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John Marsden on the 'toxic' parenting pandemic: 'I’ve never seen this level of anxiety'


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#26 Sentient Puddle

Posted 23 July 2019 - 12:42 PM

 kimasa, on 23 July 2019 - 12:33 PM, said:

I feel like the "kids aren't allowed to play" argument is on par with "war on Christmas".

It's not actually happening, but people sure as hell are going to pretend it is if it furthers their point.

I agree - A tree fell in the wind at the local primary school not far from us a year or so back.  Instead of getting rid of it - they left the rather large trunk and main branches as a natural climbing frame for kids use.

#27 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:07 PM

I think Marsden has a bit of a case of “back in my day” and is getting old. And as a principal, of course he is jaded. My dad is a teacher, so I’ve seen that side of things. But he has some good points, the helicopter parenting thing has been around for a while.

What I have noticed is that lazy, back seat, relaxed, type parenting is shamed these days, but lazy parenting is what kids need. It’s nice to be involved, and cut your kids food, and make their lunch, and organise their lives, and clear their paths for them, people see that as good parenting. But a bit of laziness needs to be in the mix. As in, make them do it themselves. Sit back, let the kids organise heir own food, get themselves dressed, play without supervision. Say No, say “I can’t, do it yourself”. Say “we can’t afford it”. We need less guilt piled on for making kids do things themselves.

I know adults who can’t even wash their own clothes or cook their own food cause they never had to. They can’t organise their own lives. These adults are also emotionally immature and can’t cope with failure or change. This is the risk, this is where helicopter parenting can end up if taken too far. It’s the extreme end, but I think this is what Marsden is talking about. You can damage kids by treating them like infants their whole lives.

#28 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:12 PM

 kimasa, on 23 July 2019 - 12:33 PM, said:

I feel like the "kids aren't allowed to play" argument is on par with "war on Christmas".

It's not actually happening, but people sure as hell are going to pretend it is if it furthers their point.

I disagree - I think it is actually happening.  My kids are teenagers now, but as I said above, my DD's friend is still not allowed to catch public transport - which limits her activities with the rest of our kids.  There are varied limits that we all put on our kids, at a level that we are comfortable with.  But as they are getting older, the behaviour of the "curling', or 'helicopter' or other parenting styles seems to stand out more..... IME, anyway.  

I noticed it when my kids were young too - we live up the road from a large park and bushland, but when my kids were younger, I couldn't encourage them to 'go out and play with the other kids", because there were no other kids around.  They would go out together and then come home bored, and I would have felt that they were a lot safer if there was more of them.  

Same with walking to the shops etc.  I do believe we are limiting our kids in general.  I do think some of these teenagers are not good at making good choices because they haven't had the opportunity to make choices as they matured.

I think social media makes a huge diference too.  We hear about "the bad stuff".  I'm not sure its any worse than when we were young....... but the "bad" is more prevalent, as is the judgement.

I also don't think this should descend into a private / public school debate.  There are amazing schools in both systems.  For me that comes down to leadership and those leaders taking risks.

#29 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:14 PM

Yeah Im anxious as F*** about drowning or car accidents because Ive seen kids killed by both. Other things like climbing trees Im happy to let my kids do.

#30 seayork2002

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:20 PM

 ~LemonMyrtle~, on 23 July 2019 - 01:07 PM, said:

I think Marsden has a bit of a case of “back in my day” and is getting old. And as a principal, of course he is jaded. My dad is a teacher, so I’ve seen that side of things. But he has some good points, the helicopter parenting thing has been around for a while.

What I have noticed is that lazy, back seat, relaxed, type parenting is shamed these days, but lazy parenting is what kids need. It’s nice to be involved, and cut your kids food, and make their lunch, and organise their lives, and clear their paths for them, people see that as good parenting. But a bit of laziness needs to be in the mix. As in, make them do it themselves. Sit back, let the kids organise heir own food, get themselves dressed, play without supervision. Say No, say “I can’t, do it yourself”. Say “we can’t afford it”. We need less guilt piled on for making kids do things themselves.

