Family Matters

‘Slow Parenting': Why a Mom Is ‘Fed Up with Frenzy’

In a new book, "slow parent" Susan Sachs Lipman pushes back against the highly scheduled, jam-packed lives of parents and kids

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For parents, familiar is the feeling of exhaustion that accompanies a day filled with work (for you) and school and play (for your kids). There are meals to be made, teeth to be brushed, backpacks to be assembled, permission slips to be signed, car-pool arrangements to be finalized — and that’s all often before 8 a.m.

No wonder that a considerable amount of ink has been spilled parsing why we have kids when they’re so much work and, in the words of a 2010 New York magazine headline, “All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting.”

Susan Sachs Lipman remembers having the same sort of not-so-joyous experience when her daughter, Anna, now 16, transitioned from preschool to elementary school. “Suddenly our lives felt hectic and less enjoyable than I thought it should be,” says Lipman, who serves as social-media director for the Children & Nature Network, a nonprofit organization devoted to getting kids’ hands dirty.

Dropping Anna off at school was the last straw, Lipman says. There were signs that said, “Drop, Don’t Stop,” and other parents sometimes honked when lines got too long. “Something about the drop-off curb served as an epiphany,” says Lipman. She decided to park her car and walk her daughter to school. “I thought if I can slow one part of our day and have a calm transition, maybe it will help us calm other parts of our lives.”

(MORE: Mother Is Best? Why ‘Intensive Parenting’ Makes Moms More Depressed)

Lipman continues to muse about channeling tranquillity in her new book released earlier this month, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement that advocates long, leisurely meals meant to be savored and enjoyed. Slow parenting is just like that, simply substituting children for entrées. Lipman writes:

I yearned for a life filled with creativity and play; true connection with my family, my community, and myself; and enjoyment of small observations and moments that come from slowing down enough to notice them. I wasn’t experiencing those types of connections and moments because I was too busy planning, scheduling, and driving. I was too busy with the future to notice the present, too busy with the calendar and the to-do list to stop and chat in the market or between activities. And, frankly, others seemed quite busy, too. I began to wonder just what the rush was, and whether slowing down might help me and my family become more connected and calm.

Lipman gives parents dozens of ideas for slowing down their family life in chapters entitled “Slow Kitchen” (she suggests making homemade butter with kids, using heavy cream and a glass jar) and “Slow Games” (no iPhones here; think hand-clapping to “Say, Say, Oh, Playmate”). Here, she talks more about saying farewell to frenzy.

Do you have any advice on how to bow out of the rat race?
A lot of us have a lot of anxiety about our children’s futures. Will they get into a good college? Where will this activity they’re doing now lead? If you can just be present, that offers us greater joy and family connection.

Is this situation we find ourselves in today any different from how it’s always been?
Children have half the free time they did 30 years ago, so kids are busier. Half of Americans bring work home regularly, and working mothers spend 40% of their time multitasking. Things have changed, certainly since my childhood. A lot is because of technology. Technology is great. But there is something valuable about tearing away from technology, and I want to promote that. Checking out of some of the things we do — giving kids all those enriching activities, not checking e-mail all the time — has given my family a sense of freedom.

It can be hard to not get caught up in extracurriculars.
There is a lot of anxiety parents have around giving their child opportunities early. We don’t honor play and free time and family togetherness enough. Now we are hearing you don’t have to do all the enrichment activities at once, and not doing them will actually give your child a successful start; not doing them will give you the connection and joy you feel is lacking.

What you’re advocating is pretty revolutionary. Are we doing our kids a disservice by signing them up for so many activities?
In our very well-meaning attempts to give our kids the best and help them get ahead, we might not be doing what’s best for them. What’s best may be a slower pace, doing things at the developmentally appropriate time. We do a lot of things early now because we think we’re giving kids a head start, but especially in early childhood they need a lot of free time and free play and time to discover who they are and what they like to do.

My daughter did peewee soccer when she was 3 or 4. At 5 or 6, soccer required a few practices a week and there was some travel. I thought it seemed a little serious for that age child. She didn’t like soccer that much so we didn’t pursue it. On Saturday morning when the other kids were playing soccer, it left time to take hikes and play tag in the park and make clay beads in the kitchen — fun, low-key family stuff.

