What’s Your Parenting Product Differentiation?

22 months.

What is that one fixation you have as a parent that you hope sets your child (your product) apart in a good way?

I’ve noticed that in my conversations and dealings with fellow parents of toddlers, we all seem to have some unique element regarding how we raise our kids, and therefore, have a certain expectation of how they will perform on their own.

For example, some parents are proud of the fact their child is advanced physically, being able to walk, run, and spin themselves dizzy before other toddlers of the same age can.

There are others who have been faithful to teach their child sign language since infancy, meaning that their toddler today has a more impressive vocabulary than the average Brayden or Avery out there.

I recently realized what my wife and I care most about when it comes to our 22 month-old son. Actually, two things: that he doesn’t have a snotty nose and that he’s not a brat.

The phrase “snot-nosed brat” is a familiar term in our society, with good reason.

Part of it is caused by parents making empty, theatrical threats of discipline, then not following through with them on their child. That’s one of my parenting pet peeves.

Our son Jack knows that if we say we are going to do something, then we are good on our word. We want to set a good example of integrity in our communication with him.

Time out means time out. No story before bedtime tonight means no story before bedtime tonight. “No applesauce until you finish your rice and beans” means… ah, well, you know the rest.

While it’s extremely important to my wife and me that our son has good manners and is well behaved, we also care a great bit about his hygiene, as we ourselves are pretty obsessed with being clean.

I guarantee you that you will never see Jack with a runny nose, as long as he is in our presence. His parental clean-up crew is there to swoop in with a wet Kleenex at any given moment.

At least, that’s what I would like to guarantee you.

As parents, we all inevitably focus on certain strengths in our child that outweigh perceived weaknesses; whether those perceived weaknesses are in our own minds or in American society’s collective expectations.

So while Jack may never be the most athletically, intellectually, or socially advanced, we definitely aim for him to have the driest nose and the most respectful attitude.

At least we can have that much.

We hope.

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  1. by Zoe Alexander

    On October 2, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Hi Nick, I think we are pretty much all guilty of comparing our little ones to others and all children develop differently! But I agree with you, manners and hygiene are at the top with good discipline. Our daughter is not permitted to scream when she can’t have her own way (terrible 2′s)and surprised us recently with her 1st cold by blowing her nose properly with a Kleenex! She had seen me blow my nose and copied!!!
    Great post Nick – keep up the good work!
    x Zoe x Zoe Alexander UK

  2. by Susan

    On October 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

    My biggest hope for my son is that he is friendly and outgoing and kind to others. His father and I are both a bit socially awkward and terribly shy, and I’d hate for him to inherit that. But so far, so good! He says please and thank you, and most importantly makes great eye contact and engages others, and he is barely 2. I think he brings out the best in both of us, and we try really hard to set a good example. Also, he is a genius ;)

  3. by Nick Shell

    On October 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Zoe, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you can relate!