Conscious Neglect

6 May

I have been lucky enough to raise my children in middle class comfort and have taken advantage of the many opportunities afforded me to expose and educate them.  Now 12 years into this endeavor, I realize I’ve made a giant mistake.    And with all the recent attention on “Helicopter Parenting,” I have decided it is time for action.  Therefore, in the interest of my children, I am hereby going to neglect them. 

Furthermore, I feel it is my duty to package up this concept and take it to my fellow parental compatriots.  Oh the stories I could tell of what is like on the front line in the war for greatness and recognition, ease and perfection for my children.   

I volunteered at the concession stand during my kids swim meets and witnessed a parade of parents overseeing their prodigies in the procurement of popsicles.   It usually went like this:  “Do you want a red one or a blue one…”  “Oh let’s not take that one, it’s broken…” “Better yet, how about a ring pop instead?”  “Can we see the ring pops?” 

I’d hand over the bucket and the mom would sort the pops out on the counter, inspect them all and chose two.  She’d then count out the money, give it to her child and then make a production of letting the child choose between the pre-approved pops and hand me the pre-counted money.  The prodigy was then prodded to speak; “Thank you” they’d repeat; to me or their mother I was never sure. 

Only one little girl came to the stand unaccompanied.  I knew she was down there when I saw her dollar bill rise above the counter like lady liberty’s torch. She picked out a cherry Popsicle all by herself, counted her 3 quarters change and left happy and proud.   All others were accompanied by their mergers and acquisitions team.

At back to school night a parent actually asked “How much of my son’s homework should I be doing?”  I laughed out loud; I thought she was kidding.  You could have heard a pin drop as my son’s 4th grade teacher responded to the rapt audience that, other than providing the time and space, the homework was actually the child’s to do. 

I’ve had at least five conversations with teary mothers in the school parking lot regarding their child’s unrecognized genius and lack of proper placement in the education system.  I like to shock them out of their hysteria by telling them that I’m pretty sure my boys are headed on to college…or rehab,   wherever their journey takes them, regardless of their second grade teacher.   I’m tempted to start a mediocre club at my son’s school for the 5 non gifted kids.

I could go on– and what we have to show for it?  A bunch of entitled, self-inflated, materialistic, highly-dependent kids; kids who will never leave the nest because they will never be able to afford cable on their own. 

Those of us in these shoes need to immediately begin neglecting our children.  Enter:  Conscious Neglect:  A New Parenting Paradigm For Raising Successful Children.

I envision a book deal, speaking engagements around the country, perhaps even starting a network of “Over-Parenters” or a support groups called “Over-Parenters Anonymous.”  There could even be a nation-wide program that connects “Over Parenters” to real societal needs.  

My new program, Conscious Neglect is the perfect solution.  It’s easy.  Just ask “Can or should my child be able to do this for themselves?”   If the answer even hovers near yes, let them.  In addition, neglect the following:

Neglect to interfere with your child’s consequences; neglect to do their work for them; neglect to make their choices for them; neglect to tell them the lesson they just learned; neglect to argue on their behalf with their teacher, coaches, other kids, or other parents; neglect to switch their school, classroom, coach, or teacher every time a problem arises; and neglect all homework, science fair projects and papers.

            The slogan will be:  “Just DON’T Do It.” 

For those who have a very difficult time with we could have electronic collars with tags that could be attached to virtually anything…like my son’s shoes.  I would receive increasing electrical impulses as I got closer to the shoes that are not mine to find.  Maybe I could attach the electrodes to my cellulite, thereby solving two problems at once.

 I realized the other day that my twelve year old has six more years in my home before he leaves, hopefully for college.   He will need to be able to get himself out of bed, feed and dress himself, get to class, do his homework, earn money, count change, make good spending decisions, make good life decisions and yes, perhaps even be able to climb a fence to avoid calling Mom from the office of the campus police. 

A call, mind you, I won’t be home to get.   I’ll be off spending the gobs of money I’m going to make teaching parents how to get a modicum of common sense.

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10 Responses to “Conscious Neglect”

  1. Mr WordPress May 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. Linda@USS Parenting May 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I enjoyed your writing style very much as well as your message. It’s sad to witness over-protective parents in our society. They are creating such harm for their children as they grow into adults.

    I found you through BlogFrog and am so happy I did. I think we have much in common in our parenting views. In fact, stop by our blog – USS Parenting…. my husband & I have a parenting advice blog for young parents.

    • katemorrisonwrites May 20, 2011 at 12:02 am #

      Thanks so much for your comment, especially on my style, I’m all chuffed up now! Truthfully, I’m ready to leave the country, but kids in tow, I’m not sure it would make that much difference to my sanity – do you think it would help theirs?

  3. Victoria Chasney May 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    Amen to this article, I couldn’t agree more. I have practiced this philosophy with my daughter and three step children with mixed results, of course! But my prodigies have moved into their adult years out of my home- (I pray) I believe I will also practice this with my grandchildren. Hooray to you!

    • katemorrisonwrites May 20, 2011 at 12:04 am #

      Hooray to you! Parenting is hard, but Step Parenting? Twice as bad. I wasn’t really prepared for either!

  4. youngamericanwisdom.com May 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Fantastic!

  5. bcm4u June 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on coffee machine. Regards

  6. bayanarkadasarayanlar February 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I am definitely enjoying your website. You really have some great insight and great stories.

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