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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

And here I thought it was me

Have you ever popped a DVD of one of your favorite movies into the idiot box and settled in to watch... only to find the familiar characters jabbering in a foreign language you can't identify, much less understand? We used to have a haunted DVD player that would occasionally lose its mind and randomly pick an overdub language (Serbian, Hungarian, Finnish, etc.) for movies that had previously played flawlessly in English.

The result of these occasional DVD malfunctions was an unsettling mix of familiar and unfamiliar.

When Zahava and I started raising kids, I felt that same mix of familiar and unfamiliar in just about everything we were hearing from experts, as well as other parents, about child-rearing.

My only frame of reference was my own childhood which, while not Theodor 'Beaver' Cleaver perfect, was certainly happy and normal enough to have produced a fairly well adjusted, functioning adult.  Yet everything I was hearing and reading about how to be a good parent made me feel inadequate, disorganized, uninvolved and even (at times) reckless.

This morning, my younger brother, who is a psychologist and heads up a unit of a large California county's Child Protective Services, sent me a link to an article.  As I read through the article it was as though someone had gotten up off the couch and changed the disc language back to English.  Suddenly everything made sense.  The problem wasn't me... it was the system which had gone and lost its mind.

If you do nothing else productive today, take 10 minutes and read this piece.  Trust me.

Note:  Ignore the intrusive advertising links between paragraphs.  They are unrelated to the article.

Posted by David Bogner on December 8, 2009 | Permalink

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I read this article over Shabbat and I have to say I agree with it. I have long used the term Helicopter mom, and I refuse to be one. I don't know that I am ready to have my 11 year old ride on unfamiliar public transit by himself but I am sure that he would do just fine.

We need to let the kids LIVE their lives, not worry about every single thing that they are about to do. They need to learn skills on how to overcome challenges which they cannot learn if we are holding their hands every step of the way and barely allowing them to breathe on their own.

Posted by: Hadassah | Dec 8, 2009 3:29:25 PM

A few years ago when child number 3 was preparing for being, I asked a colleague who at that time had only 8 children, how one raises so many?
He replied that I had missed the concept. That I don't have to raise them. I must set an example and try not to interfere too much.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Dec 8, 2009 3:33:46 PM

Speaking of "advertising links between paragraphs", I was a little taken aback at your interest in how teenage girls ought to take care of their hair when I saw the link to the article after your November 29 post, till I realized it was a monetizing thing.

I'm planning to be in Israel this week, might stop over at the Tendlers. Maybe I'll bump into you-- I'll just triangulate the honeybees.

Posted by: Barzilai | Dec 8, 2009 4:24:28 PM

Heh. Now that's something I'd never be accused of--being a Helicopter Parent. I'm way to lazy for that.

Posted by: Baila | Dec 8, 2009 5:09:48 PM

Outstanding. Just Tweeted it and will blog about it too.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 8, 2009 7:52:54 PM

Excellent. I don't have kids, but I know how I want to raise them.

Posted by: SaraK | Dec 8, 2009 10:28:38 PM

Great article. I especially loved the part about creativity and turning off the noise.

Posted by: Erachet | Dec 9, 2009 5:31:22 AM

Great article. I especially loved the part about creativity and turning off the noise.

Posted by: Erachet | Dec 9, 2009 5:33:10 AM

If you want this article (or other ones, for that matter) without the advertising, just click on the "Print this article" button. Then you get soemthing that looks like this http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1940395,00.html

In any case, great article. Describes my parenting style to a "T".

Posted by: Shalom | Dec 9, 2009 10:32:38 AM

o whew...this means i am not a terrible parent :)

Posted by: weese | Dec 9, 2009 6:41:14 PM

Fantastic article. Thanks.

My favorite quote: "Remove Child Before Folding." Yes, I KNOW it's just to protect the stroller company from being sued by really dumb parents. But still...

Posted by: psachya | Dec 9, 2009 7:23:39 PM

I knew we were in trouble when I saw a little kid ice skating, in double runner skates no less, wearing a friggin' helmet. And the helicopter parent hovering right behind. Good grief!

Posted by: Marsha, in Paramus at the moment | Dec 9, 2009 8:54:54 PM

I'm sorry, but with a setup like this, I can't resist:

My only frame of reference was my own childhood which, while not Theodor 'Beaver' Cleaver perfect, was certainly happy and normal enough to have produced a fairly well adjusted, functioning adult.

Well, yes, but it also produced you... :)

*ducks and runs*

I remember the Lenore Skenazy article when it came out. Hard to imagine that it's still causing a fuss.

Posted by: efrex | Dec 10, 2009 9:10:47 PM

I had one of those epiphany moments when my son looked at me and said, "But Mom, I have no life!" after a week of afterschool lessons and therapies and homework in college prep Jewish Day School......I cancelled the lessons, had to keep the therapies, and told his teacher that a kid with mild CP and vision problems didn't need homework to complicate his life further.

I was also the heretic mom who refused to "baby-proof" the house. Sooner or later he's going to open the cabinets and discover wall plugs---hiding them and locking them is just delaying the problem, not solving it. My friends, OTOH, put rubber bumpers on their tables so their children wouldn't get hurt when they banged into them....my son banged into the table once, and never did it again....

Posted by: aliyah06 | Dec 13, 2009 12:25:58 AM


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