Did you ever see the movie Baby Boom with Diane Keaton – circa 1980’s? It tells the story of a successful business woman who suddenly finds herself inheriting a baby girl and the quandary she finds herself in navigating the boundary between corporate success and raising a child.
I can remember laughing at the scene where she takes the child to a park to play in the sandbox, and meets other parents with children the same age (18 months). There she is reprimanded for not having enrolled her baby in any future elementary and middle school at the tender age of 1.5. She was mocked for the lack of control she had over her child’s future and the lack of thought she’d put in to designing a framework for success for this toddler.
I look back at the response I had at that time and find my former mirth at a fictional tale, has turned to shock and awe at the foretelling of our current generation.
Every step we take, everything we do, is in an effort to give our kids their ‘best shot’. But with what impact? Rates of depression and anxiety have never been as high as they are today. We are sliding backwards. Our kids are statistically “more overwhelmed and stressed” than in times of the great depression. How can this be so? And why?
In our efforts to create a better world for our kids, we are taking away the one thing that gives them a sense of purpose. Control.
Check out what Peter Gray, PhD and author of Freedom to Learn has to say in a recent Psychology Today article describing declining resilience in students and the problem this poses for colleges. Some food for thought…