When she entered high school, she became a serious athlete and is now on three teams — water polo, lacrosse and the mountain-bike team. She was able to get involved in sports at a later age when it seemed more appropriate because it was of her choosing. And as a bonus, we got all that time when she was younger to really bond as a family.

Once one decides to slow down, then what? How do you fill your time? Or not?
We’re anxious and want to make the most of our time. You have to embrace downtime. It’s actually embracing another mind-set, that downtime is O.K. and even valuable. Also there’s something to doing wonderful activities that are simple and don’t require equipment, like how to show an outdoor movie. Every summer we set up an outdoor movie in our driveway, have the neighbors over and make some popcorn. It’s a little old-fashioned and takes us away from the everyday. Just string a sheet between two trees and show a movie. Or make boats from newspapers, an idea from Curious George Rides a Bike. Or play classic playground games like Kick the Can or Capture the Flag and Red Rover. A lot of kids don’t know how to play these anymore.

What is slow parenting in reality?
Sometimes people hear the word slow and they hear about all these activities, and they say, Hey, you’re not being slow. We’re not being slothlike, but it’s doing things at a pace that’s correct for you. Sometimes it’s about saying we need to be at a slow pace this weekend and part of that is saying no to obligations or birthday parties or volunteering. We want to do everything, but sometimes the price is too high for our family.

Isn’t a lot of what you espouse passé in a world where toddlers tap on tablets?
A lot of people have the desire to return to that world. I do social media for a living. I know when I do a lot of screen activity, I crave being outside in the natural world. People yearn to go back to simple, tactile, old-school activities. We started making jam when Anna was 3.

Jam seems like a good place to start. I’ve made it once before, but years have passed because we’ve been, well, busy. But over the weekend, my two older kids and I braved the tangles of thorny blackberry bushes that grow wild not far from our house. I have sugar, lemon and pectin, and I promised them we would try our hand at making our own jam. I can’t wait to see what slow parenting tastes like.

VIDEO: Attachment Parenting: Dr. Sears and the Origins of a Movement

66 comments
DesiInCT
DesiInCT

I wonder how "Tiger Mom" would react to this :)

Terri Sue Taylor
Terri Sue Taylor

I was a single Mom when my kids were very little and in their first few years of school.  It was very difficult to manage 3 little ones by myself, plus keep a tight school schedule, do Teachers Conferences and daily routines.  My family was very helpful with these tasks, for which I am eternally grateful.  But, we still made 'quality time', even in that hectic schedule.  So, rain or shine, we walked to and from school every school day.  Along the way, we discovered and rescued worms from the sidewalk ('Rescue 9-worm-worm'), counted the do9ts on a ladybug, smelled our neighbor's flowers, or watched a robin search for grubs. I took the time to 'chaperon'  on my children's field trips and met all their little friends. Rewards AFTER homework was done included walks to the park, or the Tide pools at the beach nearby, discovering all kinds of little sea creatures. Life is short, and quality time and precious memories we build are gifts we can give our children that no amount of money or fancy college degrees can provide. These years are precious and priceless, and soon gone before you know it. My children have grown up now and are successful adults. But when we meet, we still talk of those times we shared. 

Big Little Wolf
Big Little Wolf

I have no suggestions for how "individuals" can bow out of the rat race. We need community, we need infrastructure, we need so much as a culture and a country that it goes beyond one woman's (or one family's) mandate to reprioritize... Women who juggle parenting tasks with or without paying work are tired. Very tired. The ripple effects are huge. We're at half capacity, halfheartedly going through the motions, and taking blame onto our shoulders that better belongs on society as a whole.

http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/2...

 

DarthWhatever
DarthWhatever

Here's an idea... quit trying so damn hard.  First it was "oh no I have to enroll my kid in every extra-curricular activity under the sun" and now "oh no I have to make clay beads and jam"... how about you just relax.  Quit worrying so much about what you should be doing and focus on what you are doing. 

... And what the hell ever happened to kids either taking the bus or walking to school?  What is all this driving/carpool nonsense?  Are there no school buses in middle class neighborhoods?

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

Yeah, why do you "professional" parents manage and pack your children's schedule with nonsense?

Ever thought about leaving your kids alone and stop stealing their childhoods? George Carlin was right, those parents are nothing but "diaper sniffers" and deserve to lose custody of their children.

Debbie Holland
Debbie Holland

There certainly isn't much spontaneity in raising kids. Part of it, I

suppose, is concern about the future (lots of activities look good on

college applications) It's disturbing, though, to think about parents

starting a written schedule,  beginning with a kid's "play dates," from

the time he/she is about six months old.

