Having kids and the fear of special snowflakes

Chew Toy McCoy

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Heard a couple discussions recently with people considering having their first kid and one of the top concerns was having to navigate the world of special snowflake kids and their militant enabling parents. I feel this is something relatively new and I can also imagine that being an overwhelming concern. So I thought I’d ask the parents or considering being a parent people on here what their thoughts or experiences have been with that.

Also on the people’s concern list was bringing a kid into this fucked up world, but one of them got a really good response to that. We need good kids to come into this world to help make it less fucked up. Might want to share that with anybody you know who is having the same concern.
 

Herdfan

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The helicopter parents (those who hover) and lawnmower parents (those who try to remove any obstacle their kids face) are pains in the ass. Kids need to fail to learn.

The best advice I could give is don't try to relive your life in your kids. It's their life. Guide them, coach them, teach them, protect them to let them become the best they can be. Don't make them into a mini you.
 
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Yeah the special snowflake thing doesn’t bother me. I have zero issues telling people to fuck off so other parents aren’t my concern.

I’m white. My wife is Thai. Our son has a lot of my features, including pale skin (compared to eg my wife).

My biggest concern is that the weird obsession/fetish Thai people/culture has with white people/white skin is going to have negative consequences, letting him get away with stuff at kinder, special treatment etc.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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The helicopter parents (those who hover) and lawnmower parents (those who try to remove any obstacle their kids face) are pains in the ass. Kids need to fail to learn.

The best advice I could give is don't try to relive your life in your kids. It's their life. Guide them, coach them, teach them, protect them to let them become the best they can be. Don't make them into a mini you.

I don’t know if it’s a common joke or a sad truth, but you do hear a lot about the proverbial parent who made sacrifices and abandoned their own dreams (realistic or not) when they had kids and as a result try to force their kid(s) to pick up that torch they dropped, or they feel as a reward for having them the kid owes them to be successful at a predetermined level. "I made all these sacrifices. So you have to be me now".

I wonder if given the option of looking at what lies ahead of them how many fetuses might go "Fuck that. Abort."
 

lizkat

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The helicopter parents (those who hover) and lawnmower parents (those who try to remove any obstacle their kids face) are pains in the ass. Kids need to fail to learn.

The best advice I could give is don't try to relive your life in your kids. It's their life. Guide them, coach them, teach them, protect them to let them become the best they can be. Don't make them into a mini you.

Yeah.... helicopter parents are a problem for everyone in the end.

student-teacher conference.jpg
 

tobefirst

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We need good kids to come into this world to help make it less fucked up.
I said almost this exact thing about my daughter. She (and all children) is the hope that this world needs.

We are way more strict with our daughter than my sister is with her children. We limit TV time, don't allow her to use our phones, read to her as much as possible, get her outside whenever we can, and are just trying to do a good job. And I'll be the first to admit, on here and to her, that I have no idea what I'm doing. I mess up as a parent and try to admit that to her when I recognize it, even though, as a toddler, she probably doesn't understand or care that much.

My wife is a teacher at a fairly affluent public grade school, so she is acutely aware of how parents' behavior affects their child's. We are trying to learn from those examples.
 

Herdfan

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I said almost this exact thing about my daughter. She (and all children) is the hope that this world needs.

We are way more strict with our daughter than my sister is with her children. We limit TV time, don't allow her to use our phones, read to her as much as possible, get her outside whenever we can, and are just trying to do a good job. And I'll be the first to admit, on here and to her, that I have no idea what I'm doing. I mess up as a parent and try to admit that to her when I recognize it, even though, as a toddler, she probably doesn't understand or care that much.

My wife is a teacher at a fairly affluent public grade school, so she is acutely aware of how parents' behavior affects their child's. We are trying to learn from those examples.

At the end of the day, you are going to make mistakes. Every parent does. All you can do is make sure they know you love them unconditionally and will do your best for them.
 
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I've been to a couple of gender reveal parties and, let me tell you, the people throwing the ones I've been to were not "revealing the extent of their insecurity," nor were they "trying to ward off even the smallest possibility that their future kid won't turn out to be cis." They were excited about having a baby and sharing a part of that experience with people they care about.
I agree what their perceived motivation is but inadvertently they do impose on their kids much of the bullshit society considers "gender-appropriate". Even the color choices piss me off. Like WTF makes a boy blue? Tetralogy of phallus? (bad joke). There's an element of Amaricanism in this too: make every thing so fucking theatrical. By temperament I deal with death (and I deal with a lot of it) with less exuberant emotions with people in these parties.

Other trans and non-binary folks understand just fine. Cis people? Not so much.

Again, yes, you as a cis person can read and consume what trans and non-binary people are writing and creating in their the experiences of being trans, and yes, you as a cis person can try to empathize with those narratives, but this cannot nor will it ever equate to the lived experience of being placed as trans and/or non-binary in a cisnormative world (where cis people, who are valued higher than a trans person as a default starting point, will never experience the interrogations, actions, and regulatory hoops taken against us… by cis people).




