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A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting Hardcover – April 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; First Edition edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767924037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767924030
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marano, editor-at-large at Psychology Today and author (Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me? A Guide to Raising Socially Confident Kids), takes a penetrating look at the growing trend of invasive parenting. Marano likens many parents to hovering helicopters or snowplows trying to remove all obstacles. The unfortunate result is that children become increasingly fragile, unable to make decisions or cope with failure. Interspersing her text with interviews from experts and cutting-edge research, Marano follows the trail from heavily programmed preschoolers and overprotected grade school kids to stressed out, overachieving high school students and dependent college kids caught in a rising campus mental health crisis (thanks to cellphones, the new umbilical cord, they carry their parents in their jeans pockets). Rather than helping children to find success and happiness, the author argues, this over-involvement has exploded into a generation of infantilized wimps who can't handle everyday life. Instead, she advises, help your kids fail—more is learned from mistakes than from success, including critical thinking skills. The book is chock-full of fascinating information, some of it controversial, such as a suspected link between a diagnosis of ADHD and insufficient free play in the early years. Marano's dire warning to back off will hit a raw nerve with many parents, but her message may come not a moment too soon for their kids. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Most of us agree that some parents are overbearing and that their children may be both fragile and burdened as a result. Ms. Marano, you had us at 'wimps.'" —The Wall Street Journal

"A scathing commentary on contemporary parenting." —The Boston Globe


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The sensationalism and suspect evidence were too much for me.
Shane Watts
Like her first book "Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me" this book contains many emphatic statements listed as fact which have little to no research backing them.
Jeff Boyd
If you are looking for a book that refers to why children should not be helicoptered over, try "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy.
syellowtails

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Shane Watts on July 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Invasive parenting is a thought provoking topic that, as a parent, I wanted to explore. I willingly bought into Marano's thesis that "hothouse" parenting is prevalent and problematic. But recurring problems plagued Marano's arguments throughout the book and turned this believer into a skeptic.

Let me first say that this book makes a lot of sensational claims that, to be credible, must be backed-up with either statistics or expert opinion. And that's where Marano's treatise begins to struggle.

Ms. Marano saturates most of her chapters with hyperbole dressed as fact. By chapter 8, she's making claims that seem fantastic beyond belief. After a few dozen lines like, "By all accounts, psychological distress is rampant on college campuses," you start wondering if it's really as bad as she claims or if Marano is exaggerating because she believes we won't respond to her fire unless it's a 4-alarmer. She throws out what seem to be big numbers, but seldom contrasts them with numbers from 20, 30 or 40 years ago, so it's hard to assess trends (though Marano assures us that things are much worse today than ever before).

So to settle the question, you have to appeal to her evidence, which is too often thin and/or suspect. Marano has an affinity for the anecdotal: "I have talked to counselors and directors of campus counseling centers across the country. From every single one I heard horror stories of sexual and psychological abuse." Not that I don't believe Ms. Marano, but a serious claim like that needs a foundation--names, numbers, specific examples--and she often provides none.

To be sure, the book has a decent sized bibliography, but it's chuck-full of a small handful of fellow psychologists that she cites over and over.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Murray on August 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The major theme that wealthier children are weakened by overprotection is compelling, but the idea is belabored to full out the 264 pages. That said, there are more hits than misses. Higher income parents would be well served by reading and taking seriously the idea that too much sheltering of children makes them fragile and unable to face adult life. Ms Marano has very solid critiques of perfectionism and the parental quest for disability status for their children. I have taught public schools and have seen how much damage has been done by the disability industry: damage to children, schools and society. There are fine discussions of real versus imagined risk in chapter 4, on the damage done by cell phones in chapter 9 and on the need for stress in chapter 10. On the miss side, chapter 5 goes overboard on the benefit of unsupervised play, chapter 8 sounds strident alarms about college life as if there weren't problems in the 60s when I was there, and the school described in chapter 12 would only convince people who have never taught school.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Edward F. Spencer on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a university student affairs administrator for 38 years, I have observed generational changes over the years and the change, over about the past decade, in the role and involvement of parents. In "A Nation of Wimps," Hara Marano has produced an extraordinary analysis of the phenomenon of the invasive parent and how that parent has marched through the K-12 halls, over the walls of college ivy, and on into the job interview and orientation rooms. This book is filled with remarkable insight, skillful analysis, illustrative quotes, and poignant examples. Marano has convincingly argued a case for the "benefits of the skinned knee" and the pitfalls of the helicopter, stealth bomber, and snowplow parent. This book is must reading for all who care about the positive development and growth of children and the generations to come.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Boyd on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like her first book "Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me" this book contains many emphatic statements listed as fact which have little to no research backing them. While the premise is interesting and Ms. Marano may in fact have significant points to make they are lost in the face of her overwhelming use of anecdotes over science.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By L. H. on September 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Badly overwritten, seems like an article padded out to book length. The examples the author uses are all based on the coasts and it doesn't address people and children in the midwest at all. There is a lot of babble about getting into Harvard or other Ivy League schools, when the average person I know can't afford schools like that for their children. I think she had a great premise, but not nearly enough for the book. I'm firmly in the lower middle class, and I couldn't relate to much of what she said about parenting at all.
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Munich Girl on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was initially drawn to this book based on the blurb on the cover. While I agree with the author that there are an increasing number of children in the US similiar to those she profiles in her book, the author sums up the bulk of her research and general thoughts on this topic in the first chapter. The remaining chapters are a move fleshed out version of chapter one. Several times I felt that the sentences I was reading were verbatim the ones set out in the first chapter! I was looking for a bit more depth.
The author concludes with a chapter on what parents can and should do to prevent raising their children in this manner. The recommendations are not anything that I (or most readers) would not have guessed before picking up the book. If you are interested in this book, read the first and last chapters and you won't have missed anything from the chapters in between.
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