couples

Can you be a 'cool parent' and a good parent?

You’re only as cool as your kid’s think you are.

I must admit that I considered myself to be one of the cool parents. I mean, look at me? I make an effort to dress well,  I talk to my children’s friends and make them laugh and I let my kids get away with stuff.

“Yes you can use your iPods at the dinner table tonight but don’t tell Daddy.”

What I failed to realise is that anyone who thinks that they are a cool parent, isn’t one. Think you’re cool, do ya? Well, here’s the thing. The truly cool parents don’t even know they are cool. They just are.

And everybody knows it.

Being cool is the opposite of trying therefore you can’t try and be cool. And if you ever want to test this theory, try being a cool parent and see what your kids have to say about it.

I’m not even a little bit cool???

My son was talking about his friend’s mum and how cool she is and damn it, I just couldn’t help myself. I asked him, “Am I cool like that?”

He looked at me contemplatively, and said, “You’re okay Mum,” before continuing on with his sonnet of parenting coolness witnessed at his friend’s house.

"What I failed to realise is that anyone who thinks that they are a cool parent, isn't one."

"She let us have a food fight Mum, and he gets to play Grand Theft Auto. Why don't you let me play that game, huh?"

But I want to be a cool mum, I really do. I just don't want to take it so far that I damage my children. A food fight, maybe. But Grand Theft Auto. In your dreams son. Waaaay too violent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Apparently I'm not the only parent who has fallen victim to the desire to been seen as cool by one's children. I'm one of many parents desperately trying to befriend my kids as well as get them to clean up after themselves. And it's becoming a bit of a problem, according to the experts.

It's called trying to gain 'cool parent cred', according to the Washington PostAnd it's causing all sorts of problems. To gain 'cool parent cred' we need to do things such as:

Chime in on inappropriate conversations;

Rebel against certain rules set by school and society;

Be interested in some of the same things as our children;

Enable inappropriate behaviour;

Allow them to make messes;

Allow them to watch inappropriate movies and play inappropriate games.

"Madonna. Now there's a 'cool parent'."

Andrew Reiner - who teachers writing and cultural studies at Towson University - wrote in the Washington Post:

But there’s a problem with the cool parent moniker no one seems to talk about. (Well, many problems, really.) As someone who teaches at a large, diverse public university, I see firsthand the collateral damage that occurs from kids who are schooled in cool. And if there’s one thing I see, semester in, semester out, it’s that we do our children an epic disservice by modeling behavior that hurts them—sometimes with tragic consequences—in the long run. If we want to do right by our children, then we should cool it.

So it seems we have a choice to make. Do we want to be a cool parent, or a good one? Or do we have to make a choice at all?

ADVERTISEMENT

Here's the thing.

You can be a cool parent AND a good parent, but your kids won't think you're cool. They'll just think you're a bit cooler than other mums and dads. And that's the best you can hope for.

Do you try a little too hard to impress the kids?

US TV host Kelly Rippa spoke recently about her 13-year-old daughter Lola and how upset her daughter was with her at the moment because Rippa had taken her devices away from her because she broke their homework rules. Rippa says doesn't care that her daughter sees her as an uncool and strict parent. She told Wendy Williams, “I don’t think she likes me, but I don’t care. “I’m like, ‘I’m not your friend! I’m your mum.'”

So be a cool parent, but only to a point because trust me, if your kids think that you're totally cool now, you're doing something very wrong and you'll pay for it later.

The most you can hope for is to be a bit cooler than some of the other mums and I've decided to make peace with it. I'm NOT a cool parent but my son thinks I'm cooler than others.

That's enough for now.

Do you think you can be a cool parent and a good parent? What sort of parent would you consider yourself?

Want more? Try:

This is what parenting REALLY looks like.

11 things we've learned in 8 years of parenting.

00:00 / ???