An article in the Washington Post caught my eye last week. It’s titled Americans are obsessed with parenting advice. So why are our kids so miserable? and written by Diana Divecha, a Developmental Psychologist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Divecha claims, “Americans are obsessed with parenting advice. Bloggers, magazines, whole Web sites urge us to do more. Or less. Be more Chinese they implore. Or more French.” She’s referring to recently published books and accompanying media campaigns that highlighted the variety of parenting approaches for raising children: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. Another article, Thank You to My Dolphin (Not Tiger) Mom, describes a more adaptive approach of parenting. The so-called Dolphin Mom uses an authoritarian style of warmth and affection, accompanied by rules, expectations, learning through consequences, and flexibility.
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
This week I read an article in the Health & Wellness section of the Wall Street Journal, titled, Badly Raised Kids? Sweden Has a Word for That. This article discussed a controversial book by Swedish psychiatrist David Eberhard (currently being translated to English) who is concerned that children have become the major decision-makers in many families, such as selecting the dinner menu, choice of TV programs and vacation destinations. He worries that Swedish parents’ hyper-sensitivity and unwillingness to discipline children in the early years may be harmful to their later social-emotional development. According to the Wall Street Journal article, Eberhard is concerned that Sweden’s child-friendly policies (e.g., long parental leave, state-funded infant child care, legal protection from spanking, and strict child welfare laws), may have created the grounds for an unwise transfer of power from parents to young children with dire consequences. Some think these policies may have also created a climate in which children do not learn empathy and respect for other people’s wishes. Apparently, the reactions to his book in Sweden have been 50% for versus 50% against.