Less is More

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 12, 2011

by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com

Preaching common sense has netted quite a few people fame and fortune.  Dr. Phil comes to mind and to a large extent, Oprah.  Really, all they are saying is think before you act, hopefully with a rational mind.  If this simple formula is followed chances are sound decisions will be made, angst, strife and unhappiness kept to a minimum.  Failure to employ a healthy dose of common sense usually means a burn if you touch a hot stove.

What is really refreshing is applying common sense on a consistent basis to as many things parenting as possible.  Past generations of parents who had no washing machines, car seats, home alarms, Nintendo games,  television, nannies, after-school activities and a host of other conveniences survived.  Surely it wasn't always pretty, but everyone made it. 

Hopefully the pendulum swings backwards.  Back to common sense parenting.  Sure it does exist, but boy is it ever hidden in the shadows of paranoia, anxiety, stress, and a lack of confidence so evident in many parents today.  It's sad. 

Many families are spinning wildly around that ferris wheel of life — it's a wicked ride, not much time to rest, punctuated with a desire to create bigger, better, faster, stronger (and every other Olympic-adage you can think of) kids.  We all do it. 

Trouble starts and then snowballs when parents start comparing themselves or their children to others.  It becomes a competition and before you know it the adult is living vicariously through their child.    Trying to live like the Joneses' is not just a wry stab at humour, for some parents and their offspring it is a hidden reality.

It usually spawns unrealistic demands, overscheduled kids, a blind loyalty to “being the best no matter what.”  This may sound radical and in some cases it is.  Often it is understated, but ever present — and it's something all parents should be aware of.  Maybe your child doesn't like baseball or ballet or ballooning.   And that is okay.

We seem to have misplaced the concept of play because we are too busy running.  We seem to have lost the ability to slow down.

In his book, “In Praise of Slow” bestselling author Carl Honore birthed the 'slow movement'.  It seemed like a radical approach.  He emphasized the importance of the message in his book “Under Pressure”.   Now he speaks all over the world giving parents food for thought on how to slow down.  Common sense that's gotten lost in the shuffle.

At the end of the day, the only thing that most kids really want is their parents' attention, which they can really only get, in undivided form, if we stop running.

Video Interview:

Carl Honore, author of “Under Pressure” and “In Praise of Slow” 

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