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The Debates over the Perfect Baby

An increasing number of baby books and articles are slightly mocking of many parents trying to give the best to their children. Indeed, some are blaming the hyper-attentive parenting from today’s adults for any number of things including the declining morals and manners of children across the board. But are parents to blame and is it wrong to try to do the best things possible for your baby? Among the most controversial debates now surfacing, you’ll find everything from the family bed to delayed kindergarten.

The Family Bed
Proponents of attachment parenting generally embrace the family bed. So do many other families who simply want more sleep and don’t mind snuggling up to little ones during the night. But the family bed isn’t all sleepy tones of happiness. Many feel that parents are neglecting their own needs when they allow their children to set the bedtime routines and limitations. How can parents communicate and cuddle in bed if there are always children between them – every night for many years?

The Parental Advocate
Parents of this generation have been taught to advocate for their children.

They are always ready to fight to the death to get what they consider best for their children and will do what is necessary to protect their child’s innocence, self esteem, grade point average, opportunities or anything else that is essential to their well being. Recently some have begun complaining that parents who advocate too strongly for their children are teaching their children to put their own needs ahead of anyone else’s and contributing to a generation of children with floundering social skills and problems with basic manners.

Helicopter Parents
In a similar situation, parents who are always present in their child’s life are giving them a great deal of support and educational opportunities. These children are protected and safe from the dangers that are always present, but being protected all of the time can actually prevent some attributes from developing. Companies and colleges are even citing cases of parents accompanying their children to interviews and into the college classroom to “help” them.

Children who are protected from the harsher sides of life might struggle to handle disappointment and challenges on their own. It’s a very fine line for caring parents to walk to be sure their children know how to handle themselves, but also know they are always loved and have a safe place to come home to when necessary.

Delayed Education
A generation ago parents attempted to speed their children through school. A child was advanced and therefore needed to skip grades and get through school more quickly. Now children are being delayed in education – primarily boys, to be sure they are ready to learn correctly. While some children such as those who are extremely premature or who have disabilities do benefit from an extra year in preschool or at home, studies have shown that delaying school can be harmful to other children who had the necessary skills to begin classes.

And as is true in many areas, what started as good intentions – helping children prepare for increasingly tough educational standards, has turned sour. Many parents are now choosing to hold their children back a year so that the child can be the biggest, strongest and presumably the star of the class. This is particularly true for those parents interested in their child’s success in sports. Others fear they should hold their children back so that they are not the only ones with a “young” child in the classroom.

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