I don’t have kids of my own, but I’ve spent plenty of time around them over the years. Although I don’t live near my family anymore, I’ve got 3 nieces and 2 nephews and I have to admit – I spend time thinking about them. I’m sure they’ll be raised just fine, but as the oldest sibling in my family, I can’t resist learning a little about raising kids so I can impart a little advice when I go to visit.
So, when articles like this cross my stream, I enjoy reading them. I consider them. I probably give them too much thought. But, it is so interesting!
In my nine years as a parent, I’ve followed the rules, protocols, and cultural cues that have promised to churn out well-rounded, happy, successful children. I’ve psychoanalyzed my kids’ behavior, supervised an avalanche of activities, and photo-documented their day-to-day existence as if I were a wildlife photographer on the Serengeti. I do my utmost to develop their minds and build up their confidence, while at the same time living with the constant low-level fear that bad things will happen to them. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if, by becoming so attuned to their every need and so controlling of their every move, I’ve somehow played a small part in changing the very nature of their childhood.
Turns out, you can over-do it and become so involved that you are taking away from your kids childhood, instead of adding to it.
I like the question asked of the parents later in the article, “think of your happiest moment as a child… were your parents there?” I can say that, for me, my parents weren’t there for all of my happiest moments. Because the best moments were when I accomplished something by myself. There is freedom and power in that.