I and other trans people certainly know how the average cis person, broadly speaking, behaves, acts, and reactively adjusts their behaviour around someone they know is a trans person, yes. What this means is we see you, even when you don’t see us.




OK, Kevin.
I find your militance fun and often inspiring/enlightening, but if your goal is to increase others' empathy/sympathy towards certain viewpoints this isn't going to be a very efficient approach. (I suspect you know.)

Heard a couple discussions recently with people considering having their first kid and one of the top concerns was having to navigate the world of special snowflake kids and their militant enabling parents. I feel this is something relatively new and I can also imagine that being an overwhelming concern. So I thought I’d ask the parents or considering being a parent people on here what their thoughts or experiences have been with that.

Also on the people’s concern list was bringing a kid into this fucked up world, but one of them got a really good response to that. We need good kids to come into this world to help make it less fucked up. Might want to share that with anybody you know who is having the same concern.
One of the things I like to think about a lot is what does infrastructure tell about us. To give a non-related example, where I grew up, many buildings were built in the 19th century, before electric elevators became prevalent thus staircases are in prominent, usually central in building architecture and newer buildings follow these principles. You never have to guess where the stairs are. Now in the USA, staircases are so consistently hidden, the best indicator of how well you know a building is to know where the stairs are, better yet take them.

The same ideas apply to playgrounds. The way playgrounds were designed where I grew up was to have some central space where kids can safely play that don't really accommodate adults, and then put benches around that space so parents can take a seat and watch the kids from a distance. In the USA, at least where I live, playground structures have multiple 6-foot drops and are designed to accommodate parents who have to hover to make sure their kids are fine. In contrast, benches aren't positioned in a way so you can see your kids off of them. This is a reflection of a parenting style, or at least the expectation of.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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I agree what their perceived motivation is but inadvertently they do impose on their kids much of the bullshit society considers "gender-appropriate". Even the color choices piss me off. Like WTF makes a boy blue? Tetralogy of phallus? (bad joke). There's an element of Amaricanism in this too: make every thing so fucking theatrical. By temperament I deal with death (and I deal with a lot of it) with less exuberant emotions with people in these parties.


I find your militance fun and often inspiring/enlightening, but if your goal is to increase others' empathy/sympathy towards certain viewpoints this isn't going to be a very efficient approach. (I suspect you know.)


One of the things I like to think about a lot is what does infrastructure tell about us. To give a non-related example, where I grew up, many buildings were built in the 19th century, before electric elevators became prevalent thus staircases are in prominent, usually central in building architecture and newer buildings follow these principles. You never have to guess where the stairs are. Now in the USA, staircases are so consistently hidden, the best indicator of how well you know a building is to know where the stairs are, better yet take them.

The same ideas apply to playgrounds. The way playgrounds were designed where I grew up was to have some central space where kids can safely play that don't really accommodate adults, and then put benches around that space so parents can take a seat and watch the kids from a distance. In the USA, at least where I live, playground structures have multiple 6-foot drops and are designed to accommodate parents who have to hover to make sure their kids are fine. In contrast, benches aren't positioned in a way so you can see your kids off of them. This is a reflection of a parenting style, or at least the expectation of.

That's an interesting observation. When I was a kid (70's/80's) I remember there always being an air of "kidnappers are everywhere!", largely preached by the media. I remember at an embarrassing age I'd have my parents come outside just to make sure I safely made it next door where my friend lived. That was my insistence, not theirs. But I don't recall my parents or my friends parents watching over us like we were a precious rare diamond to be cherished and polished to perfection.

I also wonder if current parenting is based on the fact that success in life has gotten substantially harder with no relief in sight. I don't know exactly which generation, but it has been said that "this" is the first generation in a long time that isn't doing better than their parents. When I was growing up aside from temporary challenges and reasonable political disagreements there was no overwhelming feeling of "we're fucked for the foreseeable future!" and I have yet to hear anybody with any kind of respectable authority or knowledge say that isn't the case. At best you'll get somebody saying "we should hopefully make it through this" but that's just on one of the many "We're fucked!" scenarios.
 

Herdfan

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That's an interesting observation. When I was a kid (70's/80's) I remember there always being an air of "kidnappers are everywhere!", largely preached by the media. I remember at an embarrassing age I'd have my parents come outside just to make sure I safely made it next door where my friend lived. That was my insistence, not theirs. But I don't recall my parents or my friends parents watching over us like we were a precious rare diamond to be cherished and polished to perfection.

I also wonder if current parenting is based on the fact that success in life has gotten substantially harder with no relief in sight. I don't know exactly which generation, but it has been said that "this" is the first generation in a long time that isn't doing better than their parents. When I was growing up aside from temporary challenges and reasonable political disagreements there was no overwhelming feeling of "we're fucked for the foreseeable future!" and I have yet to hear anybody with any kind of respectable authority or knowledge say that isn't the case. At best you'll get somebody saying "we should hopefully make it through this" but that's just on one of the many "We're fucked!" scenarios.

