(Our Grab The Popcorn posts look back at the biggest Mommyish stories of 2014. Read them all here.)
2014 was certainly a weird year in the world of parenting trends. We saw so many new-fangled ideas for raising our little rug rats that would make a normal person scratch their head and go “uhhhh….huh?” I think it’s very telling that these methods are being attached to the word “trend”. As in, it should not be expected to stick around for longer than it’s 15 minutes of fame. Considering some of the ideas that came out of the woodwork of parenting this year, I deeply hope that is the case. Let’s take a stroll back through the last 12 months and examine the weirdest parenting trends of 2014:
1. RIE Parenting- for the parents that want to raise a teeny 60-year old. I will start with the trend that makes the least amount of sense to me. RIE parenting advocates think that treating children like adults is the way to go. They say it’s important to have adult-style conversations with your little one and to treat them with respect. Ok, I can be on board with that. However, a lot of the tenants are pretty extreme and I don’t really see the value in them. From the Vanity Fair article profiling the method:
”Children don’t need toys,” says Solomon. ”Almost all of the toys at RIE can be found in somebody’s cupboard.” No rattles either. According to Gerber, ”Rattles are an adult idea: you pick up something, and it makes noise. Why does it make noise? Because some adult put something into something.”
I am the first to admit that kids don’t need toys to be occupied but this seems pretty outlandish. Of course an adult made a rattle- everything a baby touches will have been made by an adult. I guess if you just take the good and toss out the bad, there are some lessons to be taken from RIE parenting but overall, it seems to be a passing trend.
2. Snowplough parenting- for the parents who want to sweep away life’s dangers and help their child achieve All The Things. This trend came to us from Extreme Parenting so I guess we can automatically write it off as a fringe parenting method. The idea behind it is to remove all obstacles for your special snowflake so they can succeed in life where you did not. That doesn’t sound at all unhealthy! Eyeroll.
3. 2014 brought the idea of Indigo parenting to the forefront and made us all question whether our kids were indeed glowing with a “deep blue colored auric field”. Oh, good Lord. Yet another idea from the geniuses at Extreme Parenting, the hallmarks of the Indigo child basically include revering all of their asshole-ish behavior and making sure the world understands that they are simply “special”. Sounds great, can’t wait to see what kinds of adults this “trend” will one day yield.
4. Body-positive parenting sounds lovely but “vagina puppets” are not something I am showing to my kids anytime soon. From the term “body-positive”, this sounds like something most parents should be on board with. Why would I want to give my kids a negative idea about their bodies or anyone else’s? However, as it is portrayed on Extreme Parenting (that show is the gift that keeps on giving) it is not something we should be trying any time soon. As Maria Guido wrote:
”What we’re going to do, is we’re going to paint some vulva portraits!” says mom, as she makes a muppet voice emerge from a vagina puppet. You really can’t make this stuff up. This mom’s practice of ”body positive parenting,” really just translates into, ”I shove pictures of vaginas in my two-year-old daughter’s face all day and pretend that it’s normal.” Oh, sorry. Vulvas. She shoves pictures of vulvas into her daughter’s face all day. I don’t want to offend anyone who gets irate when people mistakenly call the vulva a vagina.
Yup. Not getting on board with this one. Ever.
5. Helicopter parenting is nothing new but it was taken to new extremes in 2014. This story of parents accompanying their kids to college when they “leave the nest” is incredibly strange to me. I mean, to each, their own- but this seems like the exact opposite of what college should be for a young adult. At some point, parents need to let go. I hope this trend doesn’t become the norm because I have no intention of stalking my kids to whatever college they go to and I hope they don’t want me there.