We all know “that” parent. The one who causes us to roll our eyes when they approach us at the picnic or the park because we just know—”it’s” all coming down.
We don’t want to be “that” parent.
Now, it’s not as if we should be paralyzed with worry about what other people think of us as parents. But there is something to be said for conducting your parenting self in such a manner that other people enjoy your company. With that in mind, I give you four tips that will help you become a parent that other people want to be around.
Tip 1: Stop judging everyone’s education.
Or maybe, let’s stop acting like the kid who can explain the main causes of the Civil War is somehow less enlightened because she was only doing what her teacher asked her to do and passed the test.
Maybe we should stop assuming that a kid who can rattle off state capitals is a genius. Maybe they’re just really good at regurgitating facts they’ve ingested.
On the flip side, maybe we can also admit it’s really cool that a kid can rattle off the state capitals. Can we do that without judging or worrying that our kid can’t? Or, as the case may be, can we do it without bragging that our kid can do it faster?
Maybe…we could just let the kids learn?
Tip 2: Stop taking credit for everything your kids know and do.
With today’s technology, kids can learn just about any skill or find out any fact by googling it on their device of choice. Perhaps we as parents and educators should stop taking credit for things our kids own the credit for?
As parents, we should spend time pondering the real ways we are important to our kids—and then let go of the many ways that our kids thrive or fail that have nothing to do with us.
Tip 3: Understand that things change—even what you believe right now.
Let’s get really comfy with the fact that the things you believe right now with all your heart might be completely different a year from now.
Fifteen years ago, I didn’t even know that homeschooling was a thing. Nine years ago I would have swore up and down that my kids would be raised in an almost completely screen-free home. Two weeks ago, I would have told you I would never become a nut about fitness and healthy eating.
Things change, y’all. Stay humble.
Tip 4: You can only see things from one perspective if you stay huddled in your corner.
Something our kids (and other people) should be able to learn from us is that it’s not impossible to have a completely normal adult conversation with someone who is different from us. Are you modeling this? Can we all be brave enough to stop hanging around people who are carbon copies of ourselves because it’s somehow safer than having a conversation with someone who might disagree?
Can we find it within ourselves to question the way it’s always been done? Can we find it in ourselves to respect those who can’t or won’t? Can we simply accept the fact that people have their own reasons for doing what they do?
I hope that someday we can all be honest and start calling things what they are. And I hope that someday we will all have had enough of the competition between parents—enough so that the competition comes to an end.
I mean, stop for a second. Do you know what we’re doing with our kids? This thing we are doing is called life. It’s just life. That’s all it is.
So let’s be real. Let’s sit here together without judgement or complaint or comparisons. Let’s come together without acting like the way we do things is The Only Way That Works To Do Things.
Can we do that? Can we use these tips and become the kind of parent that other people want to be around? I think it’s worth a try.