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(Published: 2007-05-09)

It’s no secret that in today’s time starved, overworked society, many parents are finding it extremely difficult to balance work and family, and they are looking for help. Just as there is a trend to outsource in business (call centers in India, for example) there’s a new trend to outsource nearly every part of parenting (except the hugs.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the ‘child work’ industry, as it has been dubbed, is a growth industry. Whether you need a party planner or a potty trainer, someone to teach your kids to ride a bike or a tooth fairy to craft a letter (complete with fairy dust!), there’s someone you can hire to hire to help you.

Many parents will be happy to learn that if their child stubbornly rejects any food but hotdogs, refuses to pick up his toys, or throws temper tantrums in public, there’s no need to throw up their hands in despair. They can now call a Parent Coach for customized advice and guidance. If they’re planning a trip on Gulf Air, they need only place their bags in an overhead bin, fasten their seat belts, and hand the kids over to a Sky Nanny. It’s a complimentary service that gives parents and kids a more enjoyable in-flight experience.

The whole idea of outsourcing certain child-rearing services is to ensure that parents have enough time left over in their busy over-scheduled days to spend some quality time with their kids; reading to them, one on one, playing a game of softball with them, or engaging them in a conversation at the family dinner table.

Trend: Outsourcing. Countertrend: More quality time together. It makes sense that if you can outsource some of the tasks and save time, become more efficient, and provide your children a learning advantage, there will likely be MORE time left over to spend one-on-one with your kids.

According to Caron B. Goode, director of the Academy for Coaching Parents International, here are five key trends parents can take into their own hands to build a healthy and productive family life:

1) Put family first. Parents are starting to say NO to overtime and YES to family time. Employers take note.

2) Reduce stress. Kids need to know how to deal with stress and lead healthy balanced lives. The Girls Scouts of America now offer a Stress-Less badge for young adolescent girls.

3) Foster resiliency. Children need to develop coping skills to help them navigate the stressors of life. Are you setting a good example?

4) Raise compassionate children. As borders blur and the global community expands, it’s important that children learn to be understanding and empathetic.

5) Find faith. In addition to IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence), parents are now recognizing the important of SQ, or Spiritual Intelligence. Whether it’s religious, iconic, or mystic in nature, spirituality can help kids navigate rough terrain and master the uncertainty that inevitably visits every life.

Robert Kennedy Jr. once said: “The fate we impose on our children today shall be the fate of all of us tomorrow.” The “Parenting Paradox” doesn’t have to be a parent trap. Navigated judiciously, it can help us teach our children what’s really important and provide a positive tomorrow for all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Parent Coach

One-on-one time

Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

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