Some time ago, while I was waiting at the cashier of a grocery shop, a teen magazine caught my attention. The headline read ‘quiz: Are your parents super-cool or super-strict?’
I could not help myself but wonder if I would end up as a super-cool parent or a super-strict one. In addition, what is a cool parent anyway?
To answer this question, I started to search the Internet and asked other parents. And if you have read my last post on ‘10 awesome ways for raising confident and happy kids’ you won’t be surprised that I’ve asked my kids as well. Since they had their cousin over, I have also asked her.
The kids’ position
My son said that cool parents are fun parents. They go on road trips, find new adventures for their kids and do BBQs. They also let their kids play with their friends.
My daughter said that real cool parents are nice and fair. If they try too hard to be cool, they are embarrassing. She also thinks that it is not cool if parents get their kids everything and spoil them for life.
Their cousin thought that cool parents play a lot with their kids. They also go on trips with them.
To sum it up, kids associate a cool parent with being fun, fair and nice.
How to be a cool parent
Adding now my researched parent’s position to the kids’ position gives a nice collection of ideas on how to be a cool parent.
It’s cool to be natural instead of trying to be cool
Deep inside we all want to be cool parents. Overall, it is considered as something positive. I admit that when I saw the quiz in the magazine I wanted to be discovered as a cool parent.
However, as my daughter said, kids consider it as embarrassing if parents try too hard to be cool. Some parents think it’s cool to dress like their kids, talk like their kids and behave like their kids. Believe me.
It’s cool to spend time with your kids
Kids truly enjoy playtime with their parents. It can be playing basketball or soccer with dad, playing with the doll’s house with mom or playing a board game or cards with the whole family.
It does not matter if parents work a lot and spend only evenings or weekends with their kids. It matters that parents give their full attention to their kids. No checking messages, no being at the phone, no watching TV. Kids need full attentions of their parent on a regular base. Make time for focused playtime and fun time.
It’s cool to go on trips
The kids mentioned that going on trips with their parents is very precious to them. A trip sticks as a positive memory forever. You can go on an adventure trip, a simple BBQ or visit a fun park. Long museum tours might rather be boring. Although, there are some nice interactive museums where kids can have lots of fun.
When we went to Vienna, we visited the famous Palace Schonbrunn. Instead of walking through the full palace with all of its paintings, we went only to the kid’s part. There the kids had fun trying on ancient costumes and posing on a throne.
It’s cool to protect our kids
Kids like to feel safe. They want parents they can trust to solve their problems and protect them. Nevertheless, protecting our kids includes not allowing dangerous things and not exposing our kids to violence and adult scenes unless they are mature enough to handle it.
I’m always surprised if the same parents that used to feed their babies only organic sugarless food, suddenly let their 10-year old kids eat fast food all the time and let them play computer games until 5 am. We as parents should not ignore our responsibilities in an attempt to be considered cool by our kids.
It’s cool to be relaxed and find a balance
Being relaxed is actually the literal meaning of being cool. It is better to be relaxed than to be stressed out all the time and or to freak out about everything. I remember one time I received an email from school that parents should bring some food for a school event. It said there is a list and we should discuss with our kids what we would bring and let them sign in for us.
Immediately, I felt stressed. What should I bring? What will the others bring? Can I trust my son to sign up for the right item once we decide? When my son came home from school, he told me that he had signed me up for a fruit salad. He said that he knows that I make great fruit salads and nobody had signed up for one yet. I had stressed out myself for nothing.
It is actually not so hard to be a cool parent. We need to spend some quality time with our kids, consider weekend trips and road trips and try not to talk or behave as cool as our kids. As parents, we had our time to use our cool language. Now it’s time for our kids to use theirs. We just need to be fair, trustworthy and natural. Most important, relaxed.
About the Author
Ilka Emig is a passionate self-development writer, lovable scientist and mother of two funny, constantly question asking and knowledge craving kids. She is on a mission to motivate parents to relax and enjoy their kids. Ilka Emig is a contributor to KachyTV Blog and writes at http://simplyilka.com/