Children once “grew up,” now we “raise” them.
Today’s parents do their best to meet all of the emotional, educational, nutritional and recreational needs of their kids throughout the entire day, every day. All this attention on children represents a huge advance: we know so much more about children’s development and needs, and as a result, are much better able to support their growth.
However, there can certainly be too much of a good thing. With all this provisioning, protecting and programming we sometimes forget to ask:
Is it really a good thing to give children everything they need, all the time?
As soon as we ask the question the answer seems obvious: No. Children need to experience adversity at least some of the time, and they need to fend for themselves, increasingly so as they get older.
The irony is that modern, obligated parents, working so hard to nurture emotionally healthy children, are increasingly raising children who are delayed in their emotional development because they have been given too much and protected too often.
Our modern understanding of the emotional needs of children represents significant progress. By being attuned and responsive to their needs we help kids feel secure. But we do need to find a balance, giving children what they need but not allowing our sense of obligation to drive us into being so attentive, so afraid of failing them, that they develop the belief that they are entitled to this unfailing response from the world around them.
It’s a difficult tightrope to stay on. Drop the Worry Ball: How to Parent in the Age of Entitlement helps parents achieve this balance by providing essential perspective on today’s child-rearing context and the powerful forces that pull us to become over-involved in our children’s lives. The book helps parents:
• See failing (tests, courses, tryouts for sports teams) as a normal part of growing up and not a sign of parental incompetence
• Stop doing all the worrying—and let their kids do some
• Retire as managers and gatekeepers and become providers of compassionate support
• Resist the social pressure to become over-involved parents
• Build trusting relationships with outside authorities (including teachers, coaches, camp counselors) so they can play effective roles in kids’ lives
• Understand parent-child dynamics, particularly the way children learn to recruit parents to do too much for them.