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  • October 22, 2014

Parent Trap - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

Parent Trap

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:42 pm, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

So, I was watching a national morning news show last week—you know, the one with the girl with too much makeup, the short guy with thinning hair and three has-been stars from the '90s. Anyway, in between the stories on teen-friendly lunches and senior-friendly dinners—both presumably served at the same time—there was a segment on parenting trends. Well, I set my leftover pizza slice down and took notice. God knows when it comes to parenting, I need to know what I am not doing that would be wrong if I were doing it.

Cranky (15), Whiny (14) and Punch (12) could use some solid discipline…or am I being too hard on them? Who knows? Hence, the parenting advice. My parenting books were lost in a fire many years ago. Well, to be fair I couldn’t get the grill started, so suffice it to say, the books are gone. Frankly, with a new crop of problems breathing down my neck like proms and drivers and standardized tests and dating, I could use some words of wisdom.

Turns out the new trend in parenting styles is this: slacker parenting. That’s right, you just sit back and let the Titanic hit the iceberg. Well, then. I would like to state for the record that I have been trying to get people on board with this strategy for years. If there was a mom at the playground without a juice box, it was me. The point is, five years ago, the child-rearing style du jour was 'helicopter parenting,' then came 'the tiger mom.' If you can’t guess from the names, they are very hands-on methods. Believe me when I say the dioramas that got handed in for school projects were extremely high-quality.

Now we’re all supposed to take a step back; let them screw up their homework, clean their own rooms, fulfill their own mandated community service hours--presumably all in an effort to produce successful, self-sufficient children. That is the end game, after all. There are no participation trophies in life. That’s ridiculous. Who would even give them out?

Did you ever notice there are no self-help books for kids on how to be a healthy, productive child? (Well, there probably are, but you see my point.) Our children aren’t sitting around the lunch table at school discussing childing styles. Sorry, Annie, I can’t trade my apple for your pear, you didn’t wash it and germs are trending. Really, kids just follow their instincts. They forage, hunt and gather. They fight or they flee. Maybe they can survive--even thrive--without our constant interference. I could look into it; but apparently, I’m supposed to be slacking.

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