Our take: Some parents feel that they must constantly occupy their children's time with scheduled activities and constant companionship. In this article, Dr. Peggy Drexler argues that such constant attention may lead to a lack of self-reliance in children as they mature and be a detriment to the development of social skills.
The role of the ever-present playmate that I see many parents slipping into can indeed be damaging. We've been reading lately about how Americans, by and large are raising a generation of spoiled children. In many ways, overindulging kids with scheduled time and constant parental attention is akin to spoiling them rotten with material goods.
Many parents feel the need to be their child's main source of entertainment because they want their kids to like them or fear that lack of stimulation will put their kid at a disadvantage and somehow their achievements will lag behind their peers. Others feel guilty — for working or for not giving their child a playmate in the form of a sibling. Others — and I see this often with dads — simply love spending time with their sons, playing catch, shooting hoops. That's great. But when it interferes with a child's ability to face alone time without something resembling panic or sadness, you're not doing your child any favors.
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