I have a strange fascination with parenting styles, mostly because I parented without one for so long. Now I watch in awe and wonder as people hang their kids over trash cans, insisting that urging them to shit in a dumpster is completely “instinctive”.
In fact, you hear that word a lot when you’re talking about parenting styles, don’t you? Not letting your kid cry it out is “instinctive”. Wrapping their tiny bums in cloth diapers? “Instinctive”. Feeding them organic num-nums drizzled in a breast milk bechamel? So instinctive.
Which is odd to me, because I thought that most parenting was instinctive. Including the way I did it. After all, I had no one to tell me otherwise and no appointment with Dr. Google. Without help or guidance or a 50 billion page chapter book of woo masquerading as science with loosely defined psychological terms I had to just keep my kid alive, so I did. Instinctively.
Well, I did it wrong, obviously, but as I look back to see what kind of parenting style I might choose if I had to do it all over again, I am at a loss because none of them seem right for me. RIE, Attachment, Yes parenting, free range,sadly, even Pioneer Parenting just doesn’t fit the bill. So now I think I will just start coming up with my own and invite you all to choose one if you like it, for a small (miniscule, really) royalty fee of $99.99. I present to you: “NO” Parenting.
1. If your toddler wants to bite someone, tell them in a firm but loving voice: “No.”
2. If your preschooler begs you for an industrial sized-multipack of gushers and a tricycle in Target even though you were just stopping in to get milk, tell them in a firm but loving voice: “No”.
3. If your child has been silent for a prolonged period of time, do not attempt to see what they are doing. Just tell them in a firm but loving voice, “No” or shout it, repeatedly, while sprinting down the hallway toward them.
4. If your child is at a restaurant and begins to scream, make confetti out of saltines, terrorize the waitstaff, and serve as a living reminder of why birth control exists, tell them in a firm but loving voice, “No”. And then GTFO.
5. If your child threatens to hold their breath until they pass out when you refuse to buy them more beyblades/pillow pets/ice cream, tell them “No” in a firm but loving voice and then try not to laugh as they start to turn colors.
6. If, at any point, your child starts scribbling on the walls with markers, strips off all of their clothes in a Dillard’s, or starts being a tiny douche in training, tell them “No”, in a firm voice.
7. If, at any point, your child asks if they can “just see something really quick”, laugh and tell them “no”, especially if that something is particularly sharp.
8. Once your child learns how to whine, just don’t even wait for them to say anything; as soon as they open their mouth, say “NOPE”.
9. If your tween develops a taste for any kind of boy band or Axe body spray, and asks you to procure items related to these new unholy proclivities, tell them “no” in any tone you choose and then pray for this stage of hell and terror to end quickly.
10.When you find that your teen is smoking pot in the downstairs bathroom using a terminator they made out of a paper towel tube stuffed with dryer sheets, try saying, “No,” “Hell no”, or “No, you’re not slick.” Confiscate the pot for “disposal” and then ground them for an extra day for being dumb enough to think terminators work.