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"The Pendulum of Parenting Has Swung Too Far"

Laissez Faire is a kind way to describe the hands-off parenting many of us experienced in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We ran free, made terrible decisions, and limped home at dark. Today, unstructured, unsupervised free time is simply unheard of. And our kids are worse off as a result.   

2 Comments: "The Pendulum of Parenting Has Swung Too Far"

  1. These are great points. One thing I would add to the “don’t bail him out” point would be that it’s okay to make exceptions, especially for a kid with ADHD. It’s not going to mess them up or make them lazy. To me, it’s just part of being a family. Let’s say your kid worked hard and spent hours on a science project that had a hard deadline, but walked out of the house and left it sitting on the kitchen counter in a classic ADHD moment – and because during the car ride they’re absorbed in conversation or in the songs on the radio or their thoughts, they don’t think about it until you drop them at school, and when they do, the panic. Bringing the project in the next day often means half credit. If you have the ability – run that thing up to the school. Your kid will be grateful for it, not suddenly realize that it’s okay to be lazy.

    I’m not saying you should do it every time, or that if it’s inconvenient or impossible that you should push your boundaries to do it, but if it’s relatively simple for you to do, why not? What exactly is the lesson there? “Don’t forget things”? Sorry – but trouble with working memory is going to be a problem they’ll deal with their whole life if they have ADHD. It can be incredibly frustrating and even heartbreaking sometimes. I’ve bailed out my ADHD dad when he’s forgotten simple things, and vice versa. It’s us being there for each other. And you can be sure that when that kid gets a job, they won’t be calling you because they left their report at home – they’ll turn around and get it, and show up late to the office rather than showing up empty-handed. But a child who can’t drive doesn’t have that luxury.

    Again, some of these points are great, but a few of them seem to reinforce the idea that ADHD is, at its core, laziness. And it’s not. If your kid is trying and failing, and frustrated and hating themself because they can’t figure it out, pulling back so that they’ll “learn” to focus probably isn’t going to help. Leaning in, with clear boundaries and encouragement, is probably the best bet.

  2. I totally agree with this article. I am trying very hard not to schedule my kids for too many activities anymore. We have cut back to two activities per kid per week. And the weekends, only one day that is build with back-to-back activities. I have noticed that we all seem to be a little calmer. But I still have friends who have their kids scheduled in back-to-back activities. They are in to sports, to clubs, and the entire weekend is filled with tournaments or other types of activity.

    And it also seems that when kids don’t seem to have any activities, that they are playing violent video games that seem to rev up their anger responses. I am seeing more kids who backtalk and show defiance towards their parents Than I remember seeing before.

    And the teachers seem to be piling on more homework than I remember growing up with. This does not help the kids as much as I think they wanted to.

    The results of this lifestyle – very stressed out kids

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