WARNING…this is a VERY OPINIONATED RANT regarding parent shaming.
Read at your own risk!
I’ve been simmering on something a lot lately. I keep telling myself, that because the opinions of onlookers are irrelevant to me, when it comes to my parenting style, I should not give it much thought beyond hearing it or reading it. I’m not the insecure parent I once was.
Then I watched a CBS News broadcast in which Apple Creek PreSchool in Frisco, TX was interviewed about their Kindergarten prep meeting for parents that includes, teaching parents of preschoolers, to be aware of red flags that might be suicidal outcries in their young children when they send them off to Kindergarten.
I GENUINELY applaud Apple Creek for their intention to bring awareness to parents in order to protect children.
But, that is where my applause ends.
Karen Barron from Apple Creek was quoted as saying “Even here at the two, three, and four level, we’re seeing kids that already have anxiety disorders, and we never had that before”
The news reporter went on to paraphrase Barron as saying the problem, she explained, comes from an overprotective urge by parents to save children from their own mistakes and never letting them experience failure. She said it’s not something they see as much in families from lower social-economic backgrounds.
A parent that attended the kindergarten prep meeting explained that “They (families from lower social-economic backgrounds) had their own problems but not the same as the suicide outcries in kindergarten. They’re not seeing that. That’s because they’re held more accountable for what they need to do to get by in life”
At that point, I became infuriated. Seriously?! I’m sorry, and what were the credentials of the person that determined that little parenting slam?
Watching it stirred up the feelings I felt while reading or hearing all of the other parent shaming articles on things like helicopter parenting, how a generation is being over praised causing them to not leave home, giving every child a trophy for showing up rather than making them earn it, all of which I had cavalierly chosen to ignore.
First, let me remind you of times parents were blamed for their child’s differences only to later discover the parents were not the cause.
Schizophrenia was first thought to be caused by the “schizophrenogenic mother” and was later debunked
Autism was first thought to be caused by “refrigerator mothers” also later debunked
When you look a little closer at all the latest reports about over-parenting and the damage it’s done, they are actually just showing a “correlation” between what they label over parenting and adult children not pushing themselves…but there is no proof of “causality.” It’s still just a theory. One that doesn’t consider a number of other factors in a generation of young adults lives
Second – don’t EVEN get me started on Helicopter VS Free Range (too late!)
I was a child of Free Range & responsible parents. ***and this is in NO WAY intended to say that MY Free Range parents did something wrong…they didn’t know, what they didn’t know***
As a result of said free range…”be home before the street lights come on,” I was sexually molested at an early age for almost a year and later at 15 raped. I was a drug addict by 16. My parents were unaware of any of it until I asked for help before my 18th birthday. I had entirely too much time on my hands without the maturity and wisdom to protect myself and SURPRISE not all of it was spent riding my bike around the neighborhood.
Obviously I am NOT REPRESENTATIVE of the entire generation, but I would venture to guess that many of the “helicopter” parents that had “free range” parents INTENTIONALLY CHANGED THEIR PARENTING STYLE AS A RESULT OF THEIR EXPERIENCES IN LIFE.
Which leads me to number three! The issue of giving every kid a trophy for showing up.
AGAIN, I speak ONLY for myself when I say that I’m SO INSANELY FRUSTRATED at the constant rhetoric about only rewarding the few over achievers and not the WHOLE TEAM, without whose support they would not have had an opportunity to overachieve. And the constant stance that you need to push kids to achieve more.
Here is why…
About half way through my career life, there was a meeting called and everyone in our large company was told that no longer could everyone achieve “excellent” or “superior” review scores regardless of what they might have seen in the past. That despite the companies continued success and our continued hard work, we should not all be expecting excellent or superior review scores as they would only be given to the best and brightest overachievers. Since bonus structure was based on review scores, they in turn lowered bonuses for most of the workforce. The theory was that “satisfactory” or “achieved” was what MOST people SHOULD be getting. Our schooling and work force are both based on a bell curve grading scale. Intellegence is measured by it. Grades are measured by it. And “Satisfactory” reviews are to be the expectation for most!
No more were the days that your work performance rating was based on your personal year over year comparison to yourself and in line with the companies overall success. It was now intended to reflect the bell curve of the average. It was the equivalent of saying…we used to give trophy’s to everyone that contributed together to help our company (insert team here) to win! Now we only give it to the top percent and the rest of you average people will get much less if anything.
Now explain to me (don’t really, I wouldn’t care what your answer is right now because I’m too angry) if that is the mentality in both school and work, why are we pissed off that people aren’t striving to over achieve? Didn’t we just tell them to accept that fact that 80% of them are only going to achieve at a rate of “satisfactory” or “acceptable”?
COULD IT BE…that both school and work environments in this generation have actually lowered the bar for our children and hurt their self esteem by focusing not on their individual betterment year over year, but constantly comparing themselves to their peers. Do you know how crushing that is for the 80% that will never be considered “excellent” regardless of their improvement year over year….really? Why bother?
Maybe, the trophy for everyone who helped the team, in one form or another, was a parents way of trying to incent them to show up? Because, without everyone present, the team would forfeit and then the over achievers couldn’t over achieve, now could they?
It’s at the University level too, with the current message to high-schoolers being that they are only accepting the higher achieving, well rounded students. Students that keep the GPA up, while choosing challenging (AP or Honors) curriculum and being involved in extra curricular activities.
So, say your a C+ student in general level courses…which again…with a bell curve…there are going to be C students…and say you’ve been pulled out of extra curricular activities until you achieve higher grades…shouldn’t you just give up on the idea of going to a university?
I’m almost done…I swear
One last thing about the comments made by Ms. Barron “Even here at the two, three, and four level, we’re seeing kids that already have anxiety disorders, and we never had that before”
Do you remember when Autism was 1 in 2000…way, way back in the 70’s and 80’s???
Then suddenly the numbers have multiplied exponentially and now we see 1 in 50.
Do you think perhaps the rapid increase of Childhood On-set Anxiety…another Brain Difference….might be caused by something other than just parenting???
I’m sick to death of the parent shaming that continues to go on in our society despite the number of times society and even doctors were WRONG!
Ok, I think I’m done now.
Thanks for letting me vent.
***A special note for Internet Trolls who feel the need to respond with anything other than respectful differences of opinion… 1. I don’t care what you think and 2. Be sure to thank me for giving you a something to spew your soulless hatred at***