Sunday, September 24, 2006

Harping on the Parent Thing...

This morning I heard Richard Louv interviewed, and he discussed something he called "Nature Deficit Disorder", and then he laughingly said not to run to your Doctor, because it isn't a recognized disorder...but just an observation he's made about what we've done to children in the past 20 years.

He's linked ADHD and ADD to lack of exposure to nature:

"As recently as the 1950s, most U.S. youngsters still had some kind of agricultural connection. Even in towns or cities, kids played ball in sandlots or spent hours building forts in tangled and wild "vacant" lots. Their unregimented play was steeped in nature. That kind of exposure to nature has faded dramatically in recent decades, but our need for nature—possibly physiological—has not. "Neurologically, human beings haven't caught up with today's over-stimulating environment," says Michael Gurian, a family therapist and author of The Wonder of Boys."

He talked about schools taking physical education out of their curriculums, and lack of green space at many schools. He pointed out that some schools have even cut out recess, and one posting signs in the schoolyard saying, "NO Running".
In fairness, this kind of thing can't be blamed on the school system, since often these decisions are spearheaded by uber-parents on soapboxes (much like mine on this topic) on Parent Councils and committees.
Parents who are petrified that their children might get a scrape on the knee, and then get an infection and die.
School boards are scared of law suits, and so they comply with these absurd demands.

I've seen kids so urbanized, that the sight of a fly, or stepping into snow sends them into hysterical screaming fits.
I know you think that I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Keep in mind that I worked with preschoolers and kindergarteners.
I've seen children scream blue murder when they're put down onto the floor to walk.
I've argued with parents that they need fresh air, and exercise. I've even had parents keep children home from school because "it's raining" or "it's too cold outside".

A few years ago, I was talking with a neighbour of mine who has two boys. She was talking about how she didn't like her sons playing with "certain" children in the neighbourhood because those children were "always out on the street" which I responded, "What? Out in the street playing?".
Geez, we live on a cul de sac, there's no traffic.
I love it when I see kids put up hockey nets or drag out the basketball hoop to the road. What's wrong with being outside and playing?

Sometimes I feel like it's a contest between moms for Uber-Mom of the Year.
The criteria is that you appear to be the mom who cares the most for your child by protecting them from everything.
This neighbour made it sound like these children who played outside had parents who didn't care as much about them as she did about her own children.


Let your kids out of the house.