Thursday, March 30, 2006

Don't Be Cruel

I should have known by the title of the article that some of the contents would cause the hair on the back of my neck to rise.

The Buzz On Parents: You Thought the Kids Were Mean and Cliquish. Meet The Adults of the Species

The article centers on a new book titled “Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads” written by Rosalind Wiseman, a 36-year-old Washington educator whose 2002 bestseller “Queen Bees and Wannabees” deconstructed the minefield that is middle school.

The part I found especially interesting was the comparison between Boomer and Generation X Parents. Here’s an excerpt:

“How do baby boomer parents differ from Generation X parents in their attitudes toward conflict?

“Boomer parents want a feel-good answer that solves the problem with no messiness. They don't want their kid to experience pain. Their issues are more about not wanting to say no to their children.

“Gen X parents have a herd mentality which you really see when it comes to technology. They don't ever question why you shouldn't have it or whether it's a good thing for their kid to be using, like a cellphone.

“The one thing about Gen X people is that they feel like they can become experts on any subject if they read it on the computer. They go into the school and they have become an expert on anything. Their attitude is, ‘I read it, therefore it's true, and I now know more than you do even though you've been working with kids for 15 years.’ ”

Hmmm . . . For one, as a Gen X mom, I do question technology. My kids do not have cell phones—even the sixteen-year-old who has his own vehicle. (A truck that he earned himself.)

They also don’t have free reign on the Internet. In fact, I’m the one who has to type in a password for every site they visit to insure it’s safe. Am I the only one?

As for the “experts if you read it on the computer” part, I can’t really say much about that, since I teach my kids at home. I do research educational information on the computer, but I suppose that if I were to come up with something new concerning my kids’ studies, the only one I’d have to argue with is myself! (Talk about getting nowhere fast.)

Of course, the author does have some good points too, especially this:

“Parents should not act like everything is a life-and-death problem -- from a bad grade to not playing on the team to not getting a part in the play. If somebody is going to die in the next five minutes, then you move. If not, then you sit down and you figure out what you are going to do.”

One thing is for sure, with three kids (and three unique sets of gifts/struggles) life is too short to make a big deal out of everything. It’s something I’ve learned over time—something my dear husband has helped me with. In fact, I think it all started when my cuddly daughter still wasn’t walking at 13-months. I was horrified since my best friend’s daughter was walking at 9-months.

“Honey,” John said patiently. “By the time they're five they’ll be running around, talking, potty-trained . . . and no one will have any idea who did what first.” Wise man.

So what do you think about “The Buzz on Parents” do you think the author is right on? Off track? Or a bit of both? I’d love to hear your input!


At Friday, 31 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This part really stood out to me~

Gen X parents have a herd mentality which you really see when it comes to technology. They don't ever question why you shouldn't have it or whether it's a good thing for their kid to be using, like a cellphone.

So she think's we're basically a mindless "herd"?! I find that a little on the insulting side I must say! I think many of us question technology. My own kids use of the internet is very limited, they don't have cell phones or pagers (Or anything else like that & GASP my oldest is 10 already!).

I carefully monitor the use of tech. items in my home for the saftey of my children. There are millions of child predators out there & as parents it's our #1 job to protect them the best we can.

just my 2 cents,

At Monday, 03 April, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the HEATH section devoted so much space to this article. Rosalind Wiseman doesn't have any sort of medical, psychological or counseling degree. She used to teach an "empowerment" class at my daughter's school, and I found her "cute" labels a little simplistic and very hurtful. Making huge generalities about groups of people misses out on a lot of nuances and sublties among individuals. Anyone who tries to tell you that one group is "wrong" or "to blame" is not looking very deep. I'm sad to say that I think Ms. Wiseman has found a lucrative niche in labeling people and playing up to negative stereotypes.


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