Yup, I’m going to go there.
Lately I’ve seen a lot of debates popping up on my FB wall feed about styles of parenting. Let me rephrase that – heated debates. Recently there was an article written by the mom on the bench to the helicopter mom at the park. It was obviously meant to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous. It clearly struck a nerve with some people, just read the comments section. Personally, I thought it was brilliant.
Never in human history, I think, has more been written about parenting and styles of parenting than in the last decade or so. I have no basis for this theory, it’s just a gut instinct. An initial Google search for “parenting styles” came up with several links describing these four styles:
And lets not forget the best of all – “helicopter”.
I’m not going to review them, you can do that yourself. I think it’s a load of horse shit, to be perfectly honest with you. Raising children, being a “parent”, isn’t something you can define, nor should you label it. Its common sense, no? Did our parents have books on how to parent? Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure my mom had a book by Dr. Spock. But that’s it. One book. Nowadays? THOUSANDS of books, not only on parenting styles (“Know Your Parenting Style”, “Parenting with Love and Logic”, ) but oh my god, books about the different kinds of children (“The Out-of-Sync” child”, “The Explosive Child”, “Living with the Active Alert Child”, “Nurture by Nature”). Unless the child has a genetic (ie chromosomal) disorder, is developmentally delayed or has had birth trauma causing the behaviour issue, I say leave the kid alone and allow them to develop. (Obviously, I’m not lumping in the small percentage of children with severe behavioural problems here.)
I sound grossly unsympathetic. I truly don’t mean to. I am just frustrated with how I see my generation turning out. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by parents (mostly in my practice) who are obsessed with micromanaging everything from the pregnancy, to the kind of birth they want, to debating if cloth or disposable diapers is better, to following their kid around on the playground. [And don’t even get me started on the insanity around breast-feeding and making new mothers feel guilty 2 minutes after their child is born if they are scared or don’t want to nurse. Seriously?]
When did we suddenly need a book to tell us a) what kind of parent we are and b) what kind of child we’re raising? It makes us seem completely stupid. Tribes in Africa don’t have these kinds of issues – these, first world problems. Our species has survived two millenia without a “how-to” manual, and I think we’ve done pretty well, thank you very much. To survive another two millenia, well, I’m not sure we’ll make it. There’s nothing natural about how kids are being raised these days. It’s all about fitting your kid or your parenting style into a pre-fashioned mold. Frankly, I think it’s creating a crop of depressed and stressed out parents who are struggling to cope with their stressed out, anxiety ridden children. It’s fucking sad.
I’m so gonna get flamed now. But I feel better having gotten this off my chest. If you made it this far, and don’t hate me, then maybe I am doing something right.