How Not to Be “That Mom” or “That Dad”
There are basically two ways to be “that parent.” You can be over-involved in your child’s life; actually encouraging separation anxiety for them by drawing out goodbye’s by petting them and crying with them whenever you leave them at daycare.
Or you can be under-involved; letting your child run free in the grocery story, occasionally tossing them empty threats of “time out” when you get home.
Neither extreme is good. That’s why we normal parents do our darndest not to be “that mom” or “that dad.”
But this gets complicated because it’s no secret what a challenge it is to balance our parenting expectations with practical reality. It seems that to some degree, we all are “that parent.”
It’s necessary that I turn the question to myself: How am I “that dad?”
I am weird because I won’t let my son watch TV until he’s at least two years old. Plus, I am really strict about what he eats: No processed foods- that means no fruit juice.
Oh yes, what a cruel, demented, over-the-top man I am to keep my child from things I had when I was his age back in 1982. But I’m not going to change; I’m always going to be kooky like that.
So I guess I fall into the category of “over-involved.” Some of my critics could probably say that I am ironically depriving my child in a subconscious effort to declare my authority as an active and effective father.
Maybe I am. Because I don’t want to be “that dad.” I mean, the other kind of “that dad.” The kind I’m not. Or at least the kind I think I’m not.
As long as other parents are critiquing my parenting style, which they always will, I will always be “that dad.” I would say that I don’t care what other people think of me anyway, but I have observed that people who usually say that actually really, really care what people think of them.
It’s like a 14 year-old girl who says, “I’m so over him now.” No, no you’re not. If you were, you wouldn’t have to go around saying that to your friends, who are all wearing black Breaking Dawn t-shirts.
So in conclusion, I believe no matter what you do, you are “that mom” or “that dad” to the very parents who you yourself perceive as “that mom” or “that dad.” Get it?
In other words, the title of this post is misleading. There is no way to refrain from being “that parent.” You already are.