Pushing your way to slow parenting
First there was slow food. Now there’s slow parenting. Susan Sachs Lipman decided she was fed up with the hectic life of modern-day parenting, and it was time for her and her family to take a time out. In a world with a gajillion parenting styles, hers stands out as both revolutionary and a return to old ways: To build family relationships, try spending time as a family. I’ve got parenting on the brain this week, and you’ll see why when you tune in for tonight’s PUSH GIRLS, so I was particularly interested to learn more about Lipman’s approach.
Parents these days are under pressure to get in ahead of the curve; there are waiting lists for preschool spots, a million enrichment classes your kid is supposed to take, scores of after-school activities and an endless push to go go go. It’s exhausting for parents and kids alike to be hurrying from soccer to violin to math tutoring to volunteering at the humane society, and that leaves less time to let kids be kids, and families be families.
Lipman decided to get away from all that, slowing things down around her family. She walks her daughter to school instead of dropping her off at the curb, spends time playing with family members instead of sitting around the living room on their electronic devices and embraces the downtime she’s created. She didn’t rush to enroll her daughter in everything; in the process, she created more free time for her daughter to learn and grow, while also listening to feedback about what she liked and didn’t like.
Given the priority on kids preparing for college, one might think the slow approach is counterintuitive; how can anyone succeed without an extracurricular list a mile long and the best possible transcripts? But, Lipman argues, being present for children and spending time with them can provide more enrichment than cramming in another half-hour music class — and well-rounded, engaged children are well worth it.
Having children is one of the biggest life decisions you can make, and Lipman reminded us that the decision-making hardly stops when you have a baby. With a child comes a whole new set of responsibilities as you decide what kind of parent you want to be and how you want to raise your child in a world where everyone’s always pushing for every advantage.
I suspect that Eric and Auti would make fantastic parents, and in an artistic household like theirs, they’d have plenty to do as a family if they decided to take the slow and thoughtful approach!
If you can’t stand up, stand out! PUSH GIRLS airs on Mondays at 10P.