Saturday, July 7, 2012

adultolescents + snowplow parenting

I read this piece in the last New Yorker and was so relieved someone has articulated what I'm observing!
Another article on xojane about being an "adultolescent" isn't nearly as good, and I think insofar as the author was responding to the New Yorker piece, it didn't really succeed on that level. But then I've been saying for years that I live like an adolescent, and I don't really see the problem with it. I guess the difference is I have resources and I'm not sponging off my parents. And actually I've earned my own money since I was 12 and my own living since I was 22 (ie; completely supporting myself); so I guess there isn't really any shame in this prolonged adolescence.
I'm not holding myself up as an example but the family I was raised in definitely valued EARNING A LIVING, and it was pretty clear to me that without the skills to do so, I was going to be fucked.

Getting back to the New Yorker piece, I really liked it, she kind of reviews 3 books at once that all pertain to changing patterns of parenting and implications for kids growing up. Which are huge. I can't imagine having a grown kid living with me, I think that would have to be really difficult for everyone. I lived with my parents for about a month when I first returned from the US to work in Toronto, and in that one month I nearly lost my mind. I remember there were low flying helicopters shining lights into the backyards in suburban north Scarborough, looking for some fucking night crawling rapist. And I had just returned to Toronto from NY where I felt completely safe walking around alone at 3am, because there are just always PEOPLE everywhere, to this crazy klieg lights in the yard and rapist on the loose stuff, and truly felt unsafe walking from the busstop to my parents' house, because it was always so DARK and desolate, and I have an active imagination....

Anyway, I do worry when I see peers parenting in this overly solicitous manner where kids get to make choices about everything they do, wear, make, eat, when to go to bed etc; and there don't seem to be any consequences (are consequences just too fucking TIRING?) I don't know. I was in a clothing store today and there was a mom with a 4 or so year old, who was lying on the floor, kicking garments on a rack and screaming like a banshee, and this woman was calmly trying to explain to him that "When you're older, you'll realize that it's pretty silly to lie on the floor....." etc etc. Eventually the kid jumped up and began tearing around the store, looking absolutely enraged, before getting tangled in something and falling down. All I could think was I would DIE of embarrassment if that were my kid. Easy for me to say. Whatever, maybe it's not time for shopping when your 4 year old is gearing up for meltdown.

The NY article has a funny thing about 'helicopter parenting' where the parent I guess hovers around to ensure the child is coping etc etc, and then coined the term 'snowplow parenting' for a newer style where the parent tries to shove any and all obstacles out of their kids way.

Well, I'm not a breeder so I guess I can't say anything (because not having kids makes your powers of observation weaker I guess).

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