Monday, January 4, 2016

Neurotic Parenting 101

I believe most Anerican parents in modern times have overly neurotic parenting styles. ( yes, I am including myself in that generalization) We are so concerned with NOT damaging our children...mentally, emotionally, or physically...that we have gone overboard with our worries.

If you are in a store and speak too loudly to your child or follow through with discipline, you get the judgemental stare-down. If you lose your temper with your child at home the guilt and worry kicks in.(what if I damaged him for life? What if he needs therapy now?) If he watches too much television you are not a good enough parent, if he eats a hotdog you are a bad parent, if he wears an outfit from Gap you're a bad parent (ok, maybe that last one is just me). We seem to believe, as a general rule these days, that we are completely and totally responsible for who our children become.

Do we ever pause to question this theory? Is it all our responsibility as parents to mold and create other human beings like we are gods in our own home?? Is it inherently horrible for our child to spend a day watching tv so we can get some chores done or (gasp) maybe read a book??

Think about humans throughout history. Hell, just think of our parent's generation. Most people had a lot more kids in one household and a great deal more work to get done around the house. Do you think they worried if Johnny eating a peanut butter sandwich for dinner would limit his culinary interests as a man, or if Susy being kept in her playpen for an hour would make her emotionally unavailable? Or if Tommy playing outside for hours, climbing trees, and shooting BB guns would surely wind up as a death call?? I'm guessing the answer is a big "fuck no". They were lucky to survive the day.

Of course I believe in evolution and in each generation doing better than the last. But have we gone too far?? Do we spend too much time worrying and doting over our children, making both them and ourselves out to be Gods?? Is this the latest form of narcissism or just a culture colored with tooo much information and fear?

My advice: give yourself a freaking break!! How many good, loving, non serial killers have you known in your life? And what was their childhood like? You can probably come up with as nuch variety in that answer as a Visit to a Niagara Falls cafe! No parent is perfect. No one is perfect. People are born with certain tempermants, all raised differently, and usually turn out fairly ok. There are obviously exceptions to this including real issues of abuse and manipulation. Most of us, however, love our children and want what is best for them. Otherwise why would we worry so much???

*** I apologize for any grammatical errors as I am typing this on my phone. 😉

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