There is an emerging parenting style that’s ruining our kids and teens. The “Cool Parent.” It’s easy to accidentally fit into the “cool parent” category. There are also differing degrees or levels of inclusion into this group. I am going to discuss three symptoms, like most symptoms, the more you see the worse the disease. Hopefully you don’t see all three in your parenting methods.
So many parents just want to be liked by their kids. They want to be on the top five of their buddy list. It’s kind of a new concept, the cool parent. The symptoms of the “cool parent” are obvious:
1. They look and act like a teenager.
These parents like to dress like their teen and listen to the same music. Worst of all they like to always say yes to any idea that may sound like fun. Anything that everyone else is doing is a must. You may hear this parent using improper English even though they know the real usage. You may also see them wearing toms, skinny jeans, and a graphic tea. They look pretty “legit.” They’re bumpin’ the latest music and watching MTV reality shows. AWESOME!
2. They are popular.
The “cool parent” wants their kid’s friends to want to hang out at their house. Not so they can keep an eye on things, but so they’ll be considered a cool parent. Maybe the liquor cabinet is unlocked every now and then on purpose. “They’re going to do it anyway. Better it be in our house where we can keep an eye on them, right?” That’s at least what they say, but the reality is they’re breaking the law to look cool to their kids. It’s illegal, it’s irresponsible, it’s straight up bad parenting.
3. With popularity comes reputation.
The “cool parent” has a reputation with the teens as well as with the other parents. Maybe they’re the envy of the other parents. “If only my daughter and my relationship could be that good.” Or perhaps they are despised “Why can’t you be more like Kevin’s mom. She’s cool!” That’ll cause some dissension between parents and their kid’s right?
If you fit any of these descriptions, you may be a “cool parent.” If you are, I have bad news for you. You may not be a parent at all! Oops, did I actually say that? Oh snap, it’s on like Donkey Kong up in here. (See, I told you I knew teen culture.)
You’re not cool!
My own mom still laughs about the times I would ask her not to embarrass me when friends were coming over. She wasn’t intentionally embarrassing me, but she would always do something that mortified me. It wasn’t her fault though; it was my perception of her that was to blame. She was my mom, not a friend. All of my friends loved her, and that bothered me. Not because I didn’t love her but because SHE’S MY MOM. My mom is not cool! She’s the lady that gives me a curfew and gets mad when my laundry isn’t done. She’s the person who makes me drive my little brother to everything I do so he doesn’t feel left out. No matter what my mom did, she wasn’t ever going to be cool. Looking back on that, I think it’s how it should be.
We have to be ok with telling our kids “no.” I remember walking out of a store once with our middle daughter screaming her head off because she didn’t get some toy she wanted. When we got in the car I muttered, “How embarrassing,” to which my wife replied “I’m not embarrassed. We won! She didn’t get what she wanted. We carried out a screaming girl because we didn’t just give in.” She was right, we did the right thing, not the “cool” thing. Cool says “Sure honey, anything you want.” Right says, “NO, we can’t afford that right now.” Cool puts it on the credit card so my kid won’t cry anymore. I chose to do the right thing. not the cool thing. How about you?
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.