Should You Outsource Parenting?

Should You Outsource Parenting?

We recently told the story of a woman who earns extra cash by letting people outsource their chores to her through a company called TaskRabbit.

(You can read about her here.)

She grocery shops, does laundry, drops off flowers ... but now we have to wonder: Could she parent for pay?

The question crossed our minds after reading on Babble about a piece published in Psychology Today advocating outsourcing parenthood. The author, a professor, psychologist, author of four parenting books—with different premises!—and father makes the following argument:

"Most parents don’t try to fix the plumbing, perform surgery on themselves or defend themselves in court. Instead, we turn to experts to do those jobs for us. Why would we try to do something as important as raising our own children, something we also don’t know anything about, when we could hire professionals to do a much better job than we could (I realize that many parents don’t have the option of outsourcing their child rearing)?"

He writes that our children, who are little angels with their coaches, teachers and caretakers, are masters of pushing their parents' buttons. Also, in many cases, a parent's own self-esteem is tied up in the success of his or her children. As the author writes: "Imagine what it’s like for children when how they perform in, for example, school or sports, will determine how happy their parents are (and whether their parents will love them). Talk about pressure!"

The idea of everyone, regardless of income or lifestyle, outsourcing parenting seems a little more "1984" than 2012, and the author himself admits it isn't going to happen.

But let's pretend it could happen: Are children better off with their parents or with (affectionate, caring) professionals? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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