Beth-Anne’s Favourite Post From 2013: The Marketing of Parenting

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Over-praising.

Special snowflakes.

Attachment parenting.

Ferber.

Tiger moms.

Resilience.

Parenting buzz-words are heard on the playground, read on the front pages of newspapers and discussed over lattes and text messages.  You’d best be aware of the latest trend or your child is in danger of winding up on a therapist’s couch at 28 years old unable to zip up her own coat, completely incapable of having a meaningful relationship and an absolute super-star at everything from singing acapella to sewing Christmas stockings and roasting a leg of lamb.

Really?

Keeping up with the latest parenting methodology is a little like keeping up with those Joneses.  The pendulum is in constant motion, swinging liberally from latchkey to helicopter.  We praise too much, we encourage too little.  We hold the reins too tight; we let them grow up too fast.  There is always something that we are doing wrong and there is always someone quick to point out the error of our ways.

We’re suckers for it.

Sadly parenting, like everything else from yoga to book clubs, has been expertly packaged, merchandized and publicized.  Smiling experts with more letters after their names than we can decipher, look down at us from their glossy book covers and claim to have all of the answers.

And for the most part guilt-ridden parents eat it up because no one wants to fuck-up raising their kids.  No one.

And marketers know this.

In my paltry six years of parenting, I have learned a lot, mostly that I won’t know all of the answers but I am not helpless.

In those early years, before making any decision, I would consult “the books”, and scan the Internet.  Terrified of making the wrong decision and being on the receiving end of furtive glances from the other moms in the playgroup, I would appease my anxiety with research.

And the beauty of the bookshelves brimming over with those parenting experts?  If you’re thorough enough you can always find someone to agree with you.

Danusia Lapinski, a Montreal-based parenting coach, suggests that when it comes to parenting ideology parents “have to decide if it’s right for you.  If it resonates with your values and needs.  Everyone’s different and you have to question the ideas you hear.”  (globe and mail)

There are a handful of parenting experts whom I turn to when I am seeking guidance or a helpful suggestion and these experts do echo the values and beliefs that my husband and I hold as our gold standard.

Whenever I am in doubt, I think about my sons as grown men.  I think about the character traits that I believe make up good men: persistence, work ethic, curiosity, compassion, passion, self-control and kindness and I ask myself, am I helping or hurting their chances of growing up to be the best men that they have the potential to become?

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65 thoughts on “Beth-Anne’s Favourite Post From 2013: The Marketing of Parenting

  1. I am not yet a parent, but I think about what type of one I want to be and fear screwing up. I love the part of this- the thinking of your kids in the future and who you want them to be. Never heard that before, and it’s awesome! Have to remember. : ) Thanks!

  2. Now that our daughter has entered her 20’s I am truly impressed with her current mental and emotional grow surge. I see all the fun she’s having at community college and her first job. Those personal values we live as parents, well, they are coming up ROSES!

  3. I even find that family can be the worst commentators, particularly when there is a generation gap to contend with. We are very firmly all about doing what feels right, and if we are all happy then we are onto a winner.

  4. I remember reading about various parenting styles and, while they had a lot of differences, I was amazed by the extent to which they had packaged similar ideas in different ways.

  5. Well, this will be my next post anyways, but here:

    If you own any of the popular parenting books, get that. If you don’t, go buy one, don’t borrow it. Now, reading the book by some parenting guru, some best-selling authority (the one we had when our kids were young was “kids are worth it!” by Barbara Coloroso), do all the good positive stuff in it and ignore all the crap about discipline and structure.

    That should do it.

    Look for keywords: discipline, structure, consequences, responsibility, ownership, limits, find the parts with words like that – and rip those pages out. (Actually, on second thought, borrow one. Borrow as many as you can find, buy as many as you can afford, then rip all those pages out and give them back, give the ones you bought to charity . . . ) Of course, ‘punishment’ is on that list, it goes without saying. I want to add ‘boundaries’ to that list, but it’s just possible that some of these books might actually acknowledge the child’s boundaries and suggest that we respect those. If that is the case, then that would be part of the good stuff.

    . . . and that’s what I think about THAT.

  6. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!
    I just re-read this post and completely understand why it was selected. I often refer to parenting advice as “scare tactics” and “mom marketing/exploiting”. Buzz words in general annoy me so every time I hear someone ask if I’m going to Ferber my sleep resistant child, I want to smash my sleep deprived head off of theirs. Ugh. Please, for the love of God people, stop convincing yourself that “wearing your baby” will make him not chuck hard objects at your head when he is moving to the dark side around age 2.

    Good stuff here girl. And I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by your f bomb. I too am a fan. It’s like chocolate and cheese, it just makes life better.

  7. New brain research states that adolescent brains do not stop developing until mid twenties. Impulsivity, emotional reactivity, lack of productivity….no one is perfect. Moms aren’t perfect, dads aren’t perfect, and kids are kids for a long time; much longer than we originally thought. So lets give everyone a brake and live to the best of our ability in the NOW. Nice post.

  8. I let my wife do the parenting while I earned the money. Today I have three great kids but I missed to many moments. I guess paying the bills was important and you can not look back.

  9. I like the last sentence of this so much, and how you ask yourself if you are helping or hurting their chances of growing up to be the best men that they have the potential to become. That, right there is pretty great.

    And I also know there are no perfect parents or children, there is a flaw in the design by nature. I think you simply have to do the best you know how to and remain reasonably conscious. All the best. xo

  10. There are a handful of parenting experts that I would apply to whenever I needed advice. Top of the list were my own parents. Parenting is a hard gig but it gets easier with experience. I have grown up sons and once worried about the same things that you worry about now. They have grown into lovely young men. They have told my husband and myself and my parents that we have been their role models. Can’t ask better than that, can you?

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    코리아카지노 우리카지노 ▶ JOWA9.COM ◀ 다모아카지노 월드카지노 썬시티카지노 에이플러스카지노 윈스카지노 정선카지노 태양성카지노 강원랜드카지노 핼로우카지노 헬로우카지노 핼로카지노 헬로카지노 바카라카지노

  12. Love the end of that. My husband and I, about a year ago, identified some family values, based on the question “Who do we want our boys to be when they’re grown,” and we have been living into those values for the past seven months. It has been an amazing journey. Your last paragraph reminded me of what my husband and I say before every discipline situation/teaching opportunity with our children.

  13. Like with basically everything in life, there is no correct, “one-size-fits-all” method of parenting. And you’re right, parenting has been slickly marketed in order to sell information to parents that they may or may not actually find helpful

  14. Now that I have three kids, my advice for feeling like the ” perfect” parent is to only have one child. I thought I just totally rocked at everything. Then God decided I needed a good dose of humility and gave me a set of surprise twins. If you ever need an understanding Mother go talk to a twin Mom. We understand ” things ” happen and there is not always enough of you to cover it all. You have to parent with an open hand.

  15. Reblogged this on The Marketverse and commented:
    Another facet of marketing that exists within a carefully-constructed web of information. A great piece. Thank you “4 Mothers”

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