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What Stupid Kind of Parent Are You?

August 24th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

Just yesterday, you were at the playground, chasing little Ayden as he bolted around the jungle gym, keeping a hand outstretched in case he might stumble and fall. Or maybe you were at a middle-school PTA meeting, cowing the other moms and dads into submitting to your field-trip theories. Or perhaps you were at the principal’s office, arguing at length why Carmela, now a 16-year-old junior, needed to be part of the National Honor Society, despite her 2.9 GPA and lack of any extracurricular service deeds. Well, wherever you were, you were a helicopter parent. (Unless you were in Scandinavia, in which case you were a “curling parent.”)

Today, however, as your precious heads off to college and you struggle to detach your identity from theirs, you are now a velcro parent. Congratulations.

This post isn’t really about anything substantive—I’m just fascinated by the way we name parenting styles. Or maybe not fascinated—more like “annoyed.” In the U.S. these days, we often get seduced by the cleverness of a particular phrase, and certain ideas enter the public consciousness based on how outrageous or funny they are, not whether they accurately reflect reality.

Consider another parenting label: the idle parent. Frankly, this is an idea we at Dadwagon can really get behind—just don’t do too much, let the kids organize their own fun, and if you really have to deal with the children, get them to do odd jobs around the house that you don’t want to do yourself. Okay, good! But as an idea, or meme, “idle parent” just doesn’t have the popular currency of “helicopter parent.” Ditto for “slow parenting,” which doesn’t sound quite as sexy as “slow food.” Whereas “free-range kids,” whatever the merit of the idea, is just a fucking awesome moniker.

If it wasn’t 8:30 in the morning and I didn’t have other things to do, I’d come up with my own clever list of catchy parenting styles soon to be brought to you by some local newspaper. But since this is a blog and I need to run, I’m leaving it up to you, my readers: What’s the next ridiculous (and ridiculously catchy) parenting style the New York Times will soon discover?


  1. TheDaddyYoDude says:

    August 24th, 2010at 8:55 am(#)

    I believe it will be the “Sticky Hand That Sticks To the Wall When Thrown” style of parenting. Parents who are quick to launch out and attack others for how they are as parents, but in reality, they are just sticky, nasty, quarter machine toys that will lose the sticking ability after too many launches

  2. Matt says:

    August 24th, 2010at 11:25 am(#)

    Okay, “sticky hand” parenting. I guess that’s got some euphony to it, although it’s not entirely clear at first glance what it means. How about: iParenting? It doesn’t matter what it actually means, so long as people pick up on it and it makes it into headlines.

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