A jet-setting action-packed life is no longer a status symbol. The need-to-be-busy and too-much-to-do culture is fading out of fashion. Worldwide people are becoming aware that fast-paced hectic living is robbing them of peace, family time and most important, health and emotional stability. Therefore, there is a nascent but growing shift towards slow lifestyles. Known as the Slow Movement, this cultural shift is gaining momentum around the world, and has spawned sub-movements such as slow food (preference for local produce and traditional cooking), slow travel (immersion into new environments rather than manic sightseeing), slow living (mindful reflection) and slow parenting, which encourages children to learn, live and grow at their own pace in non-stressful environments.
A social reaction to helicopter parenting wherein parents micro-manage their children’s lives by organising a host of regimented activities such as after-school tuitions, music/sports/art classes, slow parenting cherishes quality over quantity and meaningful connections within families. It abhors the widespread trend of millennial hyper-parents scheduling activities and classes after school and obsessing about children’s societal, material and educational success. According to Canadian journalist Carl Honore, who first defined slow parenting in his best-selling book In Praise of Slow (2004), “slow parents understand that child-rearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product development”. In our first cover story of 2019, we highlight the rising popularity of slow parenting and explain why an increasing number of educationists, psychologists and parents believe that it makes good sense for parents to allow children opportunity to mindfully savour a few experiences rather than rush through myriad activities.
There’s much else in this issue of ParentsWorld. Check out our Early Childhood feature on the growing popularity of baby-wearing, Middle Years section on empowering introvert children and Adolescence essay on helping children overcome fear of failure. As usual, Vellore-based pediatrician Dr. Gita Mathai’s health column — this month focusing on the potential hazards of three commonly used baby products — provides valuable information and advice to young parents.
Happy New Year!