Spending too much time and money (often amounts you don’t have) on your kids, now has an official name: intensive parenting.
It’s the latest parenting nomenclature in a world already drowning in labels. Hello helicopter/attachment/tiger parents!
Introducing the intensive parent
How helpful these terms are to the parental psyche – specifically the increase in stress – is controversial, (and probably a post for another time) but according to researchers at Cornell University, 75 percent of us are intensive parents, and that’s not skewed by gender or class.
Defining behaviours of the intensive parent include:
- arranging lots of extracurricular activities
- lots of time playing with your kids at home
- being genuinely interested in their thoughts and feelings
Now if you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Hey! What’s so abnormal about wanting to spend time connecting with my kids?’ I hear you.
That’s exactly what I thought.
Read more on parenting style:
- ‘She’s better at it’ and other common parenting myths
- Being ‘bad’ parents was the best thing for our marriage
- Mum’s plea for parents to stick together
Put your money where your mouth is
And the point is, there’s nothing new or inherently bad about it at all.
The distinction, according to the research, is the pressure on ‘intensive’ parents to provide this time and the money for extracurricular activities – regardless of their ability to realistically do so.
In other words, intensive parenting requires lots of money and lots of time – two things many parents don’t always have ready access to.
And that means today’s intensive parent can be left feeling bad about themselves and their parenting abilities, if they’re not able to spend as much time or money as they’d like on their kids.
Suggestions for a more helpful ‘study’
You could even be left feeling that unless you do spend loads of money or time with your kids, that you’ve somehow failed them. Which, of course, you have not.
When we step back from what the outside world thinks of how we parent, things usually get clearer. And life being what it is, time and money are two of the hardest things to control.
The truth is, being a parent is hard work and we’re all just trying our best. A more helpful study/piece of research would be coming up with a name for that kind of parent.
Don’t you think?