I know adults who can’t even wash their own clothes or cook their own food cause they never had to. They can’t organise their own lives. These adults are also emotionally immature and can’t cope with failure or change. This is the risk, this is where helicopter parenting can end up if taken too far. It’s the extreme end, but I think this is what Marsden is talking about. You can damage kids by treating them like infants their whole lives.

I have seen on here 'I will not let anyone else look after my child because I have issues'

This is one thing I joke about my son going to his grandparents but in all seriousness it is amazing the stuff he learns and picks up on but not being us 24/7

I am aware this is not a popular view on here but we intentionally sent DS to child care was so he can do things without us.

No I do not think it is healthy for kids to never be around other adults, and I great times at sleepovers at my grandparents and other relatives

(and before anyone says I am fully aware not every child has grandparents to go to or even grandparents responsible enough to leave kids with and a million other scenarios - but that is different to not allowing there with anyone because of issues)

#31 Oriental lily

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:25 PM

One thing I have found about having five kids is that I physically and mentally can not be a helicopter parent .

Yet I do find school does seem to have ridiculous large amounts of ‘stuff’ they want parents to be involved with .

I wonder if people having small families these days contributes to adults being able to micromanage children’s lives?

Sometimes I do feel like I am being ‘lazy’ because I do get my older kids to make their own lunch and to organise their day with little in put by me or DH but then I have a reality check and realise we run our own business and I still have two other kids under the age of five to look after .

Nevertheless my kids do seem to have a more sheltered life than I did growing up . I don’t like my kids playing free range in the neighbourhood . To much nut jobs around driving like maniacs .

But I do feel sometimes this is my own anxiety filtering through .

It’s hard to know what is legitimare  fears and what is irrational .

#32 Claudia Jean

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:26 PM

My daughter and her friends have been "building huts" at school with branches and twigs and have been told off for playing with sticks.  She's 10!  I really love the kids' school but that's crazy.

#33 Kallie88

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:29 PM

Society doesn't help either. If something does go wrong what are the first comments: where were the parents? Why did the parents let their kids xyz? If they were MY kids I wouldn't let them do THAT! So if you let your kids do more, take more risks etc. Not only are you dealing with your own anxiety as'not something bad happening, but you know if something does, you'll get blamed for it, not just by yourself, but by a large proportion of the public.

#34 Moukmouk

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:32 PM

Part of it is the fact that there has always been shaming of parents (usually mothers). I remember all the "tut-tutting" over latchkey kids in the 80s. There are good and bad parts of all parenting. My mother was a toxic parent way before it was fashionable, and it was horrible. I was the one never allowed to go anywhere or do anything, which meant that I learnt some lessons the very hard way as an older teenager.

#35 Riotproof

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:35 PM

I feel like you must have the mind of an elephant, seayork. I don’t remember anyone saying that.
Plenty of people don’t allow non familial sleepovers, is that what you mean? I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

#36 Ozquoll

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:42 PM

 Oriental lily, on 23 July 2019 - 01:25 PM, said:


Nevertheless my kids do seem to have a more sheltered life than I did growing up . I don’t like my kids playing free range in the neighbourhood . To much nut jobs around driving like maniacs .

I’ve made this point on EB before - one of the huge contributors to the sheltered lives kids lead nowadays is vehicular traffic. Not paedos in the bushes or unreasonably anxious parents. Cars and trucks. Most of us are quite literally surrounded in every direction by machines that weigh upwards of a ton and can travel many times the speed of even the fastest runner. How many people reading this can walk even 200 metres without needing to cross a road? We have traded the freedom and peace of our children and other vulnerable groups (the very poor, the elderly) for the convenience and speed of cars.

#37 rainne

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:42 PM

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 Oriental lily, on 23 July 2019 - 01:25 PM, said:

One thing I have found about having five kids is that I physically and mentally can not be a helicopter parent .

Yet I do find school does seem to have ridiculous large amounts of ‘stuff’ they want parents to be involved with .

Schools: parents today are so over-involved! They want to know everything that's going on and never leave their children alone!

