The college admissions scandal continues to spark conversations about how parents providing too much assistance/intervention/hovering can backfire. As we like to say at Let Grow: "Always helping kids isn't always helping them." (Feel free to needlepoint onto a pillow and clutch it when sending your 12-year-old to lacrosse practice by herself....without a cell phone!)
The New York Times, which should be retitled The New York Parenting Times with some News About D.C. and Food Thrown In, has a great article today about so-called snowplow parenting, whereby parents become:
machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities....
This is when parents began filling afternoons and weekends with lessons, tutors and traveling sports games. Parents now spend more money on child rearing than any previous generation did, according to Consumer Expenditure Survey data analyzed by the sociologists Sabino Kornrich and Frank Furstenberg.
At Let Grow, we never blame parents for doing all this, because the culture is now organized around it. Send your kid to the park after school and there's no one else there for him to play with. Hence: Off he goes to karate class.
You may know we have two school-based programs intended to give kids and parents back some independence. They are here. But what about YOU? Is there something you have done to give your kids back some free, unstructured, unsupervised time that has no big goal other than letting them find their way, waste their time, have some fun, make some friends, do something they enjoy?
If so, please share it. We'd like these ideas to go as viral as the admissions scandal story.