PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dave and Melody McCune have four kids, the oldest is 6-years-old and the baby is just a few months. So, you can imagine how nuts it can get around their house.
“I have a master calendar that I keep all the kids events, appointments, all of our appointments,” says Melody. “Everything is on that master calendar.”
Jean Rowcliffe supports the so-called “slow parenting movement,” giving kids free range and their parents, too. The goal – don’t micro-manage your kids because unstructured play should be a natural part of childhood when kids can explore at their own pace.
“Children are being rushed through childhood and it’s very troubling,” Rowcliffe said.
Psychotherapist Julie Froggas says slow parenting is a perfect tonic in a time that fast-paced hyper-parenting robs children of the ability to problem solve, think for themselves and develop social skills.
“That’s another effect of always being on the go, is not relating to your child, and if you aren’t relating to your child, your child is not going to learn how to relate to others,” says Froggas.
Carl Honore’s book is “Under Pressure,” the new movement inspiring us to slow down, trust our instincts and enjoy the ride.
“The slow philosophy that comes from the slow movement is about doing things at the right speed; understanding that there are moments that are meant to be fast and under a bit of pressure, but there are also moments to be off the clock,” said Honore.
Some parents over-schedule their kids in an effort to make them better adults. What gets lost is the time for kids to just be kids.
“It’s in those unstructured moments of silence, of day-dreaming, of boredom even, that kids learn to invent, when they learn to look into themselves and work out who they are rather than what we want them to be,” Honore added.
Children of helicopter parents grew into adults who never learned independence, causing many to rebel; or in some cases, develop problems with depression and anxiety.
“Slow parenting, in essence, is about bringing this balance back into the home so that we move away from the helicopter model where parenting has become a cross between a competitive sport and product development,” Honore said.
The key is to listen to your children to find out if they think they are under too much pressure.
“My husband and I look back when we were kids,” says Melody. “You didn’t have the DVD players in the car. You looked out the window and played how many red cars do you see today, how many farm animals do you see, things like that.”
But only if you slow down and take the time to see it.