Parenting Predictions: The Top Three Parenting Trends for 2009
Here are my picks for the top three parenting trends for 2009.
The Year of the Parent Activist
2009 will be the year of the parent activist.
Now don't get me wrong. Parents have always been activists: the ones organizing playground fundraisers and food-drives at schools; advocating for their kids' within the educational, social service, and/or health care systems (a slightly crazy-making experience at the best of times); and showing up at city hall en masse to work for the betterment of their neighborhoods.
But we'll see that mom-and-dad activist activity ramp up like never before as the 60's-style citizen activist and political movement from south of the border catch fire up here as well.
Frankly, it can't come quickly enough -- at a time like this when economic change is fast-moving and ruthless and the environment is being seriously harmed; we need to reinvent our cities and suburbs; social justice issues are demanding attention; and one of our most valued sources of information is under siege -- again.
Who can afford the luxury of standing on the sidelines at a time like this?
As Dan Carter, a one-person activist movement based out of hard-hit Oshawa, likes to put it: the time is now. In other words, if you're waiting for the economy to improve to start working for change, forget about it. Bad times are the best times to work for change. (Watch for my profile of Dan in my next column.)
A Get-Real, Let's-Work-Together Parenting Style
Parents will continue to gravitate to what can best be described as a progressive parenting style.
This style has been emerging since the mid-1980s and now it has become a full-blown parenting movement that recognizes that all family members, especially children, deserve to be treated with respect; and that family life is immensely richer when relationships are based on love, not fear.
This style of parenting recognizes that there are real problems to be deal with in our society and in our families and that the only way to deal with these problems is by acknowledging that they exist (as opposed to playing ostrich).
This style of parenting is consultative rather than dictatorial (input from all family members is sought, where appropriate: the three year old doesn't get to choose her bedtime because she doesn't have the same understanding of child development as the grownups who've been given the privilege and responsibility of raising her); and parents welcome input from a variety of sources so that they can benefit from a variety of ideas and then decide what will work best for their families.
Celebrity Baby Bumplets
The celebrity baby bumps will dwindle into celebrity baby bumplets. Consider what this LA plastic surgeon had to say about the nouveaux conceived recently: "Women are just not gaining as much weight as they used to. Particularly in LA - you can't even tell they're pregnant." That will either increase the pressure on ordinary moms to look freakishly non-pregnant from conception through delivery day -- and to bounce back Hollywood-style. (That means with the help of a nutritionist, a personal trainer, and -- if necessary -- a post-baby "mommy makeover" plastic surgery package.) Or it may convince ordinary moms that celebrity pregnancy has finally gone to far. (Or not far enough on the weight gain front.)