Getting a divorce and trying to get custody of the kids? Get thee to a mommy-and-me sign language class! Take your toddler to violin lessons, stat!
Because in a disturbing turn of events, American courts seem to be awarding custody to the most neurotic parent.
A study for the UC Davis Law Review called "Over-Parenting" explores a new trend where courts view helicopter parenting as a positive, rather than the negative we keep hearing about. Apparently family court judges are not reading the same reports that we are about over-indulged, completely dependent, incompetent college students being the direct result of childhoods filled with mom mediation during toddler "mine" fights on the playground.
Instead, parents are encouraged to go the extra mile ... or ten.
Result? "We talked to attorneys and they describe this 'race for involvement' that's going on," says Bernstein. "So if somebody's about to get divorced, and it's a parent who was less involved, they'll go to a divorce attorney who tells them, 'Now you have to get really, really involved. So you should get to know all the names of your children's teachers and friends, and coach their Little League and attend Parent-and-Me classes if the child is young …' And the attorneys are pretty good at telling them not to overdo this, but parents just go crazy! So they start texting their child 20, 30 times a day, and they take photos of the cellphone to show they've done that, and they completely overtake Little League, and they leave the children with no independence."
I'm agreeing with Lenore Skenazy on this one, as this kind of parenting, which starts with our youngest as soon as they start to socialize, is completely damaging and should not be rewarded. While I'm glad that some parents see divorce as an impetus to get more involved with their children, this is more like cramming for a test than a lifelong pattern of building a healthy relationship with your child.
On the other hand, this must mean more men are actually asking for custodial rights! Hopefully forever changing the assumption that the children automatically go with mom, no matter what is actually best for everyone involved.
But the next time a mom or dad walks into court with a list of all the activities they attend with their exhausted toddler, I hope the other party has a parenting expert for rebuttal.