Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting
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"Why do grown-ups have to take over everything?" This innocent question from acclaimed journalist and international bestselling author Carl Honoré’s son sparked a two-year investigation into how our culture of speed, efficiency, and success at all costs is damaging both parents and children. When the impulse to give children the best of everything runs rampant, parents, schools, communities, and corporations unwittingly combine forces to create over-scheduled, over-stimulated, and overindulged kids. The mere mention of potty-training, ballet classes, preschool, ADD, or overeating is enough to spark a heated debate about the right way to raise our children. The problem is that despite the best intentions of all involved, the pressure to manage every detail of our children’s lives from in utero through college is overwhelming.
Delivering much more than a wake-up call, international bestselling author Carl Honoré interviews experts in Europe, North America, and the Far East, talks to families around the world and sifts through the latest scientific research. Not only do we see the real dangers of micromanaging children, but Honoré also shows us an emerging new movement inspiring many to slow down and find the natural balance between too little and too much. Blending the finest reportage, intellectual inquiry, and extraordinary true stories, Under Pressure is the first book to challenge the status quo by mapping out an alternative to the culture of hyperparenting that is presently pushing children and their parents to the brink.
Thursday and skip soccer practice…. That gives us from 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday the 16th to play.” Unlike other towns, though, Ridgewood has taken a stand against overstuffed schedules. What started with a few moms grumbling over coffee at the kitchen table has blossomed into a mini-movement. In 2002, Ridgewood pioneered an annual event called Ready, Set, Relax! The idea is that one day a year this alpha town takes a breather: teachers assign no homework, extracurricular activities
do well at school, enjoy good mental health, and eat nutritious food; they are also less likely to engage in underage sex or use drugs and alcohol. A Harvard study concluded that family meals promote language development even more than does family story reading. Another survey found that the only common denominator among National Merit Scholars in the United States, regardless of race or social class, was having a regular family dinner. Of course, we’re talking here about meals where both parents
under fourteen influence up to $700 billion of spending every year, including two-thirds of all car purchases. No wonder children’s TV channels like Disney-ABC and Nickelodeon carry commercials for minivans and Caribbean holiday resorts, or that Hummer and other automakers offer branded coloring pages and “advergames” on their Web sites. Family groups across the industrial world warn that children as young as ten now qualify as shopaholics. Why have we let this happen? It’s pretty clear that
strewn with poisonous fungi as well as tasty-looking yew berries and foxglove flowers that if eaten can cause vomiting, dizziness, and fluctuations in a child’s heart rate. Stroking chickens, lambs, and other livestock means exposure to God knows how many germs. Oh, and let’s not forget those open campfires. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, those perils, the Secret Garden is winning converts. Its founder is Cathy Bache, a brisk middle-aged woman with a penchant for colorful knitwear. Living
the Middle Ages, Christians in Europe fretted that Jews would murder their children and use their blood to make matzo bread for Passover. In the modern era, however, worries about the physical welfare of children have exploded, fueled by a growing belief that the young are inherently fragile and the world increasingly dangerous. In the early twentieth century, officialdom began warning that the home was a minefield of germs, electric sockets, hot stoves, and water to drown in. As the car came to