Wednesday, April 8, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows - Chapter 3

Hey Ladies! I think by now we have all figured out that we want a change right? Even if we aren't the completely out of control extreme women caught up in Motherhood Mania, I think that it is safe to say that we probably aren't exactly where we would like to be either, right? I hope that through what we have learned so far, we have all seen that there is a great calling in this country to just STOP!! I just want to slow down, get out of the fast lane, and really begin to enjoy my family and nourish them the way that I know I am called to and deep down want to. Today we will look at more startling statistics and see just how our kids are feeling, how this "hyperparenting" has such an impact on our lives by increasing our stress levels, as well as see how this is taking the place of teaching responsibility and character. And finally, we will see what happens to the products of hyperparenting when they go off to college. Dr. Borba is no spring chicken and as you will see, she knows her stuff when it comes to being a Real Mom!! Lets get started by seeing some numbers that will just shock you:
  • 13% of kids between 9 and 17 experience anxiety disorders.
  • In one survey, 43% of 13-14 year olds say they feel stressed every day, by 15 it jumps to 59%.
  • Of the parents responding in one survey, 46% said that their children's' biggest emotional issues were coping with stress and dealing with depression.
  • One third of adolescents say they "worry a lot"...and nearly half say that they have trouble sleeping due to stress.
  • In the same poll, 83% of kids say they are stressed about homework and pressure to excel; of those kids, 57% say their relationships with their parents is what's causing them stress.
  • The suicide rate among American teens ages 15 to 19 has increased by 30% since 1970. In fact, suicide rates for children and teens tripled from 1962 to 1995.
  • In a recent national survey, college students reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult for them to function over the past academic year. College counselors tell us that there are more students than ever before on their campuses who are suffering from not only depression but sleep disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, impulsive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. (p. 34)

What do the Kids Say?

If that wasn't good enough for you, let's look at what our kids saying. Is everything that we are doing for them paying off? Are we going to see the fruits of our tireless labor trying to make sure they have all they need to be happy, and confident? I don't think so.

  • 60% of kids ages 12-14 want to spend more time with their parents.
  • Kids do want time with us, more time, but they are picky about the kind of time - not just this "quality time" stuff. You get a higher grade from them in your mothering if the time you spend together is not "rushed, but focused and rich in shared activities."
  • More than 2 in 5 kids feel like their time with us is rushed.
  • A survey of 84,000 kids in grades 6-12 told researchers they do appreciate all that we do. They do enjoy spending time with us. But what they really would like is for the time that they spend to be more relaxed time. (p. 35-36)
So now we are faced with the tough question. Is what we are doing in our house working? The research says that kids just want to spend time with their parents, REAL time, not rushed, not fake time, REAL time with their families. And according to Dr. Borba, this research is nothing new. She says that the evidence has continued to warn parents over the last decade that we must slow down, but instead parents have just picked up the pace even more. She says the only thing parents have cut out of their kids busy schedules is any unstructured time that they may have once had. She also shows us how things have gotten worse and more busy over the past 2 decades:
  • Home increased almost 50 percent.
  • Unstructured activities declined by 50%.
  • Family dinners decreased by 33%.
  • Family vacations decreased by 28%.
  • Children's free time decreased by 12 hours per week.
  • Playtime decreased by three hours per week.
  • Many school systems have abolished recess. (p. 37)

The Impact of Stress

All of these statistics are just shocking to me, as I am sure they are to you too. And what affect is this having on the kids is what I want to know! Well, for starters, Dr. Borba tells us 1 in 3 American children currently suffers from stress-related symptoms, such as headaches, stomaches, and between 8 and 10 percent of American children are seriously troubled by anxiety. Pediatricians tell us that stress symptoms are now showing up in kids as young as 3 years of age. Childhood depression and suicide rates continue to escalate: more teenagers and young adults now die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined. (p.36)

WOW!!! That is startling numbers. Absolutely STARTLING!!! Did you ever think that the day would come when more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined??? UNBELIEVABLE!!

