March 22, 2005

Thinking About Cutting Back On The Hovering?

There's a generation of hovering, obsessively protective parents out there, and our the culture is breeding more. That's the premise of Beth Hawkins' giant article in Minn/St Paul's City Pages:

We fear school buses, babysitters, and sometimes even Grandma and Grandpa, who may not know any better than to let the baby cry a little on her way to sleep. We're scared adversity will scar our kids or, conversely, that they'll be bored--a condition that, left untreated, might turn them into school shooters.

But we also fear their independence. We're up there in the climber because we can't afford to miss a minute of face time, you see. We believe our physical presence is the linchpin to the children's emotional well-being and, although we never say so out loud, we want it that way--because it's central to our well-being. We're scared the kids will grow up to resent the fact that Mommy works, or--the biggest golem on the list--they just plain won't like us. And in an age of high divorce rates and transient communities, kids who don't like us suggest the possibility that we might really end up alone.

Hah, chumps. Can't pin any of this on us. We are SO beyond all that overprotective crap. Our kid is gonna be so indep--"There are parents who only allow wooden toys, organic food, and incandescent lighting."

STOP, I CONFESS! IT'S TRUE, I'M A BAD PARENT!!! At least it's not my fault. Or yours. Turns out the Industrial Revolution is to blame. All we need is to undo the last 200 years of technological evolution and return to a rural agrarian economy. So what if the Unabomber said the same thing? After all, he DID get into Harvard.

Protecting kids to death, Safe Child Syndrome
[, via DT reader and now-worried dad-to-be, Gregg]


Blah blah, blah blah blah. Let's all beat ourselves up about being too protective or not protective enough. Let's pit "working" moms against "SAH"s. Let's pit moms against dads. Moms are all hysterical, you know. And dads are all incompetent louts who can't be trusted with their own children. If we can all keep sniping at each other, then none of us will notice that there's no social, economic, or political support for families in this country.

Bread and circus, baby.

True enough, but I should probably give Watkins far more credit for laying out the issues in a pretty levelheaded way. Her arguments meander a bit, but I think she's on the right side of things.

Which doesn't mean I don't worry about how to avoid becoming a freak parent someday.

Best cure for overprotectivness (is that a word) is have more children.

My sister-in-law has four from 7 to 3 and she is not very overprotective (she also has 3 siblings) My wife and I are even talking about having more than just one (my wife would like four as well but we can't really afford it). If you think about it it makes sense you won't have time to be overprotective of four children so you end up curing what 200 years of technical evolution have done to us.

mom, is that you?

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