Steve Bowlus
Steve Bowlus

I was the prototypical 60s/70s Dad with a parenting style of "benign neglect."  I was there when the kids needed me, and the rest of the time they were just  ... kids.  Best thing I gave them was a childhood.

Alkaia
Alkaia

As a single mother I had to make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy time. I would get so focused on providing (financially/activities/educating) that it became dreadful for both my son and I. I don't have it mastered yet but slowing down has made things much better and enjoyable.

kumaran
kumaran

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lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

I'm sick of these negative parenting articles. I seriously doubt the biggest problem with parenting these days are the parents who are pushing their kids, or the kids who are too involved in activities. I've seen dozens of such articles in the past week alone, but haven't seen a single one about how NEGLIGENT parenting is more harmful for kids, or not involving your children in anything makes them bored and tune out in life, and gravitate towards destructive behavior and people. THAT is the real problem we have in America throughout our neighborhoods, not the over-scheduling, involved parents. I think these articles are just a way to validate parents who don't want to put any work into the act of parenting. Parenting is hard. You have to shlepp your kids around. We don't live in an age where the kids from the neighborhood all play together every afternoon and on weekends. Also, people are having less children, so they don't have instant companionship within the same family anymore. So therefore, parents have to do more now than they have ever done before.  That's just the way it is. Either don't have kids, have fewer kids, or quit your job so that one parent can stay home with the kids and not be overwhelmed with the "kid duties" (aka "parenting").

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

A lot of this "frenzy" has to do with the supermom syndrome--100% working woman, and 100% mother. This "epidemic" was inevitable. There's only so many hours in the day. No single person can do it all "leisurely". The only way to regain peace and tranquility is to re-prioritize. There are many statistics that say that even in families where both parents work equal number of hours, it's still primarily the mother who is the child care provider, the housekeeper, the errand person, and the person who leaves work early for kids' sick days, school conferences, functions and other obligations. It's not fair to women who feel the pressure to do everything and only feel like a failure at the end. It's not fair to children who are short-changed. But there's no great alternative. Fathers need to pitch in, REALLY pitch in, or people need to re-evaluate if they really have time and energy for children (or have 1, instead of 2-3). You CANNOT do it all, no matter what the media tells you. Something is always going to take a back seat.

SeasiderWR
SeasiderWR

In the 'olden days' (Yes.this is a 'geezer comment'!) children were not customarily (and  forceably)  'signed up for' or 'put into' music lessons or dancing lessons by their parents. They had to express a DESIRE first, and then the parents would 'scratch and scramble' to come up with the money to pay for it. If there was no money for lessons, there could ususally be found, in the church or neighborhood, or community at large,someobdy who would volunteer to teach a 'child with desire' for the pleasure of doing so. 

Everybody played whtever sports were 'in season', at school.........no matter your 'athletic ability............everybody participated.

 There was 'familytime' which included not only 'games', but doing things around the house and yard in which the whole family participated.

..BUT..thing that appears.to be missing now....that was a large part of 'growing up back then  is: "Go out and play!"  It was those times -to gather with other kids in the neighborhood and figure out what you were going to do - play a game- set the rules - build something (a fort or a tree house) and cooperate to do it.......or just 'be by yourself.......and THINK about things........watch clouds...or dragonflies.

In that 'Go out and play!" time, we learned to 'think for ourselves' , to cooprate, to be resourceful..............and to be INDEPENDENT.  Today's kids, hovered over, chauffeured about, and organized to a fair-the-well................ don't seem to have the chance to learn to 'stand on their own two feet', and trust their own knowledge - gained from their own independent experiences. I find that sad.

LPetterson
LPetterson

While I completely understand this new "movement" I also see why some families feel rushed and are under pressure to squeeze a lot of things in, within a short amount of time. I am a mother working full-time outside of the home. With my long commute, I am away from home 11-12 hours per day. This is not by choice, I am required to work in order to pay all our bills and survive. The small amount of time I do get to spend with my children is priceless, and I constantly stress over whether I'm spending it doing the right activities. In an ideal world I would spend those 2-3 hours a day doing "quality" family things. But I live in reality, and our reality today involves dance lessons, soccer practice, swim team, etc. Both of my children are in age appropriate activies, and they both really love doing each thing!

