The Slow Parent

It’s 4pm on a sunny Tuesday.  My 19-month-old has just mastered climbing the steps to the slide. But no one’s here to watch my genius in action. The park’s deserted. Where are all the kids?

Apparently they’re at yoga, football practice, ballet, Italian lessons or surfing the internet. And that’s just the pre-schoolers. They have structure and schedules. They have committed parents. They’re going to grow up to be a success!

I didn’t shell out for gymbaroo. I left it too late to enrol him in swimming lessons. So far he’s unilingual. Is my baby going to get left behind?

Of course, I went to my old friend Google for affirmation and found Carl Honoré, author and champion of the Slow Parenting movement. According to Honoré, “hyper-parents” who have their foot on the accelerated learning pedal could be creating stressed-out kids who have so much adult-dictated routine that they never learn to stand on their own two feet.

As usual, it’s all about balance, but this time it’s balance that seems achievable. I’m going to remain calm. To talk and read to my boy and give him the time and space to think. It’ll be hard, but I’ll let him take a few risks. Perhaps even allow him to fail occasionally. I’m going to try and treat him as a person rather than a project. The fact is he’s the one who’s happy, healthy and hang-up free. By slowing my parenting down, I might just learn something from my little genius.

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