because they apparently think I'm a lazy, coddling, lying, creating-a-narcisstic-going-to-be-obese-and-entitled-child kind of parent. So, you know. Eff them.
I recently came across these three "you're a shit parent" related articles while perusing the interwebs:
The first "new" article warns parents of the danger of lying to their kids about concepts such as "the paci fairy," contending that we are setting our children up for a future of narcissism and entitlement. Because, I'm guessing, they think someday our kids will grow up to realize that we (let's clutch our pearls in horror, shall we) 'lied' to them to spare their little toddler feelings and will automatically jump to the conclusion that the rest of the world owes them a constant stream of the same sort of emotional protection? Okay.
I especially love the fact-based, scientifically supported wording of this particular paragraph:
"Parents who let kids hang on to pacifiers as long as they want tend to follow the permissive parenting style, which is linked to children growing up to be more narcissistic than their peers, according to Twenge."
With all the "tend to"s and "according to"s, without any real factual data to back this stuff up, how can NOT go rushing towards your cherub-faced little toddler and rip that paci out of their yappers RIGHT THIS SECOND?! Lest you unwittingly raise the next Paris Hilton or Tiger Woods. Narcissistic psychos.
I also really enjoyed (note sarcasm) Jennifer Shu's cold-turkey advice that "simply stating 'We don't use pacifiers anymore' works pretty well," as an alternative to the paci fairy "lie." Does that work for some kids? I'm sure it does; and probably really well & fantastic for those families. But assuming that all kids will react the same way (and agreeably, at that) to having such a major source of comfort yanked from their universe seems remiss to me. And in our culture, where parents turn to the "experts" for advice on how to do EVERYTHING, it seems unfair to both the parent and the child.
And really, let's talk about the great lie that is the paci fairy. Do we not also fall back on ideas/lies like the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus, or for my tribe, Hannukah Harry (awesome SNL skit)? I wonder if these same people who worry about creating narcissistic kids with the paci fairy refuse to take their kids to sit on Santa's lap at the mall. Do they simply toss their kids' teeth unceremoniously into the trash? Do they simply reject any of the "lies" we tell our kids to preserve the innocence of childhood and the magical tone of the milestones of their young lives?
From my perspective, the paci fairy serves two purposes. One, it does soften the blow of letting go of a trusted friend and source of comfort. And really? WHAT is the problem with taking the emotional well-being of your child into account if you feel just throwing a paci away is going to traumatize him? I reject the idea that my kid is going to grow up a spoiled brat if I take his feelings as a toddler into account. Reject. The second, and maybe, in my opinion, MORE important purpose, is fostering his sense of imagination. HOW is this a bad thing? When Ethan gave up his paci, we talked about the paci fairy for days---what she looked like, where she lived, what the card we made for her should look like, what Ethan wanted to say to her, how she was going to give his paci to a little baby who needs it. His imagination was alight with ideas AND he took ownership of the process---let's not forget, this was HIS paci to give up. Not only that, he got a tremendous sense of having done something nice for another little baby by giving his paci away (and how often does a toddler give a tiny rat's butt about his peers?)
To my way of thinking, the "paci fairy" is a tremendous opportunity for a child to be empowered, creative and take the experience of growing up into his own hands. You can read about Ethan, my apparently doomed-to-be-narcissistic kid, preparing for the arrival of the paci fairy here.
And let me just say here, TIME magazine, that the concept of the paci fairy IS a "cold-turkey" method of giving up the paci--she comes and takes it one night and POOF! no more paci).
The second and third articles rail against the lazy, coddling habit of co-sleeping, of course. The family-bed is called a "maladaptive parenting technique" and the articles contend that children who co-sleep with their parents will spiral out of control towards a life of obesity, sleep disorders. One researcher, who found that Asian cultures co-sleep at a much higher rate and yet manage to be intelligent and successful members of their societies actually suggests that maybe "Asian babies need less sleep," than their American counterparts. Um. I'm sorry, what now??!!
Please be sure that I don't judge families who don't co-sleep; I know that it simply doesn't work for a lot of people for a number of reasons, from kicky kids to simply just not wanting to share a bed with their kids. I've long gotten past the days where I cared one way or the other where people put their babies to bed or how they get them sleep at night.
BUT, I take great issue with "news" sources reported shit articles like this so that some new mother or father, happy in their family bed, starts to reconsider their decision for fear of "ruining" their children. It's exhausting enough being a new parent (or the parent of a toddler, preschooler, and I imagine elementary-aged, tween and adolescent) without having to second guess EVERYTHING from paci fairies to your sleeping arrangements because some fool in some article in some magazine says that you're a bad parent if you do X instead of Y or god-forbid you do Z.
Seriously, Time. You are on my list.