Dr. Goschi's Blog

Over-scheduling’s inherent problems

It seems like nothing is sacred in this economic downturn. Even some of the most diligent helicopter mom’s are finding it financially difficult to over schedule their children.  My response to that is halleluah.  As a whole we are doing a discervice to our kids by booking every last moment of their free time.  I don’t know about you but I’m pretty crabby when I don’t have a free moment for anything.

Somehow having your children busier than is comprehensible has become a sign of good parenting.  I’m not sure where this idealogical mindset began.  I know that it is good to expose your children to new experiences.  It helps them grow as individuals and increases their interest in physical activities and intellectual persuits.  But, when it comes to our children more does not equal better.  Rather, it is my belief that more is acutally detrimental to many fundamental developmental, emotional and psychological milestones.

I believe the hope in keeping your child busy every minute of their life prevents them from becoming overweight, keeps them book smart and prevents them from abusing substances.  Oh, if only this philosophy were true.  I fear that we are creating other problems by controlling everything our children do.  The old adage “Something has to give” applies here.  The over scheduled child will need to work less in one or all areas.

There is new research that speaks to multi-tasking and I believe the results apply perfectly here.  Those of use who are engaged in too many activities at one time become stupider.  Doing homework at hockey practice does not result in good academic habits.  Nor does it give school the level of importance it deserves.  It’s fine to play hockey but keep the two in their appropriate boxes.

The other important issue is how a person learns to schedule their own free time.  Youngsters need to learn how to fill up time with those things they enjoy.  Novelty ideas and creative thinking are born from time to ponder.  Emotional development follows a similar trajectory in that relationships evolve over time and issues are worked out based on free interaction.  Kids must be able to move in the world at their own pace.  Playing in the backyard or with neighbors is becoming less of a common phenomenon.

Lastly, having time to spend with the family over dinner remains invaluable.  It is a way in which we form intimate realtionships with siblings and parnets.  There is no better way of getting to know what your children are really up to than checking in with them at the dinner table.  Don’t underestimate the power of reading a book together, wathching a family freindly movie together, or playing a board game after dinner.  I must admit that I was pleased to hear that more families were involved in these behaviors.  I hope that families find interactions more valuable and continue to engage in these activities onece the downturn is over.

As always help is just a phone call away . If you find yourself in need of family therapy help is just a phone call away.  Call Dr. Goschi now at (312)595-1787 or email her at barbara@drgoschi.com

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