Monday, January 11, 2010

Worried All The Time

Worried All The Time: Overparenting in an Age of Anxiety and How to Stop It by David Anderegg Ph.D.

Borrowed from my local public library.

*** "Useful."

Every now and then I like to read something about parenting. I like to hear about the current wisdom, get new ideas, and think about how and why I do things, so I can do them better. Let's face it, all of us that are parents want to do a good job. We want our children to grow up happy and healthy. We want them to be the best people they can be, the best version of themselves, grow into everything they can be. And we want to make sure that what we, as parents, do helps rather than hinders them on their paths. Sometimes we just want to not screw them up too much!

This book is about the fact that modern parents worry a whole lot more about their children, and their parenting, than previous generations ever did. We seem to feel overwhelmed by all the options, all the advice, and feel anxious as a result. The aim of this book is to help parents to understand where their worries come from, decide if they are rational or not, and stop worrying so much!

What I found most interesting about this book was its explanation of where a lot of our worries as parents come from. Often we project our own feelings onto our kids. If we feel stressed, rushed and overworked, we worry that our kids are overscheduled and don't have enough down time. Maybe it is really us that needs the down time! Also, often we remember our own feelings as a child, and act according to those feelings, rather than our children's. For instance, if we experienced a lot of loneliness as a child, we are anxious to make sure that our children have lots of friends and never feel lonely. If our children seem to be having difficulties with friendships, or seem to play alone a lot, we rush to assume that they are terribly unhappy (like we were), rather than find out what they really think or feel.

The other thing I found interesting, was the notion that as kids get older, they need a certain amount of "benign neglect". In other words, they don't need us to hover over their every move, thought and feeling. Being watched all the time will cause children to become very self-conscious, and very good at censoring themselves in front of their children. Also, children need to know that their parents have another hobby other than them!

Definitely an interesting read.

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