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Some Moms ‘Ignore’ Their Small Children In Hopes Of Nurturing Independence

"Sometimes the less we do for our kids, the better"
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Some moms prefer to give their young children a little space. (CBS)

Some moms prefer to give their young children a little space. (CBS)

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — How do you raise creative, independent kids?

Maybe you ignore them. It may sound radical, but some moms think they’re on to something too good to ignore, CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports.

“Sometimes the less we do for our kids, the better. The less we hover over them, the less we’re coddling them. It certainly works for me,” says Jill Smokler, who is also known as “Scary Mommy.”

She got a huge response after blogging about the fine art of ignoring your children. While mostly positive, one reader asked: “Why would you have children, only to ignore them?”

Smokler responds: “I think it’s made them really self-sufficient, creative little thinkers.”

Chicago mom Julia Herrmann-Foster agrees, and calls it anti-helicopter parenting.

“I think that it helps them kind of learn to think on their own,” she says.

Instead of hovering over 3-1/2 year-old Jack and 16-month-old Max, she simply leaves them alone — whether dealing with a small tumble or finding the best way to down that macaroni and cheese.

“I don’t have to be there all the time. It doesn’t faze them when we leave them with a sitter. When we go to different play activities with moms groups, they easily go and play with other kids,” she says.

Dr. Sharon Hirsch, chief of adolescent and child psychiatry at the University of Chicago Hospitals, says the idea of backing off as a parent is valid.

“How can you be doing everything for your kid and expect them to grow up?” she says.

It’s a lesson that didn’t come easy to Sandy Hartman, who has three boys, aged 5, 9 and 11.

She says she doted more on baby No. 1. But now she sees the benefits to giving all her kids more time on their own.

The one exception: when safety is concerned.

“There’s a middle ground in between just letting them run wild and completely controlling everything they do,” Hartman says.

None of the moms would leave their kids alone with the power tools or at the pool. And they acknowledge their parenting style isn’t for everyone.

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