‘Parenting Out of Control': Who Me?

Julie Ryan Evans
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Parenting Out of Control
barnesandnoble.com; $20.12
I love books that make me pause and let out a little of the breath I feel like I've been holding ever since I gave birth to my first child almost seven years ago. And that's what Margaret Nelson's new book, Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times appears to do.

"Hypervigilence," "helicopter parenting," "hovercrafting," call it what you will, Nelson digs deeper into this modern-day approach to parenting that involves parents holding their children's hands (and every other body part) every step of the way -- from birth to college and beyond. Her research looks at why we do it, and the toll it takes.

She offers the wisdom of a mother who parented in a different era -- one without cell phones and baby monitors as well as sociological reporting and interviews that dig deep into the phenomena. It rings reminiscent of Lenore Skenazy's Free-Range Kids -- of which I'm a fan if not necessarily a follower of her advice.

I see myself and the parents around me spending so much time and energy worrying about our children that we forget that parents have been keeping children alive and thriving for plenty of years. But it's hard, oh so hard, to let go.

By looking at our plights from a sociological perspective, Nelson's book may just help us put our parenting in perspective ... or least help us see the humor in it all.

Have you read Parenting Out of Control? Do you feel like your parenting is out of control?


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