Parenting: Best Done in Moderation

By Holly H Schiffrin; Miriam Liss | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Parenting: Best Done in Moderation


Holly H Schiffrin; Miriam Liss, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Mother's Day is a day when moms get a break from their typical parenting responsibilities and are pampered. A mother may be served breakfast in bed, get a pedicure and find the chores get done without her. We hope that all mothers reading this enjoy such luxuries Sunday.

However, we also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the other 364 days of the year and how to make them less of a contrast to the peace and joy of Mother's Day. One way to decrease the stress associated with parenting is to think of parenting as something best done in moderation.

People often think that when something is good, then more of that thing is inherently better. However, many things in life healthy in small to moderate amounts become harmful in excess. Eating is necessary for survival, but overeating is currently leading to a national public health epidemic. The body also requires adequate rest, but too much rest becomes laziness. Even exercise, in excess, can lead to physical injury. We would like to argue that the same is true about parenting. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Research has clearly established that it is beneficial for children when their parents are involved in their education and activities. Many studies have pointed to the benefits of parents talking to, reading to, playing with, and providing their children with activities that help them develop and learn. In fact, early intervention specialists teach these very behaviors to parents of at- risk children because children with more involved parents tend to perform better academically, have more friends, and exhibit fewer behavior problems.

However, it is important to note that the benefits of parental involvement are found when researchers compare parents who are generally uninvolved with those who already play an active role in their children's lives. When going from low involvement to moderate involvement, the benefits are numerous.

But, just because some involvement is good does not mean that more and more involvement is better and better. …

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