The XX Factor

Free-Range Parenting?

KJ , I too was thrilled to read that Time had declared an end to overparenting , because if Time just noticed, then the trend must be already well underway. But the story proved the opposite, with many earnest and unintentionally hilarious examples of supposedly mellow parents. If you truly wanted to stop overparenting you would just cancel the Suzuki lessons, call off the therapist, stop spying on the playground, and watch Sponge Bob , right? But this new class of parents praised by Time are joining a movement- slow parenting, simplicity parenting, free-range parenting, whatever you want to call it. And they are taking “slow family living classes” to learn how to back off. Better yet, they are backed by studies that prove that if you let kids play, they learn stuff, so yes, it’s OK to pack up the flash cards and just (deep breath here) play.

So in short, they are substituting one parenting orthodoxy for another, which is likely to create an equally insufferable household. No, honey, you can not play football now because we are a slow family, remember? No organized sports, no video games, and no music lessons of any kind. Got that?

This reminds me powerfully of the first time I took a yoga class. I could not grasp why these people had to go through all these machinations and movement just to relax, when they could have just sat on the couch and, you know, relaxed, the regular way.