Urban Stroller Rage: Are We Raising Lazy Kids?

By Tara Weng, GalTime.com

I'm fairly confident that at one point or another you've seen this: a child that is clearly too big to be carted around in a vehicle meant for babies and toddlers. Most of the time I ignore it, but every now and then I think, "Really? Are you really going to wheel that kid around until he/she goes to college?" Beyond being annoyed and somewhat confused, I wonder what this ride does to the kid(s) who take it emotionally and physically.

Life coach and clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Mantell says it might say a lot about the person pushing the stroller.

"If you are the parent and you know your child is capable of walking but it's easier for YOU as the parent to simply push the child who is obviously too big for the stroller because you don't like his/her dawdling,( it's faster, more convenient, you believe it's "safer"), then you would do well to examine the consequences, which include infantilizing a child, admitting you cannot control your child in public, are raising your child based on expedience," he explains.

I know from my personal experience that, yes, there were times when I thought it would be easier if my kids were still in strollers and I could go about my business at the pace I chose, but, really, letting them walk seemed to give them a sense of independence and freedom that they didn't get from being strapped in and pushed by mom. According to Dr. Mantells' assertions, for once, I might have been doing the right thing in the parenting department. "You may be passing along unreasonable fears as well of your child independently walking in the street or park with you. Another consequence of this behavior is teaching laziness to your children," he says.

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At this point I would like to say that I completely try not to judge other parents. There's nothing worse than a stranger telling you or insinuating that you're "doing it wrong."

Of course there are exceptions to the stroller controversy- some children are impaired and need to remain in the stroller to get around. Parents must decide for themselves what's best for their kid's, not casual observers, but people will still gawk no matter what.

One such observer actually devoted an entire blog to what she sees as a silly trend. The site: http://toobigforstroller.com/ posts pictures of kids who appear too large to fit in that stroller and was meant as a goof according to its founder. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, it has certainly given attention to a topic that a lot of people find ridiculous. More than that, it sheds light on yet another job that parents need to examine for themselves. "If you are a parent, and you know your child is able to walk but he or she doesn't want to, that leads to discussions of laziness, regression, wanting to continue being "babied" for some reason--and this needs to be explored to insure that the child's psychological and emotional needs are indeed being met in healthy ways," Mantell asserts.

Also See: The "Big Brat" Factor

Dr. Mantell also points out that extended time in the stroller can speak volumes about parenting styles and how far-reaching even these seemingly small gestures can go down the line. "If this is about the parent's expedience, parents would do well to realize that they're teaching independence and that convenience needs to take a back seat--otherwise it will extend to the child not wanting to do homework without intense support, not wanting to be on sports teams, avoiding other types of activities--instead preferring to sit on the couch and simply watch TV or play dreaded video games -- causes of obesity," he says.

The bottom line is you might want to reconsider trekking around town with your perfectly capable, able-bodied child scrunched up in a stroller on their way to take the SATs. Just kidding, kind of.

Photo: TooBigforStroller.com

What's your take on the issue? Is it ridiculous or no big deal?

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