Lately I've been pondering about childhood and the impact that our society today has on our children. For many years, I have felt that the world seems to require that our children grow up too fast. Children have so many things thrown at them socially, personally, environmentally and educationally and often all at once. As adults, many of us have gained the coping skills to deal with these pressures but I feel that many children are lacking the needed maturity and experience to handle everything that is dealt to them.
I was listening to the John Tesh show on the radio recently when running my 'mom taxi'. He was talking about over-parenting. I, and many, like to refer to it as the helicopter parent syndrome. Now honestly, I myself sometimes behave like a helicopter parent. My husband has to remind me to let the kids deal with things themselves but it's hard to see them struggle even though I know it's necessary for them to learn. John Tesh, on his show, stated that "Carl Honore, the author of the book Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From the Culture of Hyper-Parenting... spent two years investigating child-raising approaches around the world. What he found everywhere among middle-class and affluent families was that - despite parents’ best intentions - kids are over-scheduled, over-indulged and over-stimulated." In my mind this tells me that children are being encouraged to "be little adults". Although I want and encourage my children to be involved and try different sports and activities in church, community and school, I still want them to be children. Ahhh... parenting.... it's a toughie !!
On a side (somewhat related) note, my 12 year old son is involved in the scouting program. He loves it and it's a great program which I totally support. I was somewhat unenthusiastic, however, when I learned that they were planning a 50 mile hike in the mountains with full packs, tents, etc., everything needed to sustain life on the trail for a week- ON YOUR BACK. A few other parents were as skeptical as myself where their young boys were concerned. If they were a little older, taller, more mature I think it would be a great experience but at 12 years old, the maturity and strength to carry a 30 pound pack on your back for a week is, in my opinion, too much. The scouts did recently do a much, much shorter hike with the full packs and my son discovered that although he did enjoy himself, he decided that that 50-miler was for the birds. At least for THIS year.