Our kids are being called, ‘the snowflake generation’ – lacking resilience and emotionally vulnerable, but you know what? It’s not their fault. It’s our fault as parents. We are parenting them from a position of fear. We are snowflake parenting.
When you go with your gut instinct in a situation, you usually make a quick decision. You don’t necessarily work through every possible scenario and consequence, you just react to your initial thought. You then will probably go about the rest of your day without it taking up much more head space. Brilliant.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how most parents these days parent. Parenting from the gut is a dying art and I blame Google, Facebook and Mumsnet.
Back in the day when you had a persistent cough or a weird rash, you’d get one or two people’s opinions on what it might be, and that may or may not have included a doctor, and before you knew it, it would have gone away. Nowadays we google the shit out of every ailment, so that within an hour we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s something far worse than it probably is.
It’s the same with parenting. We have a concern about our child. We voice our concern… to literally thousands of people online. We get back a deluge of opinions, many of which are basically telling us that our parenting is shit. We doubt our ability to parent. We wonder how we are even allowed to parent. We sit in a darkened room, lit up only by a computer screen and we worry and we are confused and we may even cry.
We are parenting from a position of fear. It’s making us forget what we really should know: that our kids will be ok. Because my mum didn’t breastfeed me and I am ok. I walked to the shops on my own when I was 7 and survived. I went up to London with a friend from the age of 12 without a mobile phone and I didn’t get lost. My mum didn’t care less, she worried less. She went with her gut and then carried on with her day.
Yet now we are parenting from fear: fear of what others might think, or even worse, say. Fear of defying the online majority’s opinion. Fear of being told by someone we don’t even know that we are a bad parent.
Fear takes hold and spreads like a wild fire. We quickly lose control and our way of trying to regain control is by smothering it.
We are smothering our children. They are unable to think for themselves. We would rather rescue them from difficult situations than watch them struggle.
They are delicate and so are we.
The snowflake generation can blame us for their emotional weakness, but it really isn’t our fault. The internet has stripped us of our logic and is leaving us vulnerable too.
In my book, ‘Raising Girls who can Boss it’ I address this fear. I talk about how we as parents need to have the confidence to let go a little. To give our children space to breathe in their own air and to exhale their own thoughts.