Slow parenting is a type of parenting that allows children to grow up at their own pace. It’s a parenting style that allows children to explore and appreciate activities that genuinely interests them. This strategy came to be a response to the more modern parenting type we all know and love called concerted cultivation. Instead of cosseting our kids and forcing them to attend and like the things we want, we should give them the freedom to choose.
As competitive parents, we sometimes tend to focus on our kid’s successes and their fame. Even before they were born, we’ve already made plans for them. From deciding what school they’ll be attending to, what activities they should get involved in and what classes they should take in the summer. I’ve even encountered parents forcing their kids to start school at an early age. While it isn’t bad to plan for the future, we also have to consider that they’re still kids. And At the end of the day, all they want to do is be kids and have fun.
Children should grow-up at their own pace, on their own beat and tempo. We shouldn’t pressure them with things like attending piano lessons, participating in school clubs, and joining school contests. We should be proud of ALL their achievements, even if it means you not getting all the things you expected and hoped for.
In the book Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From the Culture of Hyper-parenting, Carl Honoré talks about ‘hyper-parents’. These type of parents forces their kids towards things that they choose without really considering if it’s suitable. Honoré consistently points out that playing is integral to a child’s development. Removing or interfering with their play-time to squeeze in an activity which adults think that are more important could pose threats to their true development.
What Kind of Parent Should I Be?
Tom Hodgkinson, the author of the best-selling book The Idle Parents talks about how to treat kids that are spoiled, selfish, stressed and unhappy. Parents should stop policing their kids. They should take a big step back and just let their kids be. The book also talks about how kids are able to take care of themselves if we just let them. Parents would be much happier and be able to take better care of themselves if they give their kids freedom. Parents are encouraged to go with the flow and bring the fun back into parenting. But, what do we get in return for taking the back seat?
1. We listen to our kids better – Kids are inquisitive by nature. Most parents are guilty of half-listening when our kids ask us a question. When we slow down and take time to truly listen and understand our kids, we discover things that truly interest them. We realize that they are their own person and we should not worry about them all the time.
2. Our kids cope better – Children who have been raised through slow parenting tend to cope better with life’s unpredictability. When we avoid intervening in their growth we let them discover things on their own and they learn from their failures. But, when we choose things for them and try our best to protect them from everything, even crucial life lessons we make them soft and vulnerable to depression.
3. We become less stressed – Parenting is stressful enough. Let’s not make it any harder. Stop raising over competitive kids and start raising competent kids. Stop controlling everything in their life and start letting go. Avoid overthinking, this will lead to a healthier relationship with your child. Slow parenting is about being in the moment with your kid, being present. Stop rushing them to grow-up, we only have so much time to kiss, hug and cuddle them.
Parents often become hyper-parents because they are worried about what the other parents will say about them. You have to stop thinking about them because it doesn’t matter. Give your kids the freedom to choose what they want. It’s your role to keep them in check and help them become the best version of themselves. But, remember that we are their parents – we support, we don’t command.