Aaaah yes, the life of the modern parent. Another day, another raft of articles aiming a square-toed kick in the crotch to those of us who have dared use that area of our bodies to breed with. Hold on to your hysteria, parents: there is a new book in town and it’s calling you all “crap”.
The headlines looked like this:
Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg lashes out against ‘crappy parenting’
“Crap” Australian parents raising a generation of spoilt brats
Australian parents doing CRAP job
(I mean, were the caps REALLY necessary? We get it.)
Australian psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has a new book coming out: it’s called “Strictly Parenting”, and his marketing and media campaign seems to have revolved around the unusual core strategy of belittling its target market. According to Dr Carr-Gregg, the rise in poorly-behaved children can be attributed to these cardinal parenting sins: helicoptering, hot-housing, bubble-wrapping, best-friending, trophying and wanting our children to be happy.
Good god, alert the authorities. Crappy parent wants her children to be happy!
Maybe I am biased because I have a son starting school next year so I figure that I fall squarely into this dubious category, but to be honest, I’m not seeing plague-like swarms of these so-called crappy parents at swimming and story time and in the school yard. What I am seeing is a lot of somewhat confused yet well-intentioned parents doing the best they can to guide, nurture and set boundaries for their children in the face of an overwhelming avalanche of advice, doctrine, over-analysis and judgement.
There will always be genuinely “crap” parents who would never dream of cracking the spine on a parenting resource book, the same way that “non-crap” parents will forever be showered with condescending advice from experts telling them that they are doing it all wrong. And as much as I think there is significant merit in many of the points Dr Carr-Gregg raises, I think it’s a shitty low-blow to slur an entire generation of parents with a label that undermines and shames our struggles to raise our children the best way we know how, with the limited time and resources we have at our disposal.
This is a generation of people who were often flogged with belts and other household items as children in the name of discipline, had their mouths washed out with bars of soap and were often times left unsupervised to fend for themselves in ways that are now considered negligent and illegal. To turn around and berate these very same people for their so-called “crappy” parenting choices burns to say the least.
Putting the questionable term “crappy” aside for a moment, I can think of a whole bunch of other “c” words that aptly convey some of the contradictions and quandaries of the modern parenting experience.
I see parents who are:
Confused by conflicting advice.
Criticised for every perceived mistake.
Condescended to by armchair experts.
Constantly scrutinised for every decision.
It’s little wonder that parents these days are basket-cases of uncertainty and guilt, and into the fray charges Dr Michael Carr-Gregg with his surefire solution to this overload of modern parenting advice, which is – you guessed it – the suggestion to buy his book of modern parenting advice. I can’t help but be amused by the irony.
All criticism aside, from what I can fathom of the contents I think that Dr Carr-Gregg’s thought-provoking work has much to recommend it, and despite my whiny rant here I will be one of those people lining up to read it.
But please don’t call us crap parents.
We take that shit personally.
Linking up with the Monday Laugh Link crew.