“The natural order of things when it comes to the world of a child has always been that parents (or another substitute “big person” in the child’s life) are in the lead of all things. The parent scripts the tone of the child’s existence, they chart the course, they shield, adjust, and calibrate. This is what a parent’s role is meant to be in the life of a child. When done successfully, it paves the way for development to proceed exactly as nature intended, and the child gets to grow in the very best way possible. Today, healthy childhood development is being derailed by parents’ tendency to overly rely on other children—rather than themselves— to entertain and occupy their kids. Child development specialists have been warning of this trend in a myriad of ways for many years now. And you can look no further than the proliferation of anxiety, performance-oriented culture, bullying on the playground and social media, and the oft-heard cry of parents and teachers that “kids these days are impossible,” to witness the impact of excessive peer orientation.

When a child spends too much time, especially un-/under-supervised, in the presence of their peers, the intended dynamic of the parent-child relationship is hijacked. Rather than looking to the parent as their North Star, the child’s focus shifts to their more constant companions: peers. And since children are not meant to grow up other children, things can get very challenging indeed.”

Click the image below to read the entire article that I wrote for the Spring issue of EcoParent magazine!

Dr V