Famous author, teacher, and principal, John Marsden, has concerns about a rise in toxic parenting traits, making it more difficult for school officials to actually run a learning facility.
According to The Guardian, in his new book, The Art of Growing Up, Marsden acknowledges a growing trait in parents. He says many caregivers of today are more in love with the idea of being parents instead of loving their kids. This causes issues as adults may be too concerned about obstacles in front of their children, causing them to be more "curling parents" — a Scandinavian term meant to bring about images of the sport curling where debris is swept away from the rock during its trajectory — than anything.
It's a widespread issue too. In fact, his time as an educator — he runs two schools in Victoria, Australia — is backing that opinion up. He says this mentality from parents is causing there to be less trust in traditional authority figures like teachers, and it's causing a case of panic from caregivers and students alike.
From the outside, it might not seem so bad. In fact, Marsden says teens are performing better in academics compared to other generations, but underneath the surface is a lot of anxiety. One main issue is a fear of harm towards our children, we don't want to see them hurt physically. Yet, Marsden says it's causing more issues that could impact children as they grow up. Parents partaking in this kind of behavior could hurt our children's ability to mature. By acting in an overprotective manner, parents could be making it harder for young people to develop any sort of ability to adapt to problems life throws at us.
“The scale of the problem is massive. The issue of emotional damage is pandemic,” he says. “The level of anxiety is something I’ve never seen before, and I don’t know how it can be improved.”
Obviously, this isn't intentional, parents have their children's best interests at heart, but it is important to allow children to experience life a little more. Marsden's schools enrich this idea by allowing kids to have more outdoors times and ride bicycles.
While we're not sure if his method will work, he is right about anxiety levels among teenagers. Academically, we can praise them, however, a child's mental health is more important than grades, so maybe we should all take a step back and see if we are fostering mentally healthy environments for children to grow up in.