“Share this.” Parenting Think pieces

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“[O]nce in a while, someone wants to talk about Crimea, which is a treat.” —Sara Miller, The New Yorker

Do you sometimes feel like all you do is talk about your kids (and everyone else’s)? I sometimes have to remind myself to stray from the subject among groups of friends at dinner parties, even though it is—of course—front and center in my mind these days.* (So I’m not making any promises, in other words.)

There’s a great parody of a parenting study in this week’s issue of the New Yorker, wherein it is concluded that if parents have to read one more “long-form think piece about parenting,” one more of those “articles that begin with a wryly affectionate parenting anecdote, segue into a dry cataloguing of sociological research enlivened with alternately sarcastic and tender asides, and end with another wryly affectionate anecdote that aims to add a touch of irony or, failing at that, sentimentality,” they will “go fucking ape shit.”

It’s pretty funny, particularly considering that my plan for today was originally to share with you the one that keeps coming up in conversation around here lately: Have you read the article in The Atlantic, “The Overprotected Kid“? It’s been largely circulated (and in being so probably prompted the New Yorker spoof), but it doesn’t stop it from raising fascinating questions about your tolerance for risk when it comes to your children. I’m curious where most of you fall on the spectrum, actually. I have said “be careful” to Hudson enough times that he will actually preemptively say—as he is about to run past the edge of the pool toward our dog’s house or climb atop a chair I’ve told him not to—”I be careful, mommy.” He’s got my number.

It made me seek out an old Momfilter post that once sparked similar conversation…

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 3.13.52 PM

Would you? The question was: If you were at this playground, watching your child climb and walk along a pair of slippery, rounded parallel bars, would you intervene? What’s funny is how different the photo looks to me this time. When I first saw it, a couple of years back, my gut reaction was “Hell yes!” “He’s going to slip and split his chin! Or worse!” This time around, it wasn’t quite as shocking to me. The answer didn’t seem as clear. Hudson is such a fearless climber that I’m becoming more accustomed to standing back, proudly watching him surmount obstacles that would have previously made me incredibly anxious. Still, if I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t let him do this right now without help, not at his age at least.

Aron noted that Hudson wouldn’t want to yet. He probably couldn’t get up on those bars and do this by himself, and that makes a big difference. I think we both generally agree that, on playgrounds, if he can do it by himself we should try and let him. How one responds ultimately depends, I assume, on your own child and his or her skill. What sort of risk tolerance do you have? What’s your playground style?

Anyway, last night, we had a friend over for dinner and he asked if we had read the article in The Atlantic about raising kids. Of course I thought I had, but it turns out it was a different article, titled “Don’t Help Your Kids with Their Homework.”

And then we talked about Crimea.

*Most of my friends at those dinner parties have, no doubt, the same dilemma. Proof? The time we were all out without our kids for a birthday and, still, at least a half dozen of us simultaneously called out “choo choo” when the train passed by the restaurant.

P.S. Have a great weekend!

[Top Photo by Amy Neunsinger via; Lower via Momfilter]

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