Should we practise the art of un-parenting?
A provocative book called “Slouching Towards Adulthood: Observations from another so Empty Nest” by Sally Koslow says we should stop being ‘tiger mothers’ and ‘helicopter parents’ and loosen the intensity of our input into child rearing.
As Koslow succinctly puts it: “The best way for ..us to show our love would be to learn to un-mother and un-father …It’s one thing to provide our children shelter in a storm, and another to function as their entire weather system.”
I think that as parents we should take a step back from endlessly ferrying our kids around to activities, parties, extra tuition lessons etc in a constant quest to make sure they are the best at everything. How many kids do you know who leave home having hardly cooked, cleaned the house, done the washing or made a supermarket shop? We mollycoddle our children far too much, to the detriment of their independence. We micromanage their lives, probably with the best of intentions. For those with children at competitive schools we check and correct their homework, and even do it for them. We push them to excel at sports and academically rather than allow them to develop their talents naturally. Women who have given up high powered careers to care full time for their kids are often the worst – trying to impose the cut and thrust of a competitive workplace onto the daily routine of their children.
At some point the strings that tie our children to us have to be loosened. To fall and fail is hard, but isn’t it better to let them experience that for the first time with their parents around to support and comfort them, rather than to only be exposed to the tough rigours of life once they have left the nest?
So, cut them some slack . As Koslow says- take a step back so that they can take a step forward.