Also schools: we need volunteers for the excursion on Friday, don't forget that there's a dress up day Monday, would everyone please bake cupcakes for the fundraising stall and we need ten people to give up their morning to run it, thanks again to all our volunteers who help the FYOS kids with reading in the mornings!!!!! See you all at the Evening Assembly!!!

#38 Melbs2010

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:43 PM

I agree there's a lot of "back in my day" from Marsden in the article with rose coloured glasses about how fantastic it was.   But all his opinion really does is add another article saying "modern parents are doing it wrong."

The vast majority of modern parents are doing the best they can with circumstances that are very different to their parents generation.  Sure there are some over involved parents who could certainly be provoking anxiety in their kids but I tend to think they are in the minority.  They are likely just very loud!

All parents try to make up for what was missing from their own childhood.  In my parents case they were focused on financial security above all else.  Now people are much more focused on emotional wellbeing and may unwittingly be doing a disservice.  Whenever anyone harps on about the good old days of parenting I remind myself that I've spent the majority of my adult life in various forms of therapy to overcome the "kids need to toughen up" type parenting approach.

It seems like every month or so these articles appear where someone is trying to flog a new book that tells us how their way of parenting is better.  Seems like just another example with extra criticism to grab some headlines.

#39 steppy

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:50 PM

 Melbs2010, on 23 July 2019 - 01:43 PM, said:



Whenever anyone harps on about the good old days of parenting I remind myself that I've spent the majority of my adult life in various forms of therapy to overcome the "kids need to toughen up" type parenting approach.



This is a good point. I have lots of friends who are still doing therapy for the 'toughen up' approach.

However, nearly all my friend's kids are having therapy now for one reason or another and usually anxiety, so I guess they'll probably be having therapy for all their lives instead of just their adult lives.

#40 EmmDasher

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:52 PM

I don’t think anything he says in that article is controversial. If you helicopter to the point of impinging on your child’s physical, social or emotional development then you are toxic imo. It is an unhealthy relationship and failure of age appropriate independence.

The real question is though, how do you fix it? I truly believe it is rooted, a large part, in fear and anxiety. It doesn’t help parents to say, ‘don’t helicopter’ or ‘be more carefree’ or ‘let kids figure it out themselves’. Parents that exhibit extreme behaviour probably think it’s reasonable and justified. It’s like a total failure in perception but what do you do about that?

#41 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:53 PM

 ACT mum, on 23 July 2019 - 12:10 PM, said:

However, this guys introduction to the school annual report is hilarious!
http://www.candlebar...nual-Report.pdf

I love the intro, but to say the school failed four kids but it was the poor parenting is pretty rough.


I don’t know. I don’t want to be a helicopter as much as I am. But honestly, my son can’t just do certain things. He needs intervention and support to do them. Even transitioning out of after school care is challenging because he has such poor situational awareness, so walking home is a challenge.

#42 Melbs2010

Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:27 PM

 steppy, on 23 July 2019 - 01:50 PM, said:


However, nearly all my friend's kids are having therapy now for one reason or another and usually anxiety, so I guess they'll probably be having therapy for all their lives instead of just their adult lives.

Or their parents are sensibly treating their teenage anxiety to prevent them spending the rest of their lives in therapy?  I'd have had anxiety as a teenager too.  But in those days no one did anything about it.  I mean the entire Headspace model is based around the idea that youth intervention might prevent ongoing problems later in life.

#43 steppy

Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:32 PM

Hmmm. Those of them that are older are still seeing therapists though or still have problems with anxiety, so it didn't help that much.

#44 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 23 July 2019 - 02:47 PM

Quote

Sometimes I do feel like I am being ‘lazy’ because I do get my older kids to make their own lunch and to organise their day with little in put by me or DH but then I have a reality check and realise we run our own business and I still have two other kids under the age of five to look after .

I am embracing my 'lazy' with pride.  I work full time, and drive my kids to a multitude of activities, both weeknights and weekends.  

