If you asked for the short list of celebrity moms who I would want to hang with, Jennifer Garner would be right near the top. Maybe it's because we have daughters who are just about the same age. Or maybe it's because she seems so refreshingly normal coming out of crazy Hollywood.
So I was kind of surprised to hear the star who plays a mom in the new family flick The Odd Life of Timothy Green admit she doesn't parent like her parents. They did such a good job with her, I had to wonder: why not?
Jen (come on, she's just like us, I can call her that, right?) compared herself to her character, Cindy Green, who is kind of all up in son Timothy's business (in a nice kind of way) and admitted it wasn't that hard to play the role. After all, Jennifer Garner hovers too. She even described herself as a, gulp, helicopter parent:
That’s just the time we’re all in now. We’re all so focused on our kids and I’m sure it’s too much. I think back and I realize my parents gave me a lot of space to become who I was and to be quirky and they didn’t really worry about it too much.
OK, so helicopter parent sounds bad, but Jen doesn't.
In fact, now that I think about it, she's right. As much as I would say I tend to mirror some of the parenting principles that my Mom and Dad used when they were raising me, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of things that I do differently. Some because I disagree with my parents, but as Jen says, many of the differences come simply because the times have changed.
When I was a child, kids didn't have playdates so I didn't have playdates. Today, kids do, and mine does. When I was my daughter's age, there was no Internet. Today there is, and I've had to learn to make my own rules to go with it.
Being a helicopter parent, in some ways, is just part of the way life is now. I wouldn't say I hover, but I certainly can't let my kid free-wheel the way I did because of safety.
When your parenting styles are distinctly different from the way you were raised, it can be easy for grandparents to feel insulted. "What? Didn't we do a good enough job?" they ask.
But I think the uber talented, immensely successful Jennifer Garner, of all moms out there, shows that parents can do a good job ... and their kids may still need to follow a new path.
How much of your parenting would you say comes from your parents?
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