Every few months there’s a parenting trend that captures the imagination of mothers, fathers, writers and publishing house editors. Weaning, potty training, sleep training… new approaches are tried, success is met with. If the method can guarantee success, is certified organic and has next to no carbon footprint, all parents will be on board for smarter, faster kids with great bowel movements.
But, pretty soon, someone will bunk the idea and say that their method (which is the exact opposite) can do all of the above, and makes your butt look smaller. Before you know it, entire movements have been spawned; aided and abetted by blogs, podcasts, clothing lines and non-toxic playdoh (which of course is essential to all good parenting regimens). These movements often have themes and names attached to them.
Vanilla ‘parenting’ is so 20th century. Vehicular parenting: helicopter, torpedo, unicycle. Animal parenting; tiger, kangaroo, sloth (that’s me).
Hashtag parenting: #HandsFree #Vegan #NoFilter #NoHashtags.
Of late parenting boundaries are being drawn along more traditional borders: nationality. The Chinese caught on early and combined country and animal parenting together. They scored a double whammy with Tiger parenting… but that one’s had its moment. Read on for trendier, less frightening approaches.
If you want your children to have a certain Je ne sais quoi, use the French as your role model. Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman was a runaway parenting bible hit. Apparently French children eat everything and sleep through the night by the time they are two months old. Even I can’t claim to be able to do both, so maybe I should buy the book for my mother. It’s never too late!
Last year, Time magazine taught us ‘How to Parent Like a German’. The Germans are proponents of Free Range Parenting. As with cows and chicks, allow your children to roam free and unsupervised, pecking at all that catches their fancy (as long as it’s gluten free).
Tired of ferrying the kids to after school activities? Take a leaf out of the Japanese’s parenting manual. It’s not uncommon for children as young as seven to take the subway by themselves in the country. (I think the Japanese should come up with Kon Mari parenting — origami fold your children and stack them away neatly in the cupboard.)
However, it’s the latest global lifestyle trend that’s spilled into parenting that I love. The Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ (pronounced Hoogah) is so big, that we can expect no less than nine imminent books on the idea this year. ‘Hygge’ is all about coziness — think soft lighting, smooshy bean bags, hot chocolate and rosy cheeks. Apparently a little ‘Hygge’ every night can go a long way in making life look like an Instagram post.
So last evening, I climbed into bed with my DVT socks on, a hot water bottle, a glass of milk and a new book. It was blissful. The kids? I went Kon Mari on them. They’re in the storeroom cupboard trying to untangle themselves from a pretzel fold. (My book: ‘How to Origami Your Children So They Don’t Get In The Way’ is coming to a good book store near you soon!) Konnichiwa!
(The writer’s parenting philosophy is: if there’s no blood, don’t call me)