interesting article that supports our philosophy at Red Hen....
"While child-centred parenting has been the norm for the past couple of decades, new research suggests that if we want to raise confident, well-adjusted, healthy children our style of parenting has to change. Forget the “helicopter parent” (who hovers continually over their offspring), the “lawnmower parent” (who tries to mow down all obstacles in their children’s path) or the “tiger mother” (a parent who hothouses her children to succeed academically, named after the bestselling memoir by Amy Chua). We should now be learning how to be “underparents” .
At the heart of underparenting is an ethos that encourages children to do chores, learn to cook, get muddy – and fall off the climbing frame from time to time.
The woman leading the charge for change is Dr Madeline Levine, an American psychologist, who examines the benefits of healthy neglect in her new book, Teach Your Children Well. Levine identified unexpectedly high rates of emotional problems among the teenagers she treated who came from well-off, well-educated families. The reason, she found, was that children felt under increasing pressure to do well academically, while also being chivvied into numerous extracurricular activities that would look good on school and university applications. The chance of time off to play, learn to make friends or simply be bored just didn’t figure in their hectic schedules.
“I’m not saying that doing well academically isn’t important,” says Dr Levine. “But when I talk to the CEOs of tech companies here in California, they all say that there are other skills they are looking for in their employees – creativity, flexibility, resilience, communication skills and the ability to collaborate and motivate. You don’t get those by concentrating solely on an academic measure of success.”
Levine is not alone in her concerns. Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist specialising in play and development, warns that if we continue continually to hover over our children, they are likely to miss out on vital “life lessons” in how to assess risks. If your child has never had to take a decision about how to spend an afternoon or been left to figure out the best way to climb a tree, he or she will fail to develop cognitive ability. "