Duct Tape Parenting Is Not Nearly As Bad As It Sounds
There’s a new parenting style in town; Duct Tape Parenting. It’s not as abusive/exciting as it sounds; it basically just tells parents to shut their mouths – you know, as if they were covered with duct tape. That way your kids can discover who they really are without all of your pesky parenting getting in the way.
Vicki Hoefle is a mom of five and a former daycare teacher. She says of her daycare students:
“Kids would come in on Monday disorganized and crying and weepy and fighting with their parents and by Friday they were more organized and saying goodbye and getting on with the day. And on Monday this cycle would start again,” Hoefle said.
She believes if parents would shut their mouths and let their kids “take a more active roll in navigating their own lives,” this would not happen. What? Is it bad that these kids hide their true selves to fit in with society aka daycare? I thought that my child being a perfectly behaved angel at daycare – somehow able to disguise his manipulative, semi-psychotic self – was one of my greatest parenting achievements. Kidding. Sort of.
Hoefle thinks parents need to get out of the way of their children. In a nutshell, we spend to much time making decisions for them and not letting them navigate their own lives:
“What happens is once they get up on two feet and they now have two hands, as parents we kind of step in front of them and say, ‘Listen, I’m going to take it from here, I’m going to tell you what to wear and when to get dressed and whether you’re going to take baths or showers and how you’re going to wear your hair and what time you’re going to go to bed, what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to eat it and how you’re going to eat it.’ And the kids are kind of pushed to the sidelines of their own lives,” Hoefle said.
This would be a typical day in my house if I let my kids do what they want. My toddler would wake up at 5 a.m., grab some gummy bears, and turn on the television. He would watch a marathon of Lilo and Stitch, which would put him into an abusive frenzy for about the first half of the day (Never let your young kids watch this movie). Then he would climb up the shelves of the fridge and reach a juice box. He would puncture it, drink about four sips, and grab a new one. Repeat about four times. Then he go over and spill some of it on his sister’s head, because it makes her laugh. There would be an extra element of excitement here, because while he was doing that she’d be chewing on an electrical cord – her absolute favorite item in the house. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details of the pretend-day.
The best thing about this style of parenting is – less work for me! So what if my floors are covered in sticky, dried apple juice and my son eats gummy candy for every meal? All of this “getting out of his way” means I can stream Scandal on my laptop and hope that my infant becomes bored with chewing on power cords before all of her teeth come in.
Clearly, I’m being sarcastic here. I think there is a lesson in stepping back, I just also think that a big part of our job as parents is creating boundaries and being consistent with those boundaries. As with any new “parenting style,” absorb the positive parts of the message – giving your child some room for independence and growth – and take the rest of it with a grain of salt.