Please take the time to read and absorb this article.
But the world has moved on since then. We've become more sophisticated. And entered a unique period in which, rather than struggling to provide enough parents are unable to resist providing too much. In doing so, we're unknowingly creating an environment in which mental health issues flourish.
When I read Kim John Payne's book, Simplicity Parenting one message leapt off the page. Normal personality quirks combined with the stress of "too much" can propel children into the realm of disorder. A child who is systematic may be pushed into obsessive behaviours. A dreamy child may lose the ability to focus.
Suffering with a "cumulative stress reaction" caused by the snowballing effect of too much, children develop their own coping strategies to feel safe. Parents and society are conscious of the need to protect our children physically but safeguarding mental health is more obscure.
Modern day children are exposed to a constant flood of information which they can't process or rationalize. They're growing up faster as we put them into adult roles and increase our expectations of them. So, they look for other aspects of their life they can control.
Simplicity Parenting encourages keeping fewer toys so children engage more deeply with the ones they have. Payne describes the four pillars of excess as having too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed.
When children are overwhelmed they lose the precious down time they need to explore, reflect and release tension. Too many choices erodes happiness, robbing kids of the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-directed learning.
Childhood serves a very real purpose. It's not something to "get through." It's there to protect and develop young minds so they can grow into healthy and happy adults. When society messes too much with childhood, young brains react. By providing a sense of balance and actively protecting childhood we're giving our children the greatest gift they'll ever receive.
Keeping my kids' childhood simple and more childhoody is a major reason I decided to homeschool. Every time I feel overwhelmed by this commitment to teach my kids I remind myself that at least their childhood is a real, simple and slow one.