In an interview promoting his new book The Intuitive Parent, Dr. Stephen Camarata balks at “…the marketing frenzy aimed at ensuring educational success, the neuroscience of learning and the heightened anxiety that has made parenting today a competitive sport.”
Quite frankly, it’s a refreshing read coming from the world of academia.
Camarata, a father of 7, advocates for old-school style parenting. You know, the kind of thing moms and dads did in the era before technology, when salvation was achieved through the embodiment of morals and values not benchmarks and scientific research. This kind of parenting, which Camarata refers to as “intuitive” is fairly logical: Get to know your kids.
Whether or not it is simple may be another matter entirely. In contemporary households where both parents (if present) are working, it has become easier to rely on an iPad or an extracurricular activity to keep a child occupied. “Occupying time” has replaced good old fashioned family quality time. Why should your kid spend time with you when they could be learning, even if it is from a machine? After all, learning is key, right? Academic success is how they’ll grow up to be successful adults, right?
This philosophy has led parents often view their child’s academic achievement as evidence that they are performing well as parents. Critical of much of what public education offers in terms of style and demand, Camarata notes:
Teaching children in an assembly line fashion doesn’t work. Children are not Toyotas or Nissans. Because schools are struggling, there’s more and more pressure to regularize things, which makes the situation worse.
Parents, he notes, are often the ones doing the homework that proves too difficult just so their child can maintain a good academic record. The question then becomes, who is the judge of this child’s abilities, let alone the arbiter of the parents’ validation? The teacher of course, and by extension, the public school system. Scary thought, indeed.
Camarata is right: It’s time to get back to our roots and focus on the success of our families. You know, the kind that can’t be measured via an interim report.