Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hip to Be Cool

What defines "cool" when it comes to parenting? And does cool equal leniency?

If you asked my girls, they'd say I let them listen to loud music in the car and let them stay up late with their friends. Or as Gracey put it, "Well, you are just fun! Me and my friends like to do stuff with you."

Billy says he loves that I always plan trips and find ways to see him. And he thinks it was pretty cool that we bought Gracey a laptop and handed down my old iPhone to her.

But what is the difference in being cool in your kids eyes - and just unconventional parenting choices?

Be honest. We all want our kids to think we are still hip. The last thing you want to hear from your kid is that you dress like an old lady - or that you listen to "old people" music. But I'd like to think the things making me seem cool aren't things I've contrived to do. They are just part of my ultra-cool self. You know?

I don't want to have to allow them to do the things I disagree with in order to gain their favor. I think a healthy amount of "no" is essential to being a good a parent. Boundaries may seem uncool - but in the long run, they just keep it all in check.

And that being it possible to overstep the bounds when trying to be a "cool" parent? Does too much effort only make you seem cool to the kids who want the freedom to do whatever they want, when they want?

I often wonder if those who give their 3 year old a mohawk are doing it because the child begged to wear his hair that way - or if they just want to make a statement. "I'm so cool that I am going to buck the system and give my toddler a mohawk."  I actually have a friend whose son wears his hair in a modified mohawk and has for years. And if you knew her, you'd know that it's the personality she has instilled in her child more than anything. She didn't do it when he was a little bitty kid just to make some sort of society-thumbing statement.

And what about those who pay for their teenagers to undergo plastic surgery? Or take them to get tattoos? Is that 'buying' them off? Is it making them think you are the coolest parent on the block? I'm here to tell you now that I won't be helping Gracey augment her breasts or ink her body while she is still a minor. It goes against every parental bone in my body. When she is paying her own bills, and is of age to legally do it by herself, then I'll certainly respect her decision. But until then, I won't be joining that group of parents.

Generally speaking, I won't support any skanky clothing choices for my kids either. (And I know some would argue that my girls wearing bikinis since the young age of 6 months is inappropriate - but whatever.) No daisy dukes or super low cut blouses for my preteen. And honestly I think we've raised our kids to think twice about those kind of clothing faux pas anyway. (Please, Dear Lord, don't let that comment come back and bite me in a few years.)

So....I guess I'll just be glad my kids appreciate my open door policy on any topic any time. And that they aren't treating me like I'm a boring old fart - yet.


Anonymous said...

Can you see my name on here? No? Then here is my totally anonymous, unbiased comment: I can tell by what you wrote (and not because I have any personal stake in it) that Billy would think you were SUPER cool if you planned a trip to see him a month.

LeslieGoldman said...

I seriously hope bikinis at age 8 is not considered skanky, b/c I bought my newborn niece one when she was less than a year old. What a cool aunt/bad influence I am :-)

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