“Parenting is overrated. A secret for child-rearing success: do less http://theatln.tc/ifc4ae #longreads”
The Atlantic‘s tweet makes it sound as though we don’t have to parent, because nature takes care of most of it. In fact, if we try hard, we’re screwing them up. But the article says different. The article says if we do everything we’ll screw them up. If we are perfect, our kids will suffer.
No risk of that here. I’m not trying that hard. And I’m failing with a nice steady rhythm that would back a hot hiphop routine.
But I was all prepared to let up a little. Twitter promised me a parenting vacation, seeing as how all my attention was killing my children’s future potential. I had a lot of reading to catch up on, so I was willing to try lounging and reading and ignoring.
But all Lori Gottlieb argues, really, is that overprotecting children, carefully directing and managing their every moment makes for unhappy future adults. Duh. If you don’t let them feel disappointment, handle their own sorrow, wallow a bit in a stew of lonliness and marginalization, we rob them of coping skills.
Who are these parents who have so much time they can get them invited to every party and armwrestle teachers into better grades? I can barely get three meals and two snacks into them. I can barely get books back to the library within ten dollars of their due dates. I can’t even remember their jackets half the time. How the hell am I gonna micromanage their emotional lives to spare them disappointment? Please.
I’d be happy to back off more, except that if I back up much further I’ll need binoculars to see them grow up. My goal is not to make life perfect for these amazing, sweet, interesting, wonderful little boys. My goal is to give them every chance to figure out who they are and what’s important to them. To offer them what I can and have them make the rest for themselves.
So I felt betrayed by The Atlantic, whose tweet had promised a parenting vacation of novels and bonbons. But I couldn’t hold a grudge because an hour or so later I got really mad at Rolling Stone.
I saw in a Rolling Stone piece that Michele Bachmann was raised by two lifelong Democrats. Too much parenting? Not enough parenting? All I’m saying is that what keeps me up at night is that if we try really hard and parent in earnest, and then wind up with a borderline psychopath for our efforts, I’ll have to explain myself to Rolling Stone. In an issue with a reinvented, 80-year-old Madonna on the cover.