Too Much Parenting, Not Enough Exercise

Jim Liebelt | Senior Editor of Publications for HomeWord | Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Too Much Parenting, Not Enough Exercise

*The following is excerpted from an online article from the Wall Street Journal.

Hyper-parenting may increase the risk of physical inactivity in children, a study in the April issue of Preventive Medicine suggests.

Children with parents who tended to be overly involved in their academic, athletic and social lives—a child-rearing style known as hyper-parenting—spent less time outdoors, played fewer after-school sports and were less likely to bike or walk to school, friends’ homes, parks and playgrounds than children with less-involved parents.

Hyperparenting, although it’s intended to benefit children by giving them extra time and attention, could have adverse consequences for their health, the researchers said.

The study, at Queen’s University in Ontario, surveyed 724 parents of children, ages 7 to 12 years old, born in the U.S. and Canada from 2002 to 2007. (The survey was based on parents’ interaction with the oldest child.)

Questionnaires assessed four hyper-parenting styles: helicopter or overprotective parents; little-emperor parents who shower children with material goods; so-called tiger moms who push for exceptional achievement; and parents who schedule excessive extracurricular activities, termed concerted cultivation. Hyperparenting was ranked in five categories from low to high based on average scores in the four styles.

Children’s preferred play location was their yard at home, and 64% of the children played there at least three times a week. Only 12% played on streets and cul-de-sacs away from home. Just over a quarter walked or cycled to school or friends’ homes, and slightly fewer to parks and playgrounds. Organized sports participation was 26%.

Of parents, about 40% had high hyper-parenting scores and 6% had low scores. The most active children had parents with low to below-average scores in all four hyper-parenting styles, while the least active had parents with average-to-high hyper-parenting scores. The difference between children in the low and high hyper-parenting groups was equivalent to about 20 physical-activity sessions a week, the researchers said.

Source: Wall Street Journal
http://www.wsj.com/articles/too-much-parenting-not-enough-exercise-1426520771

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