The Detached Parenting Movement (trademark pending) was spontaneously founded over a decade ago in St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital at the time of birth of my first child. And my belief in it has grown ever since. At the time of its inception I did not realize I was embarking on a life-long movement, but as I raised my child with a practical, common sense approach that seemed a fairly reasonable way of going about things, I discovered I was an anomaly.
Born out of the belief that parenting is not, nor ever should be, a competitive sport, the Detached Parenting Movement (DPM) sought to promote a more sane, sustainable and healthier parenting alternative – for rational people.
There is no right way for parenting though, as it all depends on the individual. Some parents might find it easier if they get a nanny or an au pair to help them. A lot more people are getting au pairs, particularly as it is now so easy for a young person to apply for the role through sites like Cultural Care Au Pair. However, even though there are more people who are going for this role, you don’t always need someone who can help you when it comes to raising your child. So if you would rather do it alone then that’s fine.Detached Parenting: The more sane, sustainable and healthier parenting alternative - for rational people. Click To Tweet
But mine was a lonely little movement. Coming into practice just as the helicopter parenting model soared to new heights and swept the nation to even greater levels of hysteria, DPM was largely overlooked. Still, the movement persevered, its dedicated membership (me) determined to keep the cause alive.
Armed with neither a PhD nor any degrees in child psychology, I began the movement with something even more powerful: A strong conviction. Not to mention an innate inability to hover.
Following in the footsteps of the Mother of all common sense mothering, founder of Free Range Kids and our lord and savior, Lenore Skenazy, DPM sought to build on Skenazy’s notion, the membership convinced parents could do more (or less) depending on how you looked at it.
While Skenazy sought to liberate kids from their sentences of eternal house arrest, suggesting they cast aside their ubiquitous, isolating, lobotomizing electronic devices in favor of actual interactions with other humans in real world settings also known as play, DPM called for more inaction to be taken on the part of the parents. In short, parents need to be more uninvolved.
DPM acknowledges Skenazy’s concept of free ranging kids may, at first, be scary. How in God’s name can parents possibly allow their children outside? In broad daylight? To play? Allowing children to roam free in the open green pastures of their manicured suburban subdivisions or neighborhood city sidewalks smacks of sheer lunacy. Playing in the yard of the home to which the parents moved upon having children so the children would have yard in which to play was much too dangerous. Behind every trimmed tree and spirally sculpted shrub, predators lurked, waiting for the instant a parent/neighbor/babysitter cast his or her gaze momentarily aside. Then the monster would swoop in and snatch the kids right from under the guardian’s nose.The concept of free ranging kids may, at first, be scary. How in God’s name can parents possibly allow their children outside? In broad daylight? To play? Click To Tweet
Children must be kept safe – inside. Imagination, creativity and independent thought will just have to be sacrificed for the child’s own good.
At DPM we (I) understand these concerns, but we (I) don’t see Helicopter Parenting as the answer. Using historical evidence of demonstrated effectiveness established over millennia of child rearing as our guide, Detached Parenting believes in the benefits of the absent parent. DPM acts as a refreshing counterbalance to the over-protective, over-parenting, over-wrought, overwhelmed and over-the-top Helicopter Parenting model. Detached Parenting, simply put, understands the parenting wheel has already been invented. No need to reinvent.
Recent scientific studies conducted by me back up these historical findings and go even further. They posit Detached Parenting is the absolute best way to parent. With my own children as blind subjects, the theory has been tested, and we now have living proof it works. By following the Detached Parenting model and allowing kids to freely explore, problem-solve, negotiate, judge, reason, establish rules and compromise without parental intervention we can produce strong, independent, imaginative, creative, self-sufficient, well-adjusted, capable, thinking people.
Gone (soon we/I hope) are the days of the finely-tuned playdate arranged by parents and orchestrated with parent-planned activities to ensure every moment of the fun “play” time with peers is occupied. Gone (soon we/I hope) are the hovering parents to intervene the moment children tire of the inflatable bouncy house rented precisely for the occasion or grow bored of creating decoupage trinket boxes of pressed flowers the host-mother painstakingly prepared for weeks in advance. Gone (soon we/I hope) are the hours spent by parents at little league practices/games followed by soccer practices/games followed by basketball practices/games followed by football practices/games follow by piano lessons/performances followed by dance class/recitals followed by gymnastics followed by voice lessons followed by acting classes, all to keep little Johnny and Jane busy because they don’t know what to do with themselves on their own.
The evidence is clear, my friends. We need to detach. We need to allow our children to develop a brain. We need to let them learn to play again. Because play is how kids learn.
Join me in this fight won’t you? Together we can save the children.
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