgrounds. Uptown, parents sneak their kids in and out of a "sensory integration gym" so they won't be flagged as slow learners. Yet parents also don't go to these therapy sessions; nannies do, while the parents are working.

  • Conclusion for dads: Dads are either too insecure about having a less-than-stellar child, or too uninvolved in raising the kid to know what to do. Father or mother, you can't outsource parenting without it impacting your kid.

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