Have you heard of the latest parenting style that involves reclining on the couch, martini-in-hand, while your child occupies herself with legos? Me neither. But Tom Hodgkinson's new book, The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids, describes a new parenting phenomena that may be the best kept secret to raising well-adjusted, independent children. Less helicoptering and micromanaging, more martinis (just look at his cover).
Today, however, Belkin claims that parents are saying NO to strict schedules, flash cards, tutors, and violin lessons. In truth, while I wouldn't call it a laissez-faire approach, it's a relaxed style that involves less in-your-face, over-scheduling and more enjoying life and being.
I'd like the think that Belkin's right, that perhaps we've been enlightened. But truthfully, as a mom enmeshed in the wilds of suburbia, I've yet to see this theory in action. Instead, I see kids miss out on dirty knees, because they have too much homework in first grade. As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to get up in someone's grill and shout: "Just chill out and leave your kid alone."
Bottom line: Chill out, Mom.
For me, this boils down to trusting more and fearing less. Trusting that our kids won't be paralyzed by Lyme's Disease if they play in the woods. Trusting that they won't be a failure if they get a C or choose not to go to . . .(oh my God) college. Trusting that they will find their way and grow to be decent human beings- probably the same decent human beings who will respond to our under-parenting with a tightening of the reigns, and a few martinis.