It's a bit shortsighted to think that all mothers (and fathers) who seem impatient and hurried during the school drop-off/pick-up line are that way because they're overextended in their childrens' activities and schedules. I would venture to guess that most parents who honk their horns or look frazzled are worried about being late for work, fear of losing their job. I would love nothing more than to be able to walk my kids to school everyday and be home with freshly baked cookies in the oven every afternoon...but it's not 1960. Most families today require two full-time working parents, which I believe is a bigger contributing factor to our frenzied parenting than technology and extracurricular activies. It's tough to slow down in our home/family life when demands from our employers are definitely not slowing down. In fact, they're going in the opposite direction.

Regardless, I will still try to incorporate some of this "slow parenting" into my life...it's never a bad idea to try and connect with your children on a meaningful level more often!

HawkJRL
HawkJRL

The author's remarks seem a bit contradictory.  She bypassed activities for younger kids but now her daughter is on 3 high school teams...how is that any less frenzied?

For some sports, you aren't going to have any chance at a larger high  school of making the team if you haven't had previous exposure to them.  Not saying that is right...that is reality though.

I would agree that the youngest of kids don't need to be signing up for ballet or soccer, not sure that it has much benefit in the long run.

Lucy Arias
Lucy Arias

Ditto! It took a year of unemployment for me to realize what I had missed...Cant get the years back but promise to never give up my time for parenting no more!

 

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

A career in nonprofit social media?  Really - that is an option for a career?  Sounds like hubby must be making bank to support that family.  With such esoteric career pressure, it is no wonder "slow parenting" mommy has time for marathon sessions of red rover, perfecting elderberry marmalade and regular field excursions to touch native americans.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

Homeschool and take back control of your kids and your schedules.

nanomous
nanomous

That's how I raised my kids.  I  knew darned good and well that they would grow up in a heartbeat and I darned well wasn't going to miss it.  We made beaded bracelets on hot summer evenings.  I taught them to make ghastly faces as the dinner table.  We told a lot of stories, did a lot of cuddling.  They descended on me when I was in my bath and we laughed until the water sloshed all over the floor.  Activities--well, if they're actually getting something they treasure out of it.  But most kids I know are exhausted--they only stop to collapse in bed and then they're up and racing again in the morning.  Truly, parents and kids don't have time to waste on this--childhood is a brief flicker in a lifetime and should not be missed in the process of racing about like anxious chickens.

Sara Rose
Sara Rose

Good parenting is not about catchy phrases designed in Manhattan to move product.

info81
info81

I think the best thing for mothers is to ignore the whole mommy blogosphere. This is another women bragging about homemade this and homemade that. These blogs are always written by upper middle class women whose husbands make lots of money and they need a way to differentiate themselves and say "look how great I am, I wrote a book"

We have fewer kids nowadays so we pay more attention to them and have more resources to enroll them in things. Middle class and up kids are doing better than ever.

cleveyoung
cleveyoung

One of the great strengths of humans is the ability to 'figure things out'. Life rarely goes the way we plan, so we need to be able to adjust, redirect, and creatively figure out another way. Developing the ability to do that is the same as the ability to play soccer - it takes years and years of practice. If a kid spends most of their life following along a pre-set path with all of the rules, schedules, objectives, techniques, guidelines, etc clearly defined and followed, when do they get the chance to practice winging it, or making it up as they go along?

I've see plenty of young people enter the workforce with what seems like solid, competent skills. And often they do just fine as long as everything is going according to plan. But for anyone who has been in the working world for a couple years will quickly tell you, almost nothing goes according to 'the plan'. It is at these times the ingenuity built from years of play, making things up, experimenting, and having to figure it out by themselves pays enormous dividends.

cleveyoung
cleveyoung

I've often heard other parents talking to their kids with things like 'You need to work harder in soccer practice if you're going to get a scholarship!' Then I look at the kid, and their parents, and think to myself are they really serious? Nice kid, but they look miserable, and they have at best mediocre athletic ability. And these were 8-10 year olds! Putting pressure on kids to get scholarships at an age when they don't even know what the term means? And for most it is such an unrealistic expectation. How many kids actually have the talent and get athletic scholarships?

