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The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap Paperback – April 7, 2001
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If you've just sat down after a day that included taking your very intelligent child to a Kumon math tutoring session, shuttling another to soccer practice and piano lessons, supervising the homework of both to make sure it's perfect, and making a midnight trip to the grocery store to pick up the organic grapes for tomorrow's nutritionally balanced lunches, then Hyper-Parenting: Are You Hurting Your Child by Trying Too Hard? is for you. According to authors Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., and Nicole Wise, there's a lot of this kind of hyper-parenting going on out there. This parenting style can be loosely defined as one that attempts to control everything in a child's environment with the aim of achieving a perfect outcome. It's not realistic or healthy, say the authors. Chapter by chapter, examining everything from parents' reliance on "expert" opinions to the huge impact of media messages on parent behavior, Rosenfeld and Wise make a compelling argument for their premise. They encourage parents to turn the lens inward and ask themselves what messages they are sending--not with their words, but with their behavior. Hyper-Parenting is a book for parents at every stage in the parenting game. It's never too late, or too early, to try to tune out some of the noisy clamor around us and thoughtfully reflect on our values and what we really want for our children. --Virginia Smyth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
In our society, where parents feel pressured to enroll children in preschool while they are still in utero, this book is a refreshing splash of cool water. In contrast to "winning above all else," Rosenfeld, a child psychiatrist, advocates "just playing" and just spending time with one's children rather than living the overbooked family life of a stereotypical soccer mom. He notes that family schedules are at a breaking point and that parents face a great deal of guilt and anxiety because they cannot give their children everything. He promotes the need for more balance and suggests that parents take to heart Dr. Spock's advice for parents to trust themselves. He further recommends abandoning the notion that parents' lives revolve solely around their children and revisits the concept of children being a part of the daily discourse of a family, where they learn a great deal more about living by having the opportunity to observe adults in an adult world. A wake-up call to parents everywhere; recommended without reservation for public libraries.
-Lisa Powell Williams, Moline P.L., IL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
One big problem is that what "hyper-parenting" means precisely is never truly established. One chapter criticizes the perfectly natural tendency to cherish a child in the womb. Another chapter discusses stressed children being pressured to ???excel??? in status-laden endeavors. Are both these totally different situations "hyper-parenting?" In one spot we are rightfully reminded that "the important and meaningful connections [with our kids]defy scheduling." But in another place, we are apparently encouraged to schedule yet more time away from the kids "for the things we want to do." Why, so we can be sure to miss those important and meaningful connections? Can the reader be blamed for feeling a little confused?
The authors seem to assume that families are frazzled mostly because parents just take too much time doing things for the kids. Potential stress-builders, according to the book, include not only individualistic activities like music lessons and sports, but also family-building activities like nightly dinner at home. Unstructured family time is praised, but the book's assumption seems to be that this time will be suddenly abundant if we just quit karate. The possibility that Mom and Dad each take 50+ hours a week to work, and that this might be a big contributing factor, basically goes unaddressed. Such a one-sided view of the busyness problems suffered many families is not likely to be very helpful in the real world.
The book is plagued in several spots by poor philosophy. The authors talk sincerely of ethics, but then take an entire chapter decrying excessive "self-sacrifice" and "martyrdom". But the problems the book describes are based mostly on status seeking or an inadequate understanding of family life. The differences between these poor choices and authentic self-giving are not considered. The last chapter treats us to a relativistic essay about how we each need to figure out the fundamental questions of life based on "feelings." So objective reality has nothing to do with the fundamental questions of life? Was this shallow pop philosophy really necessary?
Fundamentally, this book doesn't succeed as well as it could because it combines too many topics under one umbrella without doing a sufficient job of defining terms, making distinctions and just thinking things through. What could have been a fine book ends up inconsistent and somewhat rambling. It needs to be re-written.