Make Parenting against Culture; a Mantra for the New Year

By Sultan, Aisha | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Make Parenting against Culture; a Mantra for the New Year


Sultan, Aisha, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The fundamental test of wills between parents and children hasnt changed. But the ground rules may have.

Previous generations have worried about changing social values for as long as there have been young people to socialize and judge. But our young peoples lives have a murkier terrain than ours did: They consume more media in more ways than any generation prior. They are both hyperconnected and more isolated. They flourish in ways we didnt, yet struggle with skills we took for granted.

As parents, we must ask: Does all their media-laced time create an outsized influence of the most corrosive elements of pop culture? Does every new technology, such as self-destructing instant messages that experts tell us will be used by tweens and teens primarily for sexting, make our job even harder? Our children are growing up in a relentless barrage of messages more pervasive than the ones that blanketed us as children.

So, too often, we feel we are parenting against the worst of what we see around us. We are parenting against the bad behavior we read about and watch constantly.

Its harder to parent against culture. It takes more self- discipline and effort at a time when we are managing more work and more demands than ever.

But this is the type of parenting that gives us a chance at raising the sort of humans we want our children to become.

Parenting against culture should become our mantra, repeated to ourselves during the moments when it seems so much easier to give in. Because this is what it really means:

When you tell your child that her tone is unacceptable and make her apologize, you are parenting against disrespect.

When you insist your children clean up their messes, wherever they have made them, you are parenting against unaccountability.

When you teach your child how to stand up to a bully picking on another child, you are parenting against apathy.

When you talk respectfully to people with different views within earshot of your child, you are parenting against incivility.

When you admonish your child to work harder when he gets a bad grade, you are parenting against entitlement. …

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