The Birth of Hyperparenting

And so, the new modern day momma has emerged...Welcome Hyperparents!! Teachers know them, sports coaches know them, dance teachers know them, and certainly the t-ball umpires know them. To teachers, they are the parents who are always available. Having been given the name "helicopter parents" these would be those moms who NEVER GO AWAY! They always seem to just be hovering around. Teachers will readily admit that they love their students but the parents drive them nuts!! Who are these moms, well I will tell you. Please take no offense but it is those of us who push too hard, defend the bully, pay the fine for the missing library book, and bring the forgotten homework, just to name a few. Make no mistake, her child will be on the honor roll and will have perfect attendance, but everything else takes a back seat. And because of their absolute obsessiveness to have that perfect all around child, of course you will find these parents at the ball fields. "My child didn't get enough play time...That was an unfair call." Can't you just hear them. You know who they are, don't you?? Because of this crazed hyperparenting, Dr. Borba tells us, 163 cities have required parents to sign a pledge of proper conduct in order to be allowed to attend their kids' games. Some have asked parents to watch a 30 minute video on sportsmanship, and others have gone so far as to have a silence day, when any parent who even opens their mouth at the game is ejected. (p.39)

Do you know any of these parents?? There is always one in the class or on the ball field isn't there? And guess what? Much to the shock from all of their failed efforts, 70% of children who participate in sports drop out by age 13. Why?? Because "its just not fun."

What About Responsibility and Character

So where in all of this madness does responsibility and character fit in? How on earth do we find time to teach our kids to grow up to be productive citizens?? And what about a spiritual upbringing, one that shows our children that we love our Lord God and die to ourselves every day to follow Him? Well, its no surprise all of that gets thrown to the way side as more and more parents are doing more and more to lighten little Tommy's workload, because little Tommy deserves it you know. Doing science projects, finding those misplaced library books, typing the papers, and the list goes on and on. And don't worry, if by some chance its not good enough...CONFERENCE TIME!!

Everybody gets a trophy these days, everybody is a winner, everybody gets an award, everybody gets a plaque, and everybody gets a ribbon. What are we teaching our kids??? Cutting them a little slack, helping them carry that heavy load, building their self-esteem. Is that really what all of this is doing? I beg to argue that what it is doing is telling kids today that they are better than everyone else and to never let anyone tell them otherwise.

Dr. Borba says, After all, the Sacrificial Mom will do anything to make sure that the kids have whatever it takes to get ahead in life. Their lives revolve around these children, who are given everything they could possibly ever want or need. Harvard psychologist Dan Kindlon, who wrote both Raising Cain and Too Much of a Good Thing, contends that all this parental indulgence is actually smothering the development of our children's character and sense of responsibility.(p. 41)

The body, explains Kindlon, cannot learn to adapt to stress unless it experiences it. Indulged children are often less able to cope with stress because their parents have created an atmosphere where their whims are indulged, where they have always assumed...that they're entitled and that life should be a bed of roses. (p. 41)


What Happens When Our Kids Get to College?

Unfortunately, the helicopter doesn't land just because Johnny has gone off to college. No, far from it. The helicopter just hovers over the university now, making sure that everything is perfect there just as it has been in every other aspect of his life. From which school the grad chooses, to writing the admissions essay, to asking all of the questions at the interview, to filling out the forms, the parents are still hovering!!

Would you believe that Dr. Borba states that some universities are having to hire staff just to deal with the parents?? So what does this tell us?? To me it gives a terrible message to our 20 year old children. MOMMY DOESN'T THINK YOU CAN DO THIS ON YOUR OWN.

Dr. Borba agrees and adds, it may not be the message we want our kids to hear, but chances are it will be their interpretation. And its the same exact message we've been sending with all our overinvolved ways all along: "Your homework isn't quite right, let me help." "Your science project could use more data, I'll get it." "This letter won't make the admissions cut, I'll rewrite it." (p.43)


That is scary!! And what is worse is that the parents will be thinking, "What on earth do these kids have to be stressed out about...they've got it all!!"

Let's get REAL yall, while we still have time. This is more serious than we first thought. We must save our kids from this broken world and we are about to learn how. Chapter 4 tomorrow Can Our Kids Make It On Their Own, and then on Friday we will finally learn the 12 Simple Secrets and begin our change!

Im so excited that you are joining me on this very eye opening journey. I consider myself to be extremely sheltered, so most of these things are so foreign to me. But, I can see how the world is turning into utter chaos and at the center of it is a bunch of mommas crying for help!

Its time to get REAL!!

Please remember if you know someone who may benefit from this, send her our way!

1 comment:

  1. Just stop, get of the fast lane, slow down...what music to my ears!!!! That is my prayer EVERYDAY. It is so hard to balance our ideas with reality. We want our kids to be good at something - gymnastics, swimming, basketball, etc., but to be a part of a team these days is brutal!!! It is so time consuming. The world makes it almost impossbile for sports not to consume your life. We want out kids to exercise and play ball, but for months out of the year, that is all there is time to do. ?? Just some thoughts I've been dealing with, not so much for me persoanlly, but several of my friends have kids that play sports and it is so hard on their family. How do we know what to do??? There are so many positive things about being on a team. I just wish is wasn't so hard on the family!!!!

    Fabulous study!!! I can't wait for it each day. You are doing a great job.


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