Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stellar Parenting Moment #4562 with Brock and Johi

Other than those women who claim to eat the placenta after birth, I rarely get irritated with parenting ideas that differ from my own. We are all individuals and our unique ideas and world views deserve a bit of respect! Unless you are an idiot who eats your own afterbirth*.

*Because we only have a few things that separate us from the animals as it is.... like iphones, Slushies and DVRs.

Then I heard of another type of parenting that made me squint my eyes, scrunch my nose and say "Whaaaaat the...?" A friend told me about lady she knew that used a parenting/teaching "style" that involves no leadership directives from the parent. There is no formal schooling, no discipline and no guidance. The parents take a permissive stance as the young child's naturally curious mind navigates their own specific learning process. The child then asks the parent/teacher about a subject and VIOLA!, learning happens!

You know what also happens? The children HAVE NO DECORUM, thus destroying their surroundings like a pack of rabid dogs. And I know this, because my dogs have no boundaries and they are total assholes. They chase cars, sleep on my furniture, bark aggressively at delivery men and chew through drywall. It's a problem. Also, if I let my children solely map out their entire existence, my five year old would still be wearing a diaper (potty training was seriously worse than labor with that one) while watching SpongeBob Squarepants and my two year old would be pulling his brother's hair and laughing maniacally while he smears chocolate into the couch cushions. And they would eat nothing but Popsicles, chips and chocolate rice milk.

Everyone (that was raised on a horse farm in SE Iowa) knows that, like dogs, children love guidance and boundaries! Right? They CRAVE attention! And what better way is there to give children your attention than to show them some sort of a moral code, let them help you do yard work and teach them to read? Much to my husband's chagrin, sometimes I even guide my children through some stellar song and dance maneuvers, just to let them know that their options in life are unlimited. *jazz hands!*

So when Brock returned home from a long day of work and joined me out by the barn, where I was relaxing with a beer in the red plastic Adirondack chairs that we purchased for 17.99, he told me about this "free range parenting" thing that he heard about on talk radio- I immediately thought of four children climbing the curtains, kicking the cat and knocking over the coffee table and exclaimed "Oh! I HATE that!". Then he went on to talk about this woman letting her 9 year old ride the subway alone and I realized that he was talking about this specific woman and I was talking about something entirely different. I was talking about lazy, checked out people who don't want to parent and therefore shouldn't have kids.

Then we clinked our beer bottles together in honor of our long day ending in a slight buzz and I noticed it was quiet and asked, "By the way, where are OUR children?"

Brock replied, "hmmmm..... In the barn?"

I got up and walked around to the barn door, where I saw my adorable spawn playing noiselessly in the wheelbarrow with shovels and water.

I looked at Brock and said, "They have water and are playing in the wheelbarrow. What was in there?
Brock said, "Once dry bags on concrete. I guess I'll be setting that gate post now."

And then, just like we do at least once a week, we ate a big steaming plate of placenta humble pie for dinner.

Parent on, Mother Truckers,
Johi

What style of parenting do you prefer?
What flavor do you add to your humble pie to make it more palatable?









16 comments:

  1. Wait. Was this a plan? Was this one of those projects that you really wanted one, so you set your husband up?

    Either way, somehow, I just want to sit back and applaud the entire conversation.

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    1. If only I had to energy to be that kind of an evil genius!
      We are really something to behold. Fo shizzle.

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  2. I want to see some of those kids who were raised that way as adults. Oh wait, I am looking out the window of my office and I think I see some of them down in the plaza below, playing the drums. They are white and they have dreadlocks.

    I feel the need to clarify the term "free-range parenting" because I think that it has a different meaning, one which I think is pretty admirable and I think both you and I follow the same parenting style - it's basically the OPPOSITE of helicopter parenting, i.e. wrapping your kids in bubble wrap so they never get hurt or actually get to do anything. It's about letting your kids explore and not living in fear of everyone and everything.

    A great blogger and writer I admire, Lenore Skenazy, writes a blog called "Free Range Kids" and it's definitely NOT about letting your kids run wild. I hope the crazy parents who try the "don't discipline or give your kids any boundaries" approach don't try to take over the term Free Range because, fuck, parenting is HARD ENOUGH.

    Check out Lenore, though, if you haven't already. I think you'd like her Johi: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

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    1. I linked to her blog in the post. I was merely confusing the two styles. I think the one that I was initially referring to (and at first confusing with free range kids) is called Taking Children Seriously. But I need to research it a bit more. The example I was given by my friend was extreme and ridiculous.

      I'm definitely not into helicopter parenting and I look forward to spending a little time on Lenore's blog. I wonder if her kids knew how to mix concrete at ages 2 and 5?

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  3. The second I say anything negative about another parent, this sh*t happens to me, too. Lesson learned. Great post.

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    1. Murphy's Law/ KARMA strikes again. Blasted universe!

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  4. Ok. I like to think I'm doing better than free range parenting... But my kids are not exactly well behaved. At all.

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    1. The free range parenting thing does involve discipline. It's the bullshit one that my friend told me about that doesn't. I had gotten them confused.
      And you have boys. They are probably just being boys. (that's what I tell myself about mine....)

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  5. My short people are sleeping in swim trunks because they have no clean pajamas and I let them get whatever they wanted from the food carts today (salad rolls and falafel. . .I have weird shorties). But, they also sat in my office with me for 7 hours today and were so well behaved that half of the university faculty assumed I'd drugged them. I hadn't drugged them. . .maybe myself, but I digress. Point is, we win some and we lose some, but if by the end of the day your child isn't a raging asshole then HUZZAH! You win!

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    1. I am running somewhere in the middle of the pack. Doesn't the insane cuteness count for something though?

      And I love that they slept in swim trunks.

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  6. "no leadership directives from the parent"---Is that code for lazy parents?

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  7. Johi,
    Fun post.....I feel that our kids turned out OK despite Brad and I trying to ruin them. Keep up the good work on your 2 young projects!

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    1. You guys were great parents. I'm not buying that at all. I actually use you as an example of "what to do" and I tell grand stories about you to my friends. I'm even sober when this happens.

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  8. That seems like such a waste - I am on board with Robin - the whole point is to mess them up as much as possible, so why would you be so passive in that? Parents play an active and important role in that. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you. I'm doing my part in that, fo sho.

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