It’s the start of a new year I am looking ahead with excitement. What will be the hot parenting topics in 2015? What will we be talking about in the playgrounds and on social media? What will we be outraged about?
As the current affairs writer here at Today’s Parent, I know that I play a role in spreading that outrage, and sometimes I wonder if I’m fanning the flames, or dousing them with good, cold common sense. Probably a bit of both. So here, in no particular order, is my list of parenting topics that I do not want to write about in 2015.
Police being called on parents for letting their kids be kids: There’s a fine line between being a concerned neighbour and being a vigilante. Calling the police on school-aged kids who are walking to school on their own or playing at the park by themselves without finding out the details of the situation beforehand is ridiculous.
Studies that make me feel bad because it’s too late to turn back the clock and do it right: My youngest child is nine, so when I read studies about the “right” way to parent a newborn or toddler, the guilt can overwhelm me. But hey, if you are just starting out on this parenting thing maybe you can do it perfectly! Just don’t read the studies that come out after your kids are older.
Dress codes aimed at shaming girls: There were a rash of stories last year about girls being humiliated at school for showing their bra straps or wearing skirts. The implied rational for the resulting dress codes were that girls have to look a certain way because boys can’t control their behaviour around exposed skin. I have to remind myself that this actually happened in 2014 and not in 1914.
Security guards and store employees telling breastfeeding women to cover-up or leave: Especially at stores that have to do with breasts (I’m looking at you, Victoria’s Secret!) I will never understand why public breastfeeding is an issue at all.
Studies telling me my kids eat too much sugar: I know they do. Please don’t make me feel worse by telling me that sugar is the new tobacco. I get it. They eat too much sugar. We all do. They also don’t brush their teeth enough, eat enough dark leafy greens and or run triathlons.
Big manufacturers creating sexist toys/clothing/books: The question isn’t will I be writing about sexist products this year, the question is how many times will I be writing about it this year?
Tiger moms, helicopter parents, free-range parents: Labels, labels, labels. And once we’ve dropped the labels, can we also stop looking to other countries for their parenting methods? Kids all over the world behave badly sometimes and even their parents freak out and wonder if they’re doing the right thing.
Toy manufacturers who create toys with anatomically-correct body parts while parents freak out: I lied. I actually find this topic hilarious.
Women “getting their body back after baby”: That is my most-hated phrase ever. Their body did not leave, it created a human.
“Mommy wars”: Actually, this is my most-hated phrase. There’s no such thing. We’re all just trying to do our best and justify our own choices. Sometimes we judge others, but most often we are judging ourselves.
Kids getting hurt in natural disasters, accidents or through violence: By far the hardest thing I cover is when kids are hurt or killed. There are no words to truly describe a parent’s pain in losing a child. Or a country’s anguish when terrible things befall their citizens. I truly hope not to write about this ever again.
Unfortunately, I know that in the next 12 months I will probably be writing about most of these topics once again. I hope you stay tuned to see what the most annoying, recurring topics of 2015 are!
What were your most hated parenting topics of 2014?
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