A new book, by British authors and mothers Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders, discusses “extreme” parents. Parents who are “going to increasingly desperate lengths to give their children a head start over their peers.” The light-hearted book challenges the madness in families. Asking parents to take a good look at themselves and how far they are willing to go to help their children achieve.
Mrs. Sanders comments, “We’ve been observing the phenomenon of extreme parenting since we became mothers ourselves. It seems we are so anxious to get it right, to have the most high-achieving children and to be seen to be doing it all effortlessly, that we have lost our perspective. We’ve resorted to subterfuge and corruption, and have come to view other parents as competitors rather than allies.”
In their book they give actual examples of “extreme” parenting that they have uncovered while researching the topic. These examples include such items as:
- playing foreign radio stations while their child is sleeping to help them learn another language
- practicing for an egg and spoon race
- doing homework for their kids, “even deliberately making mistakes to retain authenticity”
- following in the car from Great Britain as a school coach takes a group of children on a school trip to France
- driving 100 miles in one day taking children from activity to activity
- promising their child a pony if they pass a high achievement test
- pretending to have breastfed
- peeking a friend’s backpack to see what level of reading book they have
- making store bought cupcakes look homemade by distressing the frosting
The authors of the book point out that “extreme” parents go to such great lengths to protect their child and give them a head-start over their peers that they don’t allow them to make decisions and mistakes for themselves.
In regards to this Mrs. Sanders said, “What bothers me is that we are over-protecting our children when they are young and not allowing them to hang out with their peer group, fend for themselves, and get a bit streetwise. Then in their teens, they expect a lot of freedom, which is so much of a contrast to their previous life that it’s almost impossible for them to have formed the judgment they need.”
“Extreme” parents feel that they are doing the best thing for their child, but is it really? How far are you willing to go?