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Enough with the Mary Poppins Parenting, All Right?

Note: this post begins with "recently" but it was recent then not now. Then was around March 2012. At some point, someone for some reason reported this post and the platform pulled it down. However, the concept is evergreen so I am republishing it!

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Recently on Facebook, a friend disgustedly posted another "how French parents are better" article (this one cruelly about how French kids have less ADHD and it's because the French parents are BETTER -- or so it read to a lot of parents dealing with this situation in their own families, and boy do I understand that POV). She was appalled, we were all mainly appalled. Though there was a slight thread of "maybe there's a point here...how can we have so much more?" running through it.

Feeling insecure about your parenting is pretty de rigeur for parents, I think. We are raising a person who will go out into the world, representing our family. That's the bottom line. I mean, we can quibble over personal responsibility and the level of influence parents actually have, as we all as variables that affect that, all day long. But bottom lining it -- we brought these people into this world and by gum we are always going to have and feel some level of responsibility for them.

Outside of some rare cases, I do not believe that in general parents advocate for their kids to get a challenging diagnosis of any sort just to get attention. Are the public schools in trouble? Oh yes. Does this prompt some parents to fight for special access to programs such as the academic gold star programs (leading some Gifted and Talented programs to be, actually, merely the A student programs -- which probably means it's more of a Bright & High Achieving program than GT)? Oh yes, yes it does. Does it prompt parents--who might otherwise not do so--to apply for 504s and other exceptions to give their kid a little space in an overcrowded classroom? Oh yes.

But. I think it is bollocks that bad parenting causes special need situations. It may happen -- bad parenting -- and it may cause behavior problems. There may also be a case of rush to medication. But, based on personal experience, I can say I have seen a very intense scrutiny and process by professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat special needs. That's anecdotal to be sure, but I stand by it. I think that good, loving parents make the very best decisions for their kids that they can.

Source cite that feeling of responsibility under our love.

I don't know every parent in the world and, unfortunately, there are some real humdingers. That breaks my heart. But I do know a lot of parents and, by and large, they try really hard to do their best. Always.

So that's why stuff like "go be more like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way" stuff makes me kind of unhappy. Parenting is hard enough. Who needs things that undermine us, and our confidence? Shame never sets a higher bar. What worse way to treat anyone than to constantly berate them for not measuring up. And yet, we as parents, live this daily, though cutesy inspirationally-intended little graphics on social media to well-meaning yet un-empathetic (and often erroneous and misunderstanding) advice from others, and from pithy parenting guides and articles to critical media judgments.

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