Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why JCK's parenting is SUPERIOR

Can a regimen of free falling, no homework, harmonizing on pots and pans, and hours of independent play create happy kids? And what happens when they thrive?.

A lot of people wonder how JCK raises such stereotypical free spirited kids. They ponder what JCK does to foster such free spirited geniuses and fun loving prodigies, what it's like inside the Motherscribe family, and whether they could do it too. Well, JCK can tell you, because she's doing it. Here are some things her children, BOY and GIRL, are never allowed to do:

• attend a party at Chuck E. Cheese

• have a play date less than twice a month

• spend hours on homework

• complain about not spending hours on homework

• watch Mommy write or Daddy on Facebook

• stay up past 8pm for any reason

• declare Jack O'clock for JCK

• play any instrument other than the banging of pots & pans

• not play the pots and pans parental death march.

What JCK understands is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to explore, and children on their own always want to create, which is why it is crucial to override their preference for constant parental badgering. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where some Parents-from-another-Planet tend to give up. But if done properly, the JCK strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious play, play, play is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is overrated on that other Planet. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's climbing, sleeping through the night, not screaming or covering themselves with mud—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once really-fun activity really, really fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more at leaving the parents alone.

JCK can get away with things that Parents-from-another-Planet can't. Once when JCK was young—maybe more than 8 billion times—when she was extremely respectful to her mother, JCK's father happily called her "flower petal" in their native HummaHummaDingDong dialect. It worked really well. JCK felt lovely and deeply moved by what she had done. But it didn't damage her inflated sense of self or anything like that. JCK knew exactly how highly he thought of her. JCK didn't actually think she was too loved or felt like she wasn't a piece of rare chocolate.

The fact is that JCK can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Parents-from-another-Planet. JCK can say to her daughter, "Hey Cutie—how was your day?" By contrast, Parents-from-another-Planet have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "wealth" and never ever mentioning the f-word, which abounds at JCK's house. And their kids still end up in therapy for OCD and negative self-image. (JCK also once heard a Father-from-another-Planet toast his adult daughter by calling her "ugly and incredibly garbage-like." She later told JCK that it made her feel like.... garbage.)

Don't get JCK wrong: It's not that Parents-from-another-Planet care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up nothing to brutalize their children. It's just an entirely different parenting model.

There are all these new books out there portraying Mothers-from-another-Planet as scheming, callous, over driven people indifferent to their kids' true interests. For their part, many Parents-from-another-Planet secretly believe that they don't care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice them over open flames. Whereas JCK, seems perfectly content to let her children turn out as individuals and not automatons. JCK thinks it's a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. The Parents-from-another-Planet just have a totally different idea of how to do that.

JCK would like to give you a couple of examples of her "Parenting in Action", so to speak. Or, why her parenting skills are well... frankly, top notch. JCK knows that you are chomping at the bit...waiting for JCK to make The Reveal. And so, without further ado...

Why JCK's Parenting is Superior:

1) JCK lets her children take risks: On Monday, JCK got out of the shower, dried off, and got dressed. She was comforted by the sound of silence...until she realized that it shouldn't be silent, because it was a holiday. JCK rushed outside to find the side door to the garage JCK walked inside to find her daughter perched on a stack of concrete blocks, in the process of climbing up on the roof of the garage to join her brother...who was already ON the roof.

2) JCK teaches her children to fend for themselves: If JCK is not in the immediate vicinity, and one room away is too far a distance to find her, and her children are hungry...they will help themselves to snacks and water. BOY has learned how to vault the kitchen counter. GIRL, although by different method, is also up for the task. She will lift a chair double her size and carry/drag it into the kitchen in order to climb up to reach the stash.

Although, but two, very simple examples of Parenting Strategy, JCK hopes they will inspire you to new parenting heights. At this time JCK must go, due to her house once again being silent. Which can only mean one thing. Her children are yet again...reaching for the stars. Literally...

JCK would like to thank Amy Chua, author of "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior" for inspiring her to write this piece.

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  1. After hearing about "Tiger Mother" in the news recently I found myself growling behind grinding teeth and had some notion of writing my own response to the general theme of Hyper Parenting...but you've now done a stellar job with your own very funny take on it, so perhaps I'll leave it with you!

    Have had the time - finally - to read through several of your posts and have really enjoyed the read. Your "third person" approach is unique and having met both Boy and Girl in person, I get a special kick out of picturing the many and delightful antics of theirs that you memorialize! It'll be fun to keep up with you all via Motherscribe!

    And, BTW, I LOVE you steel locks, as you know!

    Thanks, Jennifer, for all your insider knowledge on these Adventures of Blogging and I'll look forward to continued evolution!

  2. Love this, Jennifer. I mothered my kids in a very similar way -- and damn, they're wonderful, funny, goodhearted, accomplished young adults.

  3. Amen, although I'd be careful about that Hey Cutie business. In some neighborhoods, that'll earn you some angry glares.

  4. LOVE this!!! From the things you've written, I get the impression I raised my kids very much as you are. And you know what? They like *each other*! They like hanging out AT HOME and bringing their friends OVER THE HOUSE! My youngest is 19, in college and the oldest is married with 2 little babies. And all my kids (even the married one) still love spending time TOGETHER - even if doing nothing else but playing board games.

    Thank you - for the ultimate response to the "tiger mother".

  5. I am sooooo with you on this one! I am proud card carrying JCK free spirit mama, too! But I am, to be honest, starting to enforce a morning routine. I love that my kids are brilliant and fun, but what's the point if they can't find their gdamn shoes.

  6. You must have a certain % of chinese in you.

  7. this is by far the best response i've read to that article.

  8. Lovely writing. My book club just read 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' and it's going to be the best meeting since we read 'A Million Little Pieces'. I'm an unapologetic manatee mom. That said, I do feel just a tinge of guilt that the only instrument my ten and seven year old's have gotten their mitts on thus far is a Sponge Bob ukelele.


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