Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Book of the Month: May
This book was a gift to me and was my first foray into reading about parenting. Luckily it was right up my alley. Under Pressure: Rescuing our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting by Carl Honore is about the challenges of parenting in today's over-scheduled, stimulated and controlled world. Honore helps parents to think about the lifestyle and values that they have and what they may be "teaching" their kids.
Honestly written and well researched Honore includes himself in the masses of driven parents. His own urge to enroll his son in an art class to hone and polish his talent with drawing is met with his son's cry: "Why do grown-ups have to take over everything?"
And Honore attempts to unfold that question along with debunking myths about safety, perceived betterment through extracurricular activities and the ever present quest to buy everything for our kids. In the chapter Extracurricular Activities: Ready, Set Relax! he consults an American Pediatrician who claims that 65% of his patients are now victims of over scheduling listing symptoms of: headaches, sleep disorders, gastric problems caused by stress or eating too late and fatigue. And all these things are inflicting children who are shuttled from one activity to the next all for the ultimate goal of a happier and more accomplished life.
Throughout the book Honore gives examples of families who have realized their hectic lives did not work and have taken steps to change. He is not out to demonize parents but rather to uncover the truth behind cultures that push children too far, too early. The chapter that struck a chord with me was called Safety: Playing with Fire. It made me realize the cost of over-protecting your kids. A cult of child safety as he describes it, a bubble wrapped world so that nothing can hurt our precious ones but at what cost?
The goal of this book goes hand in hand with our own goal of raising healthy and happy little people. We all need to take stock of the pace of society and let our kids be allowed to play, relax and enjoy the precious childhood that is so quickly gone.