Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vanessa Van Petten guest blogs for our Baby Blog!

 We will be posting guest blogging articles over the course of the week from Radical Parenting . Hope you enjoy the insight into our children's minds as much as we did! (it even helped us give perspective to how we relate to our own friends/family)

Teacup Parenting

We have all heard of helicopter parenting. You know, the kind of parents that are uber involved in every aspect of their child’s life and sort of buzz and run circles around them as they grow up.
I work with a lot of parents and kids, I hear from a lot of parents and kids, and I spend all day reading about parents and kids today. Something about the term helicopter parenting wasn’t fitting right with the kinds of questions and problems that parents and youth bring to me and talk about.
Teacup parenting is a much better fit.

I do not want to offend anyone with this post, I am just simply stating a trend that I see in the parenting community. Some of the traits of teacup parenting are good, and some, in my opinion are a bit scary.

1. Cherished Possession
Like a teacup heirloom, children are often treated as their most cherished possession. This is great!

2. Teacups Break Easily
This one is not so good, many of the kids I mentor and went to school with can break at any moment. When they do not get their way, like do not get a class schedule they want or cannot get driven to a place they want to go they literally crumble.

3. Once It Gets Chipped, It Feels Ruined
Many members of my generation feel the need to be perfect all the time. When something bad happens or do not get a perfect grade, they feel unworthy, like a bad person and ruined. I wish this was not the case and realize that chips and smudges build character and we learn from them, they are not to displayed prominently or tarnish your character.

4. Want to Display a Beautiful Set
There is absolutely nothing wrong with parents who brag and talk about their kids, but recently I see parents putting their kids on display like they are going up for auction: “Carrie is applying to Harvard and Yale, she has a 4.2 GPA and a 90 percentile SAT score, she plays tennis in the Junior Olympics, any takers, anyone? going once, going twice…”

5. Want to be like the Others
Parents especially want their kids to fit in and be a perfect part of the family and uphold all of your values. This is not always the case. There is a lot of pressure on kids to not only succeed, but succeed in what their parents want them to do. We need to be different, we strive to be different, we do not fit into a set.

6. Only Feed it High Quality Tea
Again, not always a bad thing. But many parents are ob.sess.ed. with the idea of only high quality, organic, positive energy, luxury, natural foods and products on, in or near their kids. Unlike a teacup, we do not get stained when we eat a big mac, and many kids are now afraid of regular food and have developed all sorts of crazy food allergies because of it.

7. The Quality Reflects Your Taste and Status
Teacups or a tea set often reflects the owners taste and status depending on the price and style of the set. I know that kids reflect on their parents, but if we mess-up, we mess-up let us get a little dirty and wear mismatching clothes if we want to, it is our way of experimenting.

8. You Do Not Want It to Leave the Collection
I have known parents to move to their kid’s college town or take an apartment off-campus for visiting times. Unlike a teacup, we need to leave the home permanently (some parents are looking forward to this day!)

9. Must Be Very Delicate with It
We fall, we get in trouble, we lose sports games we feel general ickiness. You cannot–and should not protect us from this. We need to feel those bumps so that when we grow up we do not fall apart at the first curve in the road.

10. All Teacups Have Essentially the Same Function
A teacup, although it can have all different designs and styles, is essentially just used to drink tea. Kids on the other hand do not all grow up to be mommies and daddies. I am now 23 and oh my goodness I cannot believe that some of my friends are deciding to get married and have kids (freak out!), but some others have decided they really do not want to have a family and are getting a lot of grief from their parents. We might lead a different kind of life than you and I hope this is ok.
Not everyone is a teacup parent. Are you? Do you know any teacup parents?

This article is by Vanessa Van Petten who runs RadicalParenting.com a parenting blog written from the kid's perspective with 20 teen writers. Their goal is to give parents a secret view into the world of kids and youth.

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