There is “parenting” and then there is bringing up, rearing, or raising children. The difference is night and day, and so are the outcomes, short- and long-term, to all concerned, meaning every single one of us.
Parenting is what the vast majority of American parents have been doing since the early 1970s. Its hallmarks include putting children center-stage; paying them inordinate, often fawning attention; being in near-constant child-oriented activity; and generally behaving as if the world revolves not only around but also because of them. Parenting is arranging play dates beginning in early toddlerhood; throwing lavish birthday parties every 12 months (beginning at 12 months); asking children what they want to eat, where they want to sit, and what they want to do next; talking to them incessantly and for no apparent reason other than to talk to them; dispensing effusive praise for every little thing they do; being a playmate-on-demand; helping them with their homework; driving them from one supposedly enriching activity to another; and going to great lengths to ensure they do not experience frustration, hardship, defeat, failure, insult, rejection, unhappiness or anything else that goes along with living an authentic life.
Parenting is the vain attempt to emancipate a child who is unburdened by any problems, deficits, weaknesses, shortcomings, faults and – needless to say – is guaranteed to never make any big mistakes. Parenting is hiring tutors, elite coaches and private instructors to remediate, accelerate, and cultivate. Adults who “parent” occupy the roles of mommy and daddy nearly 24/7 until their children leave home – the when of which is anyone’s best guess.
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