What is about our generation that insists on creating unnecessary social pressure on parents? As if it is not hard enough to be parent, we now have a media watchdog looking over us waiting for us to throw it a bone so it can eat it right up. It seems like everyday a new study is released informing parents of yet another thing you are doing to screw up your child. When we were growing up, it wasn’t this way. Our parents didn’t have so many rules, regulations and social norms dictating our upbringing. I mean, shit, we didn’t even sit in-car seats. They were simply something the one-percenters could purchase for ‘optional’ safety. I think the only parenting book out there was that of Dr. Sears, and no one had time to read it anyways because they were too busy working (at least mine were). Daycare was not frowned upon, as it is now, nor was watching Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street considered neglectful or taboo. Now, I am not saying all things “back-in-the-day” were better. I mean, spanking was considered the disciplinary norm, for Pete sake. However, it would be nice to be able to purchase jar-ed baby food and not feel guilty because it is not organic, or firmly speak to your childs misbehaviors in public without fear of a visit from CPS.
How much of social pressure is self-created? Well, if you are anything thing like me, probably a good 80%. I live in a very, child-centered, eco-friendly town filled with research-based professors and stay-at-home mom’s. Now, I am not down playing medias role in all of this. We are inundated with child related information on a daily basis throughout all media forms. For example, the 5 o’clock news story about the ‘new’ way you should tell your child “you love them” to ensure maximum security (okay, I made this up, but you catch my drift). Or how about, the new plastic available for $10 more dollars that won’t cause cancer (isn’t all BPA free the same?). Better yet, the best most safest car seat to ever be produced just came on the market and” if you don’t purchase it, you are a horrible parent”. Come on! I am all for instilling security and safety for my child, but enough is enough. It is hard enough to be parent, right? I think we, parents, want the best for our children and are willingly to do whatever that takes, in reason. If you don’t, than maybe you should be expecting a visit from CPS, and you should probably stop having children. Just a suggestion. When telling my mother of the most recent findings surrounding some topic of child-rearing that I just learned in one of my daughter’s preschool parent classes, she always replies with strong confidence, “we didn’t do that, and you turned out just fine”. I think there is some truth to that statement, but I think she, as many of the older generations, forget that we live in different times. Times, that are constantly changing and debunking many old adages they were once taught. Times that EVERYTHING is on the internet, and with a click of your mouse, or a touch on your smart phone, you can self-doubt anything you have ever done, think you or child is dying of some terminal illness, or question the food, drinks or clothes you are putting in/on their bodies. It would be nice to think that what you are doing, is not messing them up. They will turn out just fine. Nothing a comfy couch and a therapist can’t fix anyway. As I just learned in my most recent parenting class, If you are a good enough parent, “we only get it right about 1/3 of the time…and that’s enough for a healthy relationship” (Parenting with Emotional Intelligence”, by Mitchel Adler). Sounds easy enough for me! I wish someone would have mentioned that sooner. Now, I can ease the reins on my nerotises and media watchdog. Hopefully, you can to. Don’t be so hard on yourself…we are all doing the best we can, right?