Yes…that’s right. To all you parents out there…start looking for a new job because your kids don’t need you anymore.
I made a very sad statement to somebody the other day. “If it wasn’t so hard to raise a child now, I might think about having a third baby”. Yes…that’s right. I said that. Here’s why. My first daughter was born thirteen years ago when I was wonderfully naive and ignorant. I have good memories of caring for her and nothing sticks out as being overly traumatic (aside from the day when she was 6 months old and my knee gave out on the cement steps causing her to fall and bang her head. But I’m not guilty.)
My youngest daughter was born four years ago (AFTER I had completed a nursing degree, AFTER I had aged nine more years, and AFTER high intensity parenting came into vogue). I’ll put it this way, I now listen to Deepak Chopra and inhale essential oils in order to debrief at the end of each day (which, by the way, are two very effective stress management tools…shout out to Deepak).
But now all of this is going to change. Parenting as we know it has now been replaced by a “non-parenting” model. Micro-management didn’t work, now the world has shifted so that the parents have relinquished all control to the kids and they can raise themselves.
I noticed this phenomenon a few years ago. My eldest daughter began to have “student-led parent teacher”. Am I the only one who sees a problem here? The event is called “parent/teacher” with emphasis on the “parent” and “teacher”. I can only assume the rationale here is to involve the child in every aspect of everything. I say ridiculous. No teacher is going to divulge any issues in front of a student for fear of ruining their “self-esteem” or something of the like. There are things that a child needs to stay out of until their involvement is actually required. The power shift here is absurd. I now anticipate that by the time my youngest child has parent-teacher it will actually be called “child-parent/teacher” wherein the child will present a list of all inadequacies they have discovered about their superiors (only nobody will be a “superior” because hierarchy is WRONG!!).
Then today I was reading an article in a parenting magazine (guilty as charged). It talked about “baby-led feeding”. Yes..that’s right. Skip the pureed stage and head right to combo number 1 with the fries up-sized and Coke to drink. Common sense advice on introducing soft foods initially is BAD. Now, your child needs to be free to express himself and eat that box of Cracker Jacks should he choose. In essence, the child is skipping an entire stage of development. Is this because the parents are too crunched for time or is it that the parenting world has fried itself from the “micro-management” phase and now children can just do whatever they please. Now, our only duty is to care for the child until he/she is able to put food in their mouth and then we’re done.
Sad but not surprising I guess. If you mentally trace the trajectory of parenting over the years, it would look something like this:
1970’s-“you’re eating what I put in front of you or you don’t eat”
1980’s-“if you eat your supper I will let you play until 8:30 tonight”
1990’s-“it’s tofu and you won’t even be able to taste it in this spaghetti sauce”
2000’s-“honey, when you throw your food at Mommy, it really tugs at my inadequacy complex”
2012-“you don’t want that silly old bottle do you? Here, have a turkey drumstick instead. It develops your sucking reflex too”