Let’s Judge the Other Parents, Shall We?

“I didn’t say I liked it. I said it fascinated me. There is a great difference.”

-Oscar Wilde

Because I know my wife and her love of car crash reality shows, I set the PVR last night to tape The Extreme Guide to Parenting which airs in Canada on Slice.

It’s a well know fact that your own parenting style is both well intended and well executed while other parents are all just batshit crazy who are borderline abusing their children. This show allows you to judge other more out there parenting styles from the comfort of your fake leather, cat-shredded couch.

I think the show has to walk a line between presenting unusual parenting styles versus something that would prompt someone in the TV crew to call 911. The children in the episode I watched may not always be well served by their parents but I don’t believe their health is in danger.

One parent believes her son, who has ADHD, is an Indigo Child and she practices aromatherapy to help him deal with it as opposed to, say, finding proper medication for her son to help with his symptoms. She tells a child psychiatrist that Indigo Children are going to change the world which is why they don’t have to do boring things like wait in line at the supermarket. Or something. She also focusses much of her attention on her son, to the neglect of her elder daughter. To her credit, her daughter calls her out on this behaviour.

Another couple refuse to leave their toddler’s side, even in the presence of a full-time nanny. When the nanny, who was the mother of one of the dads, quit on the grounds that they would not allow her to walk to the end of the driveway, they audition three new nannys and videotape them. It’s all very obsessive.

By the end of the episode, both sets of parents had examined their behaviour and grudgingly agreed to make changes to their approach.

So it wasn’t a total horror show. I think parents can all be guilty to some extent of living in a bubble and not considering other approaches to how they raise their kids. But people are all different and every family has its own system that works for them. But every now and again, it’s not so bad to ask if it’s still working.

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