Do you try to avoid spending money on tons of extra things your kids don't really need? Don't call yourself frugal, call yourself on-trend: you're part of the minimalist parenting way of being. Sure, saving cash by not filling every room in your house with the latest battery-powered Fisher-Price Blat-N-Learn may sound like a fairly basic concept, but you guys, it's totally cutting edge. It's a Pinterest-friendly lifestyle movement. (And if you're a thrifty dad, you can officially call yourself a manimalist.)
I feel like every week I hear about some brand-new method of raising kids, but when I actually learn what the term means, it's not particularly groundbreaking at all. What's with our annoying tendency to lump diverse parenting choices into one specific buzzword, I wonder? (Aside from the fact that it drives advice book sales, of course.)
If you're not sure what I mean, here are 5 more examples of "parenting trends" that sound WAY more complicated than they really are.
Fancy trend: Mindful Parenting
Mindful parenting is a practice that helps us to make the best discipline choices. It's rooted in brain science and provides easy to implement tools and practices to helps us feel calmer, become more focused and efficient, and be more engaged with the people around us at home, at work, and at school. At its heart, it's the conscious decision to slow down and focus on the present.
Translation: "I totally look up from my phone in order to pay attention to my children. On the reg."
Fancy trend: French Parenting
Bringing Up Bébé author Pamela Druckerman advises that we try to be more like French parents, who "assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this." The idea is that French parents provide their children with more boundaries and better encourage their independence, because "discipline" is replaced by "educating."
Translation: "I enjoy sweeping generalizations about other cultures almost as much as I yearn to argue over semantics. Also, I bought this book."
Fancy trend: The "[Random Animal Name] Mom"
Offered as an alternative to the much-discussed Tiger Mom style of strict parenting, the Eagle Mom wants to “teach her children how to fly and then let them fly freely.” According to a group of 2,600+ BabyCenter parents in China and America, the Tiger Mom ("stern and restrictive") was at the bottom of the animal-association list, finishing behind Kangaroo ("super protecting, do everything for your child") and Lion ("force child to be totally independent once he/she becomes an adult") -- and only ahead of Ostrich ("give child free rein").
Translation: "I took part in a dumb survey that compares my parenting style to a marsupial/mammal/bird."
Fancy trend: BLW (Baby Led Weaning)
Baby-led weaning is the practice of trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, of want, of self-knowledge, and of self-limitation. It offers parents and their children a natural, relaxed approach to the introduction of natural, wholesome real foods.
Translation: "I usually just give my baby chunks of whatever I'm eating. Unless it's, like, jalapeño beef jerky."
Fancy trend: RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers)
Created by infant-development expert Magda Gerber in 1973, RIE is all about giving babies more independence and respect. Parents are instructed to carry on long, adult conversations with their pre-verbal infants, and practicers are philosophically opposed to anything that disrespects a baby's true nature, including sippy cups, high chairs, baby gyms, pacifiers, toys, baby carriers, and swaddles. RIE parents don't stop babies from crying, because that would teach them to repress their emotions ... nor do they interfere with misbehavior, out of respect for the child.
What's your favorite parenting-trend-that's-not-really-a-trend?
Image via moran/Flickr