Ruminating about Parenting
According to Psychology Today,
“Rumination is a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about problems, about a loss, about any kind of a setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action.”
Oddly, the dictionary definition is nowhere near as negative. Which leads me to my thoughts on psychology and the damage it has done on our most precious resource—life itself.
As a parent, I subscribed to, or better said, was gifted subscriptions to, parenting magazines. I read online articles, blogs, and community posts from other moms, went to meetings where other moms were present. I read and listened to the problems other moms face when raising their children. But the more I applied the parent-as-friend philosophy of raising my children, the more I realized the detriment of the psychology behind it.
Children today are more likely to be diagnosed as depressed, yes CLINICALLY DEPRESSED, than generations before. Why? Could it be the plethora of psychological training parents ascribe to?
Indeed! Now before you stop and say, but Dori, children face far more concerns in 2008 than in 1970, let me just say … children do not have more concerns. Unless … their parents give them reason to be concerned. Drugs, violence, and poverty have always existed (long before statisticians tracked those sorts of things).
In fact, statistics show that each decade brings about an increase of depression and suicide (suicide rates for ages five to fourteen have DOUBLED in the last twenty years!). Psychology hasn’t solved problems—it has created them. Psychology causes rumination, the negative kind.
How can we reverse this trend? By being parents first. There’s no mysterious psychology behind parenting. The goal of a parent is to teach right and wrong, and move children from a state of complete dependence to independence (while teaching interdependence).
- Lay down the rules, stick to them, and teach children they are responsible.
- Teach children pride, not superficial rewards for a good job.
- Under-commit children’s activities—give them time to explore, play, and self-discover.
- Let children express themselves.