Ah yes, Stranger Danger!

The one hope I do have for my daughter is that she is a plodder and a worker and doesn't expect anything to be handed to her. She is willing to work and it has caught the attention of both her professors and bosses.
 

lizkat

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When I was a kid (70's/80's) I remember there always being an air of "kidnappers are everywhere!", largely preached by the med

I have felt that a lot of the "hovering parent" syndrome spun off the highly publicized disappearance of six year old Etan Patz on his way to school in NYC in 1979. From the Wikipedia piece about him:

Etan Patz was an American boy who was six years old on May 25, 1979, when he disappeared on his way to his school bus stop in the SoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan.

His disappearance helped launch the missing children movement, which included new legislation and new methods for tracking down missing children. Several years after he disappeared, Patz was one of the first children to be profiled on the "photo on a milk carton" campaigns of the early 1980s.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated May 25—the anniversary of Etan's disappearance—as National Missing Children's Day in the United States.

Another thing though that underwrote "helicopter parenting" was the parents' perceived pressure to prepare their kids to do well in K-12 schooling, so to compete well for places in Ivy League schools, to focus on preparing for careers that would offer material success, etc. It's maybe hard to say when all that really kicked in, but surely it increased as kids became the vanguard of our consumer-based society, and so ever more the target of marketers.... and as the hours per day that we all spent in front of a TV set zoomed upwards.

Meanwhile more couples were electing to have fewer children, so even if we "love them all equally", there could be more of a parental hovering impulse when there are only one or two instead of five or six offspring.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Another thing though that underwrote "helicopter parenting" was the parents' perceived pressure to prepare their kids to do well in K-12 schooling, so to compete well for places in Ivy League schools, to focus on preparing for careers that would offer material success, etc. It's maybe hard to say when all that really kicked in, but surely it increased as kids became the vanguard of our consumer-based society, and so ever more the target of marketers.... and as the hours per day that we all spent in front of a TV set zoomed upwards.

That kind of dovetails into what I said about parents living the new economic reality. Previous generations your kid could be somewhat of a slacker or a dreamer and there was still a good to fair chance they'd have an ok future. Now your kid has to be a super motivated overachiever and there's still a good chance they'll be fucked.
 
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I have felt that a lot of the "hovering parent" syndrome spun off the highly publicized disappearance of six year old Etan Patz on his way to school in NYC in 1979. From the Wikipedia piece about him:



Another thing though that underwrote "helicopter parenting" was the parents' perceived pressure to prepare their kids to do well in K-12 schooling, so to compete well for places in Ivy League schools, to focus on preparing for careers that would offer material success, etc. It's maybe hard to say when all that really kicked in, but surely it increased as kids became the vanguard of our consumer-based society, and so ever more the target of marketers.... and as the hours per day that we all spent in front of a TV set zoomed upwards.

Meanwhile more couples were electing to have fewer children, so even if we "love them all equally", there could be more of a parental hovering impulse when there are only one or two instead of five or six offspring.
The irony is that I know a lot of people with Ivy league college degrees. If I lined them up, I could hardly tell who those were, except for a few with disproportionately high self-esteem, but even that is sorta random. A skill that requires hovering is not a skill, just an adaptation mechanism that is shed the moment hovering's over.
 

lizkat

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A skill that requires hovering is not a skill, just an adaptation mechanism that is shed the moment hovering's over.

I'd assume most kids develop skills their parents didn't intend when experiencing intense parental-helicoptering.
 
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I'd assume most kids develop skills their parents didn't intend when experiencing intense parental-helicoptering.
I've worked/went to school with a couple of prodigies. While they all became very successful and find them fun to be around, I do think they would have been equally successful without the hype.
 

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"Kids are great! You can teach them to hate the stuff you hate!" -Homer Simpson

Although I am a bit young to be thinking about having kids right now, I have thought about all this before. My parents didn't "hover", but they took an active interest in my education and paid attention to what I was learning and what I was working on (I had many friends whose parents barely knew what grade their kids were in). I would want to take a healthy interest, but I wouldn't force them into piling on the extracurriculars or keeping up with a hobby their heart isn't in anymore. I live in an area with a high percentage of college graduates (and those with advanced degrees). There is a lot of pressure to get into a top university here and the pressure has contributed to some infamous stories, such as the Palo Alto high school students committing suicide by jumping in front of the Caltrain or the college admissions cheating scandal (which affected a number of Stanford students). I think parents need to balance their involvement in their kids' lives with avoiding putting too much pressure on them or trying to live vicariously through them. I owe a lot of my current interests to my parents, but I also diverge from them in important ways. Of course I would be delighted if my future kids also liked classical music and reading constantly, but I'm not going to stop them from being who they are.
 
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