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A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting

24 Ratings: 1.6
2008 non-fiction book by Hara Estroff Marano

Wake up, America: We're raising a nation of wimps.    Hara Marano, editor-at-large and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been watching a disturbing trend: kids are growing up to be wimps. They can't make their own … see full wiki

Author: Hara Estroff Marano
Genre: Parenting and Families
Publisher: Broadway
1 review about A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive...

Hara Estroff Marano prescribes a liberal dose of common sense.

  • Nov 28, 2008
The first time I had an inkling that something was amiss was several years ago when I noticed that a young employee of mine was constantly washing his hands with some kind of clear gel.  At that point I had never seen or heard of anti-bacterials but this 20 year old young man seemed obsessed with washing his hands multiple times a day.  Likewise, I have observed in recent years that children simply don't seem to play outside much anymore.  When was the last time you spotted a group of kids playing tag or even a simple game of catch?  When children do play it seems it always has to be very structured and organized with lots of adults around to supervise.  Hara Estroff Marano is an award-winning writer and editor-at-large for "Psychology Today".  She has observed these phenomenon and a whole host of other troubling behaviors in both our young people and their parents that according to her are making us "A Nation of Wimps". This is a must read for parents, grandparents, educators and anyone else interested in the future of our kids.

Throughout the pages of "A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting" Hara Estroff Marano points to any number of disturbing trends that she attributes to overparenting.  Marano laments that the value of "play" for our younger children has been largely trivialized and replaced by more structured achievement oriented activities.  I was quite surprised and distressed to learn that in many kindergardens and elementary schools around the nation recess has been completely eliminated!  What is going on here?  And as these children get older, Marano found that many parents are stoking the fires of fear among their offspring overstating the dangers of everything from germs to pedophiles.  As a result, these children become extremely risk averse and find it more difficult to make friends, foster relationships with other adults and make decisions. In addition, as these children move into their teens and early 20's they are much more prone to any number of maladies including depression and anorexia nervosa.  Marano also points to a multitude of examples of anxious parents intervening on behalf of their kids.  And then there is the web-based service known as Zangle.  Check it out.  It seems that some parents will stop at nothing to monitor and manage their childrens activities. Very sad!  These parents may mean well but their determination to ensure that their children do not encounter failure or setbacks or pain of any kind only serves to stifle the emotional growth of these youngsters.  As a result, many are left totally unprepared to deal with the challenges and complexities of adult life.  Marano goes on to describe some of the consequences of the way we have been raising our kids.  Employers complain that an increasingly large percentage of young people are unable to engage in critical thinking and lack problem solving skills.  Meanwhile, many of these kids are totally lacking in leadership skills and have an extremely tough time making decisions and forging meaningful relationships.

"A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting" is must reading for every parent.  In the final chapter of the book Hara Estroff Marano offers a dozen practical suggestions for parents who are interested in avoiding many of the mistakes that parents seem to have been making in recent years.  In the end some might diagree with her approach but the ideas contained within this book are well worth considering.  As far as I am concerned Marano has identified some serious issues and most of her solutions make perfect sense to me.  Highly recommended!
Hara Estroff Marano prescribes a liberal dose of common sense. Hara Estroff Marano prescribes a liberal dose of common sense. Hara Estroff Marano prescribes a liberal dose of common sense.

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December 22, 2009
Wow! I agreed with everything written in this article until I saw myself in it. Help! And I am seeing my son lose his ability to cope as a result. How does a parent let go? Any ideas? I have always wanted to see my child grow up to be healthy and independent. Not dependent, lacking in any type of leadership skill.
April 14, 2009
We do live in a very different world today as opposed to yesteryear. I, too, used to run off as a kid with my friends for hours on end. Nobody thought anything of it. We had a lot of guts! Cell phones were non- existant then. The world we experience today is almost incomprehensible to me. I have a lot of friends who are parents, and they seem to over-parent, calling back and forth several times an hour, practically on top of the kid. There are many reasons for concern, but parents should back off a bit and let the child make some of their own decisions. I find many of our young people "soft" today and immature. My uncles were considered men at 19 or 20, nowadays, that's a babe in the woods! Great review, by the way.....makes one think!
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