In return - they each cook one dinner per week.  They empty the dishwasher and the bins whenever required, make their own lunches.  And from the age of 12, they are both responsible for doing their own washing.    They are learning to budget and manage their time, negotiate with each other if they want to swap jobs.  DD even pays DS to do her washing on occasion.  (that's embracing her own 'lazy', and being willing to pay the price!)

Yes, it often takes more time to nag and harass them to do it than to just do it myself.  But they are part of the family, and if they want my unlimited uber-service, they need to come to the party too.

There are some 16 year olds attending school, working and bringing up younger siblings.  Many of us moved out of home when we were not much older.  They really can be capable human beings, if given the opportunity.  But not all at once, they do need to learn it as they grow.

#45 Brrrroooce!

Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:19 PM

Wonk wonk wonk. Shut up John.

#46 Mollycoddle

Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:32 PM

 ~LemonMyrtle~, on 23 July 2019 - 01:07 PM, said:

What I have noticed is that lazy, back seat, relaxed, type parenting is shamed these days, but lazy parenting is what kids need. It’s nice to be involved, and cut your kids food, and make their lunch, and organise their lives, and clear their paths for them, people see that as good parenting. But a bit of laziness needs to be in the mix. As in, make them do it themselves. Sit back, let the kids organise heir own food, get themselves dressed, play without supervision. Say No, say “I can’t, do it yourself”. Say “we can’t afford it”. We need less guilt piled on for making kids do things themselves.


Totally agree with your whole post but particularly this.  Parents these days are damned if we do, damned if we don't.  We get judged for letting our kids 'roam the streets' and then again for letting them sit in front of screens 24/7.  I was so busy as a kid occupying myself that I honestly have no memory of what our mother actually used to do back in those days, aside from the ironing on a Sunday watching The Bionic Woman, Thunderbirds and Planet of the Apes while we snuck kitchen utensils out of the house for our cubby at the park.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 23 July 2019 - 03:36 PM.


#47 Mollycoddle

Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:36 PM

 Melbs2010, on 23 July 2019 - 02:27 PM, said:

Or their parents are sensibly treating their teenage anxiety to prevent them spending the rest of their lives in therapy?  I'd have had anxiety as a teenager too.  But in those days no one did anything about it.  I mean the entire Headspace model is based around the idea that youth intervention might prevent ongoing problems later in life.

The other side of this coin is that sometimes taking too much of an interest in it can be pandering and feeding into the issue.  Kids need the opportunity to build resilience.  Flame away.

#48 ERipley

Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:50 PM

.

Edited by ERipley, Yesterday, 07:04 PM.


#49 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:00 PM

 Oriental lily, on 23 July 2019 - 01:25 PM, said:


Sometimes I do feel like I am being ‘lazy’ because I do get my older kids to make their own lunch and to organise their day with little in put by me or DH but then I have a reality check and realise we run our own business and I still have two other kids under the age of five to look after .

I read a really good quote about how the job of parents is to teach their kids not to need them (not meaning emotionally just day to day). I think you are doing great if your kids are independent, as long as they know they can talk to you about the 'big stuff'.  Its what I aim for with my kids.

I try to let my kids do the stuff they can do to gain independence. Like go into a shop to buy the milk for example. Some things we cant do, like I wont let them ride a bike to school at this age cos its too far and too dangerous. That's OK, we work with the things we can.

#50 seayork2002

Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:12 PM

 WannabeMasterchef, on 23 July 2019 - 04:00 PM, said:

I read a really good quote about how the job of parents is to teach their kids not to need them (not meaning emotionally just day to day). I think you are doing great if your kids are independent, as long as they know they can talk to you about the 'big stuff'.  Its what I aim for with my kids.

I try to let my kids do the stuff they can do to gain independence. Like go into a shop to buy the milk for example. Some things we cant do, like I wont let them ride a bike to school at this age cos its too far and too dangerous. That's OK, we work with the things we can.

Yes we are trying to do this, there is a lot more we could probably do with DS but he is getting there

(not related as such but I never forget the grown up discussion the child care worked at my son's child care was having with one of his friends about rent versus mortgages, the kid was 3/4ish it was hilarious)




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