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

"Sometimes the less we do for our kids, the better"

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.

More from Roseanne Tellez
  • reem zahra

    Finally someone comes up with the discussion! I have three kids 6y, 4y, 16m. and I’m really worried about their self confidence. When I compare my childhood to their life right now, I see my self more active back then. The reason was because my mom use to let me do what ever I come up with, so I had alot to do which made me always creative and confidant. Sometimes I don’t let my kids to do things which I was able to do by myself when I was their age, and that leads them to sit on TV for longer times, which is like putting thier brains on the sleep mode. By the end I defintily agree with the author.

  • Roberta Waker

    While you don’t have to dote over your children, ignoring them completely is wrong. Funny thing is, most parents totally ignore their children anyway, especially when the parents are on their cell phones, texting, or too busy to spend quality time with their children. Children need a FAMILY life and to know they are loved; so there has to be a happy balance. If your child can’t come to you with a question or problem; you are in trouble and so are they.

  • Jennifer Chelini

    I am an anti-helicopter mom and I see a big difference in the way my children react to small tumbles. They don’t freak out and cry, they jump up run it of and go back to playing. I think that using the term “ignoring” is a bit misleading, while we may not hover and take charge of every situation, we are very much paying attention and observing our children. I just don’t step in unless I feel a situation is beyond my child’s ability to handle on his own. I am always with my children and always be there to play with and interact with. I just don’t follow them around watching every move they make.

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