Boxingwithangels
Boxingwithangels

I hope this becomes the trend.  And I hope parents start unplugging their kids amp; toning down their schedules.  Just let them play.  Those are the best memories.  I fear for this generation.   The disconnection they have from socialization is like a really bad science experiment.

helpfulheroine
helpfulheroine

people need to stop making their kids do too many things at too early an age (i know 3 year olds taking piano lessons and 2 year olds in preschool!).  i did kumon math, mandarin classes (i'm not even chinese), soccer, swim team, tennis lessons, violin, etc etc as a kid, but not all at the same time.  when i was younger, i made mud pies, ran around the neighborhood, had screaming contests (charming i know), and even spent the summer after sixth grade watching talk shows every day.  i had no problem getting into prep schools, going to an ivy league school and becoming a lawyer.  parents need to chill out - all these activities don't make your kids smarter or more "marketable."

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

How about parents stop murdering their kid's childhood? These parents are the ultimate thieves. So beset by failure in their own life, they burden their children with guilt, activity and ambition.

A neglectful parent is much better than a parent that "means well."

Talendria
Talendria

Does the fact that I agree with you make me a geezer too?  :)

I really feel that what you described is the correct way to raise a child.  Many parents today act like stage mothers.

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

You sound like an idiot. Maybe you should try cyanide?

CanisNLibris
CanisNLibris

You sound really angry.  Maybe you should take a chill pill.

Talendria
Talendria

My neighbor confessed to me that her 11-year-old son doesn't really talk to her anymore.  When she asks about his day, he gives a noncommittal response.  She lets him eat dinner in his bedroom.  He's like a boarder in her house.  I just couldn't believe she would let that happen.  My son and I have all kinds of inside jokes and funny routines that we do for no other reason than to crack each other up, and I feel so proud of the way he's growing up.  I wish every parent could have that kind of relationship with their child.

Talendria
Talendria

Agreed.  As far as I'm concerned New York is a different country, possibly on a different planet.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

Well put - this stuff is all garbage.  A morning news show recently ran a feature on how well behaved French children are - and of course - there was a dumb#$$ mommy blogger - sporting a beret - who wrote a book on how we should all raise our kids like the French!  Slow down and make clay beads in the kitchen? What planet are these mutants living on?  I say:  keep the little buggers so busy that they are too tired to kill you in your sleep at night.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

And a lot of these unstructured, free spirit geniuses have a hard time adjusting to the structure of a real job, following rules, getting to work on time,etc.  Many are, at 30, still hanging around in "Slow Parenting" mommy's basement, doing nothing more productive with their lives than warming hot pockets in the microwave and changing the bong water.  Kids don't just figure it out on their own.

Talendria
Talendria

I think it's natural and noble to an extent for parents to want their children to have more success in life than they did.  However, it seems that recent generations have taken that philosophy a bit too far.  It's like the old adage, a little is good but too much'll kill ya.  Many people are obsessed with success even at the expense of their family's happiness.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

Some people fail to realize (especially with kid #1)  that the scholarship is a pipe dream except for the extraordinarily talented and lucky few.  Playing sports, however, is crucial.  Our son had a coach once who told us:  We are teaching hardwork, sacrifice, disappointment, frustration, adversity - we just call it "baseball" because if we called it these other things, no one would come out.  Sports helped our daughters learn how strong and empowered they are, gave them healthy body images, stressed nutrition, fitness and time management.   Plus, we have had tremendous family fun traveling for activities - going to new cities, discovering new restaurants, spending hours of together time talking, laughing etc on the way.

Karabis
Karabis

I was a kid in the 80s, and I was always enrolled in some lesson or activity or other... and I'm GLAD my parents wanted to expose me to so many different things. I got to learn and try so many different things. Plus as an only child, those activities were one way I could spend time with other kids. Having so many activities didn't mean I had no unstructured free time, either. There are a lot of hours in a week!

I'll also point out that my generation grew up with video games, VCRs, camcorders, computers, etc... And look at all the cool stuff we have now in entertainment, advances in healthcare and etc, all because my generation grew up with technology as second nature. with the tools today's kids have at their fingertips, ican't wait to see what amazing things they'll invent when they grow up!

Talendria
Talendria

Agreed.  When I was a kid I had two really close friends who stuck by me through thick and thin for many years.  My son has struggled to form that kind of genuine friendship because his peers are venal.  They don't value him as a person; they just turn up when there's something to be had (fun, candy, access to a game they don't have at home).  It's disheartening.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

Interesting thought.  The biggest risk to this approach is that without the rigor of some structured activities - most parents will lack the discipline to consistently engage the kids.  These unplugged kids will merely plug in to media - it is an easy anesthetizing default for too many parents.  And this is where the true disconnection from socialization occurs.

