6.25.2014

how to avoid hyper parenting



As a parent speaking my second language to my daughter in an effort to give her the gift of bilingualism, I find it helpful to read books about the science of language development in babies.

Thanks to this research, I have become quite familiar with the "average" age that babies achieve certain milestones. Unfortunately this leads me to fall into the trap of comparison.

As I read "Brain Rules for Baby" by John Medina, I came across this passage on hyper parenting (constantly comparing your baby to others in hopes that they are developing at a faster pace):

"Creating comparisons like these is not only counterproductive but out of step with current neuroscientific understanding. It also puts pressure on a child that can be harmful to his or her brain. As you know by now, the brain follows a developmental timetable that is as individual as its owner's personality. {...} Einstein, arguably as bright as they come, is rumored not to have spoken in complete sentences until he was 3."

These comparisons are inevitably more about the parents' egos than about the child's development. 

These high expectations placed on a child's shoulders by their parents will only lead to pressure to please instead of learning to satisfy their natural curiosity. 

Do I really want to teach my child that her worth lies in comparison to others, anyway? No. Her worth lies in being a child of God. After all, she and every other baby are fearfully and wonderfully hand-crafted by the creator of the universe.

In a life of gratefulness and love there is no room for comparison, envy, or pride. 

I am grateful for each milestone she hits, regardless of how soon or late she hits it. 

I am grateful for how enjoyable watching her develop new skills is. I mean, seriously guys. How fun is listening to your child carry on an entire nonsensical conversation with herself while gyrating to music only she hears? How fun is watching those tentative first steps? How great is it to set a plate of food in front of them, or give them a whole banana, and let them feed themselves for once?

Passages like the one above serve as great reminders for me. Am I reading to her because it's good for her brain development and enjoyable, or am I doing it so she will learn more words sooner? Am I teaching her a second language because I want to give her the gift of being able to communicate and connect with more people, or because I want to show off?

I am resolved to enjoy this stage with Pippa. With each age, she gets so much more fun to interact with! And from what I'm told, this "baby" thing goes by far too quickly...


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