Is it good to be a "bad parent?"
If any of us were actually talking about true and utter neglect of our children, physical or emotional abuse, or any conduct that consistently fails to meet the needs of a child, then the answer would certainly be no.
But when "bad parenting" is broached in a context such as Andrea Gordon's annual overview of parenting trends, that's simply not what we're dealing with at all.
As Andrea qualifies when she places "bad parenting" under the banner of "what's in," she's addressing parenting "sins" that include "buying non-organic baby food, yelling on occasion or being messy housekeepers." Or rather, the authors, bloggers and other influencers who wave the "bad parenting" flag are talking about these moments of parenting imperfection. And with some irony, given that these very authors and bloggers are thoughtful enough about parenting to write about it.
To me this is about a social and psychic pendulum swing back from the hyperparenting that characterized the past two decades. No longer do I feel the need to discuss at length with other moms the various extra-curricular offerings in the Parks and Rec guide and feel like I failed my child if I lost the speed-dialing lottery on teleregistration day. I won't engage in conversations with that slightly competitive undercurrent about who is enforcing more academic learning outside of school hours. I've matured beyond that and frankly, I never felt comfortable with that sort of thing one-upmomship.
New information about the importance of attachment parenting about 20 years ago collided with an explosion in (often conflicting) parenting advice available on bookstore shelves and at our fingertips on the internet. And if it made many of us a little batty and stressed at the outset of our parenting journeys, maybe it's not so bad that today we're a little more able to share our tough moments.
Also part of that pendulum swing - plus the reality of a recession - frugality is playing a bigger role in the values we're raising our children with today.
You may also be interested in: