I embrace the “new age” parenting style. I have no idea what that means…only that it must mean I am not an “old age” parent which is the category my own mom must fall under. In some ways we are a lot alike. I hear her in myself when I shush the kids while I’m on the phone or when I scream at them to brush their teeth for the fifth hundredth time.
“IF I HAVE TO ASK YOU ONE MORE TIME YOU’RE ALL GOING TO BE PUNISHED REALLY REALLY BADLY!!”
What makes me “new age” is that I embraced the new concepts of “listening to your children” and “respecting their choices” when I brought kids into this world. Concepts that I guarantee my mom is chuckling at as she reads this. Not to say she didn’t respect us, but those old school parents were not interested in giving children a whole lot of power. You just did what you were told dammit.
The new age parents talk it out, we listen to our kids, we reason with our kids, we get down to their level, we count to five, we have naughty chairs, and we give out second chances.
The old school parents avoided that song and dance altogether. They said ‘no’ and ‘go play’ and ‘stop hitting your sister in the head with your cabbage patch kid!’ Everything was just because they said so. The End. PERIOD!
New Age parents want kids to feel heard. We want them to feel acknowledged. We are careful not to kill their spirit. We don’t want to push them to do things they’re not comfortable doing while our old age counterparts shoved our unwilling bodies right into Great Grandpa Albert and his missing teeth for hugs goodbye.
Because it was the respectful thing to do.
I have fantastic relationships with my kids. Every weekend is molded around activities I think they will enjoy. We have zoo and museum passes. I know the daily schedules of our local skating rink, pool, and library by heart. I have bookmarked and saved special events to water parks, train rides, fairs and festivals. Everything I do is aimed at giving them the best childhood they could ever dream of.
But I sit here defeated.
My latest conversation with my four year old going something like this, “Are you eating another cookie? I asked you to leave the cookies alone! You’ve had three cookies already today and you climbed all the way up the pantry to sneak more? That. Is. Not. OKAY! You go put that cookie back right now. Kainoa? I asked you to put the cookie back. Are you going to put the cookie back? You have THREE seconds to put the cookie back this INSTANT! One….two…KAINOA! Make the right choice! Are you going to make the right choice son? ”
I could go on.
But I’m annoying myself all over again.
You know what worked?
I finally snatched the damn cookie from his hand and yelled “I SAID NO” and “GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!”
And guess what?
He’s in his room.
And I’m alone. Watching Oprah re-runs. Eating his cookies.
Our Old Age parents knew what they were doing.