ULURU
ULURU

 Too bad you never learned proper English grammar and sentence structure.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

Where are your statistics to back that up? Most adults I know readily admit that they wished their parents had pushed them more, made them take piano lessons, learn Spanish, and learn how to bowl or ice skate. No adult says "I'm so glad I did nothing every Saturday and just sat and watched TV".  None!  These "overscheduling" critics are talking about extreme cases and are definitely not looking at the other side of not scheduling anything. 

It's a known fact that kids who are idle become kids who are in trouble. That's why there are TAX PAYER funded programs throughout the country with after-school programs for low-income communities. They've learned that kids who are doing "stuff" turn into better kids, are more disciplined, are more confident, and are just "better" and more successful.  You don't hear about a kid who went on a shooting spree missing piano lessons while he's in police custody.

Christina Halasz
Christina Halasz

To send your kids out for recreation time with faith they'll be safe, you need a real sense of community.  We live in a society of orchestrated evil; our education system has been infiltrated by those who like to pick and choose who learns what.  If you've got the guts to see the core of the problem, who's profiting from our compromises, read this document: 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/3636... guts are not your thing, and you're too precious to know/acknowledge the truth, then you've no business forming opinions on the subject of governance, and no defensible right to vote.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

Incredulous, not angry.  Thanks for asking, though. 

cleveyoung
cleveyoung

Wow! Chill out Union. Nobody here is talking about letting kids run wild and free. It's about striking a balance in a families life. Structured activities are important for kids to be involved in as it teaches them a variety of important skills which they will need. Be it sports, Scouts, 4-H, school clubs, or whatever, it teaches kids how to participate and function in groups and social settings.

The discussion here is about balancing that type of activity with time to experiment on ones own.

BTW, I've seen plenty of young people who lived enormously structured lives growing up with high pressure hovering parents who end up living in basements, smoking pot, and playing WoW all day. So your reasoning (ranting?) is completely flawed.

Talendria
Talendria

I agree with you about the value of sports in theory, but that's not what I've seen lately.  I was involved in baseball, swimming, and track as a kid, so I encouraged my son to play pee wee soccer and t-ball.  The parents were so competitive, often loud and mean-spirited.  They failed to reprimand their own kids for poor sportsmanship, and they were dismissive of kids who appeared to lack athletic ability.  I tried to explain to them that many kids don't grow into their talents until middle school, but they were convinced that they could identify the star athlete in a herd of five year olds.  It was truly ridiculous.

Talendria
Talendria

I think you misread the article.  The author didn't suggest letting your kids languish in front of a computer or TV.  She suggested doing non-electronic activities together as a family, which is surprisingly rare these days.  Most of the families I know don't even eat dinner together.

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

Aw c'mon, she is just a free spirit, living an enlightened unstructured existence.  She won't be bound by the rigors of grammar, sentence structure, agreement of subject and predicate, etc.  That's for us frenzied losers...

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

"Most adults I know readily admit that they wished their parents had pushed them more, made them take piano lessons, learn Spanish, and learn how to bowl or ice skate. No adult says "I'm so glad I did nothing every Saturday and just sat and watched TV"."

Where are your statistics to back this up? I can invent anecdotes too. Every adult I know readily admits that their lives became a proxy for their parents hopes and wishes.

Way to justify your hyper-intrusion. Your life is over, let the kids alone.

ministerial
ministerial

To send your kids out to play, you need to live in an okay or better neighborhood amp; to have a sense of reality.

Violent crime is HALF of what it was when I'd "go out and play" for 10 hours a summer day.

HALF.

Turn off the TV news brain poison amp; read a book while your kids go out and play.

lovingparentof2
lovingparentof2

I believe this article is advocating that kids are not signed up for anything, ever. 

UNIONSRPONDSCUM
UNIONSRPONDSCUM

And you are gravitating to the other extreme of tiger moms and stage parents.  I agree that kids need lattitude to make decisions for themselves and room to breathe.  I am merely suggesting  (with a bit of tongue in my cheek) that the article and comments attempt to demonize a parenting approach that can produce healthy, successful and well-adjusted children.  And it appears that many of these comments are a cop out for parents too lazy or self-absorbed to engage their kids in organized activities,