Friday, 23 December 2011

Spanking is losing the competition to inordinate supervision of kids. UPDATE: Helicopter parents.

The message was "Spanking is bad" but spanking has just been outcompeted by dawn-to-dusk adult supervision of kids and by food rewards.  When Canadians had larger families and fewer snack foods, spanking was more cost effective.  As a kid, I ran free in the bush behind our house after doing some chores but my own children were driven to T-ball, practicing piano, doing supervised work and almost never ranging free.
From Instapundit:  (The link has a lot more)
Quoting Megan McArdle's "Why we stopped spanking:" I wonder.... if “better” is quite the right word. It seems to me that what parents have discovered is a much, much more intensive form of parenting than their grandparents employed. The elaborate charts and systems of incentives are enabled by the fact that modern children are effectively monitored by adults every waking hour until they become quite old.       As Valerie Ramey points out in a recent essay, one of the enduring mysteries of the 20th century is that in America, at least, labor saving appliances don’t seem to have saved much labor. Adults spend less time on certain “home production” tasks–like cooking–but more on others, particularly childcare. . . . Today’s kids seem to be not only supervised but regimented; most of their time is supposed to be spent in some sort of structured activity. This makes it very easy to create elaborate reward systems, because there is all this elaborate surveillance that makes it very easy to monitor compliance".
And Glenn Reynolds quoting himself:    "Here’s another thought. Why are kids today so fat? Because — since you can’t (or at least, many parents don’t) induce good behavior by spanking, people try to keep kids happy with food."

I point the fatness finger at fun digital devices that need only finger fiddling instead of exercise, and the easy availability of low-cost, high calorie food.

Instapundit's link to the "Good Enough" way of bringing up kids is good: "Parents invest more time and money in their kids than ever, but the shocking lesson of twin and adoption research is that upbringing is much less important than genetics in the long run. These revelations have surprising implications for how we parent and how we spend time with our kids. The big lesson: Mold your kids less and enjoy your life more. Your kids will still turn out fine".

UPDATE: Helicopter parents who hover over their kids forced the cancellation of an easter egg hunt!.  They swarmed past the kids-only rope line and ruined the event.
"That hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of egg-less tots and their own parents. Too many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into Bancroft Park in a historic area of Colorado Springs.
Organizers say the event has outgrown its original intent of being a neighborhood event.
Parenting observers cite the cancellation as a prime example of "helicopter parents" — those who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their children's lives — sports, school, and increasingly work — to ensure that they don't fail, even at an Easter egg hunt".

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