I’ve read in some parenting book (and why do I keep reading them???) that every generation softens up their approach to raising children compared to their parents before them. For example, spanking used to be a totally acceptable method of discipline, and we now discuss the damage we can do by yelling at our kids. And maybe that is true. But the opposite also applies.
For example, once there was Dr. Spock, whose book I haven’t read but I was raised by its tenets. And they actually seemed sensible. Now, there is Dr. Sears who says it is no longer acceptable to gradually push the baby bed away from yours farther and farther each day, so that the baby learns to sleep alone. Now, you have to co-sleep.
It is not longer reasonable to dress your baby according to the weather when you go out for walk together. Now you need to baby-wear. Gone are the days where you just had to put some kind of food into your baby. Now, for the first two or three years of the kid’s life, that foods needs to come out of a boob. It’s good for bonding, they say. Mothers and babies love it, they say. I have my doubts, say I. Softie parents have undergone an evolution that is beginning to border on the extreme, but they are not the only ones.
For the more authoritative side, no longer does it suffice to expect obedience and excellence at all times. Now it’s about the child getting into the best college, finding the best job and being basically the best at everything. And the parents want to help (read: take control). So they constantly hover over their kids, and helicopter parenting was born.
But parenting fads change all the times and there are always new ones on the horizon. Now, it seems, snowplow parents are coming! Not only will they make sure that the children will lack nothing, but like a snowplow, they clear all problems and obstacles out of their offspring’s way. I have heard of parents meddling with their kids’s grades, coming to job interviews and micromanaging every aspect of their children lives in order to help them succeed. I wonder how such kids will turn out, but what bothers me even more is the question: So what comes after snowplow parents?
I have an idea. Based on the theory that each generation takes the ridiculousness of parenting fads further and farther, I have come to the conclusion that the next logical step in this madness is this: Nuke ’Em Parenting.
I think the name says it all. If someone looks at your child the wrong way, Nuke ’Em. If the school doesn’t give your child the best grades, Nuke ’Em. If someone yells at your kid, Nuke ’Em, their neighbours, their dogs, cats, parrots and all their friends and relatives.
The mascot for this kind of parent should be the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland,” who yelled, “Off with their heads!” whenever she was annoyed, offended, or just when she felt like it.
The name of the fad doesn’t really matter, but the idea does: you are the parent, you are the boss, and your special snowflake of a child deserves only the best. He will have the best school, the best job, and rule the world one day. The parents will make sure of it. Or else, Nuke ’Em and Off With Their Heads!
Seriously, where does this stop? When will we wake up and see how ridiculous it has all become? Can we please go back to a time where parents weren’t required to do all these crazy things in order to be considered good at it? Or at least hit ourselves on the heads with a pan and realize we’re stupid for even listening to these ideas and proceed to raise our children with some more sense?
As for me, I am going back to being “just” a mother. No, not in the “being a mother is my whole life” kind of way, but more in the “I don’t belong to any of your parenting religions” kind of way. Because if this doesn’t stop, the idea of Nuke ’Em parents don’t really seem so crazy at all. In fact, it does sound like a logical next step in the evolution of parenting. And I am scared to even consider what may come after that. Because it just can’t get worse than this, can it?
The question is a rhetorical one, of course. I am sure that somewhere, there is a parent who actually thought about giving Nuke ‘Em Parenting a try. My hope is that for every such parent there will be at least one other person mocking parenting fads mercilessly and continuing to live a normal life, raising normal kids in a totally boring normal way, without giving in to the madness.