Thursday, January 22, 2015

Advice From ‘America’s Worst Mom’


I'm not a mom yet, but I have five nieces and nephews, friends with kids (which also happens to be the title of one of my favorite movies) and even neighbors with kids. (God bless that family and their tiny one bedroom apartment!) Plus, being of childbearing age, parenting practices pique my interest these days. This article caught my eye, and the below paragraphs really stood out:
“[College] Students are prepared academically, but they’re not prepared to deal with day-to-day life, which comes from a lack of opportunity to deal with ordinary problems,” Dr. Gray said. “Over the past 60 years, there’s been a huge change, well documented by social scientists, in the hours a day children play outdoors — less than half as much as parents did at their children’s ages,” he said.
In decades past, children made up their own games and acquired important life skills in the process. “In pickup games,” Dr. Gray said, “children make the rules, negotiate, and figure out what’s fair to keep everyone happy. They develop creativity, empathy and the ability to read the minds of other players, instead of having adults make the rules and solve all the problems.”
On the beach in Miami recently I was humored to hear a mom yelling at her three kids, "GO AWAY! Go play! Toss the ball around. Get out of here!" The kids listened. They went about 20 feet away and played catch in the sand, while the mom and dad sunbathed in silence. When I first heard the mom yelling I thought she was maybe the worst parent on the beach. After seeing the kids go play and realizing the necessity of it (and after reading this article) I think the yelling mom was maybe the best mom in Miami.

A


Illustration by Fred Blunt via Love+Water Designs

[Advice From ‘America’s Worst Mom,’ Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 1/19/15]

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