Some of you may have already read the recent article in Time Magazine regarding “Helicopter Parenting” and the many blog posts and articles that have since been written in support and to dispute the piece. Well I couldn’t help myself and had to chime in with my own question regarding the many different types of parenting that are constantly being praised and disputed these days, which is what about just plain old parenting?
Does everything we do, as parents have to have a label? It seems that as parents we can’t catch a break. No matter what we do we’re faced with someone telling us why we are wrong for doing it.
Take the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing. So what if we hover more than previous generations? We are the same 30-year-old kids raised in the first generation of “stranger danger.” We had key words and watched some of the most high profile kidnappings in America unfold right in front of us on television. Michaela Garrett, Adam Walsh, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff (I’ll take extra overprotective credit for THREE of those high profile cases being near my own community and around my own age). Of course we are careful about where our kids go and what they do.
I’m not going to apologize for being overprotective in this world. According to the World Health Organization Global cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020. So YES, of course I’m going to be aware of what kind of chemicals are in products I’m buying and feeding my kids on. And YES I’m going to be uptight about car seats and BPA plastic filled bottles.
But is there a line? Articles like the one in Time got me thinking. OF COURSE there is a line between being protective and being extreme (doing your kids homework and stalking their coaches). I try to avoid judging other people’s parenting choices. It’s important to me that all moms, especially new moms, feel strong and secure in the choices they make that make sense for their family.
Fads in Parenting
Now I of course don’t condone moms wrapping their kids in bubble wrap and keeping them safely protected until after college graduation (though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind) but I urge moms to trust their instincts and ignore the fads in parenting choices.
Don’t skip out on Vaccines just because you heard someone say those vaccines are going to give your child autism. Read up first. Read about the increase in childhood diseases, read about the research that has debunked the autism studies and decide THAT WAY. Don’t decide to breastfeed or not to breastfeed based on what all your girlfriends from high school did with their kids. Make that decision based on what works for you and your baby. And unless the advice is coming from someone who actually sleeps in your house every night, ignore anyone who tells you where you and your kids should be sleeping. It’s your house, your bed, and your sleep.
And to mom’s who judge, shut up. Just because a mom chooses not to fill every waking moment with extra curricular activities doesn’t make her less of a mom than you. And hey homebody moms, just because a mom DOES take part in every volunteer event and extracurricular team sport in your city doesn’t make her an overbearing judgmental mom. So bite your lip.
Stop judging ladies and please stop making your parenting decisions based on what’s cool at the time. My God, we are the generation of feathered hair and acid wash jeans. We put Vanilla Ice at the top of the charts for God’s sake. We cannot be trusted as a group when it comes to what’s in and what’s not. So decide for yourself. Skip the biased blogs and websites, read a few medical journals. And I don’t know… ask your pediatrician maybe…
We will all have bad days as moms. We will all momentarily lose our child in a crowd and have an instant of dread. We will all yell at our child over something stupid once in a while. We all make wrong choices. So, don’t judge. Just do the best you can. And don’t be ashamed when you grab your older child’s hand in a crowd. Forgive yourself when you lose it and offer your child an extra mile of patience next time. And when you make a bad choice, learn from it and move on.
What kind of parenting style do I follow in my house? The Best–I-Can Parenting. And that’s all there really is.