Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hyperparenting: The Helicopter Parent and Carl Honore with a Stinger Missile

When we went to visit daycares before Curious Boy was born, many of them tried to impress us with their school-like settings and workbooks for 3 year olds. Now, I'm a big fan of letting kids be kids for as long as possible, and Philosopher Mom is a pediatric occupational therapist. We both kept our mouths shut and ran like hell to a family-style home daycare down the street. Getting kids ready to succeed in school is one thing, but forcing them to attempt tasks before they are developmentally ready can really make them suffer.

The hyperparenting trend, where you schedule all of the life out of your kids life is having an incredibly detrimental effect on children's happiness.

Author Carl Honore, who also wrote "In Praise of Slow", has released a new book called "Under Pressure: Rescuing Childhood from the Culture of Hyperparenting". He has been making the rounds on CBC Radio 1, and it seems as though we have a lot in common. He suggests that getting kids into too many activities and putting too much academic pressure on them early on can be ruinous for a child's mental health and actually be counter-productive. He present the case of Finland as a contrast to North America. Children in Finland to not enter school until the age of 7, there is virtually no homework assigned during elementary school and Kumon/Sylvan type tutoring is unheard of. Fins consistently score very highly on internationally standardized tests and rate themselves as 3rd happiest in the world. Certainly something to think about, while you are crying becuase Aiden didn't get into the right preschool and now his chances of going to MIT are shot.

Listen to Carl Honore on Sounds Like Canada
and on the phone-in segment of Radio Noon (Part 1 and Part 2)

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1 comment:

MT said...

Well, there's no point in sending kids to school early in Finland, because they'd only find their names impossible to spell.