12.14.2008

Me? An Extreme Parent?



The question is who isn't?

A recent review of the book "A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting" in the New Yorker got me thinking about my ways of parenting. Even at six months, I prefer that people rub on EO Hand Sanitizer before holding Kai. I'm somewhat obsessed with feeding him only organic baby food. You won't find Gerber at my house. Books, talk radio, and world and classical music are part of his daily routine. We also try to take many little out of town trips to expose him to the world. Secretly I hope that Kai grows up tp be a well traveled health nut who loves books and music from around the world.

The Bay Area is a hub of socially conscious and intellectual families who can be obsessed with Baby Einstein and Ergo Carriers. Even at the infant stage, people already become competitive with their babies. Breast-Fed vs. Formula fed, Bugaboo vs. Graco, Nanny vs. Childcare and it goes on and on. Do any of these factors produce a smarter child? Maybe.

Parenting is complex. Experts may claim that giving your child too much attention and excess stimulation in an overly sanitized environment has negative effects. Who really knows right? Do these experts have their own kids? What about tough love that may involve discipline and strict regiments with few hugs and kisses? Is that better for a child? Parents are often criticized for keeping their kid too busy with swim lessons, language tutors, and weekend dance recitals.

At that level, it seems normal to fill up your child's calendar to give them less time to get into the not so great stuff. But then it seems that some families take parenting to the extreme level. Did you know many elite parents will pay thousands to hire a professional who will write admission essays? Or send their teenage kid to therapy at the sign of an emotional breakdown? Even parents who don't have money will crack the whip so their child can become the world's best pianist. Look at Lang Lang. He has told stories of a hovering father who still accompanies him to every show.

Like everything, there are always people who will take it too far. I just need to keep all of this mind as I raise Kai. Moderation and balance are key.

Read a babble post on Mama's Boys

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