3 Ways "Uncool" Parents Can Stay Strong

It's okay not to be cool
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There's a shift in children's thinking that usually occurs somewhere around the tween years. During that phase, kids go from thinking their parents are superheroes, to becoming embarrassed by their mere presence. That's when parents suddenly become "uncool."

And for many parents, being labeled uncool extends even further. Parents with strict rules are likely to be reminded of their lack of cool factor by other parents.

Some parents fold under the pressure from their kids and scrutiny from other parents and they try to become cooler. But staying uncool could be the best parenting move you’ll ever make. Here are three tips to help you stay strong:

1. Pride Yourself in Being Uncool

There’s a lot worse things to be called than “uncool.” And in today’s world, there are a lot of reasons why refusing to keep up with the trends could be a good thing.

In an environment where cool parents allow unlimited access to electronics, extra late curfews, and a free pass to experiment with drugs or alcohol, pride yourself on being uncool. Set limits, follow through with consequences, and don’t be afraid to say no, even when all the other parents are saying yes.

Write out a list of all the reasons why you're sticking to your values and turn to that list when you're feeling a little torn about what to do. Read over that list when your child is tugging at your heartstrings to watch that rated R movie or attend that questionable party.

2. Teach Your Child to Deal with Uncool Parents

Just because your child feels angry, embarrassed, or disappointed, doesn’t mean you need to change your behavior. Instead, use those situations as opportunities to teach your child to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

While it's important to avoid humiliating your child on purpose, you also don't need to follow directions like, “Drop me off down the road, so my friends won't see you.”

Be prepared to deal with arguments like, “I’m the only one of all my friends who isn’t allowed to go to that party!” or “Everyone else walks home after the dance!” Avoid lengthy debates and power struggles when your child tries to convince you that you're the meanest, strictest parent on earth. Stick to your rules and make it clear that his efforts won't guilt you into changing your parenting practices.

3. Resist Peer Pressure from the Cool Parents

Uncool parents often experience adult-sized peer pressure about their parenting practices. If your not allowing your child to do things that other kids are doing, brace yourself for phone calls and comments from the other parents.

Perhaps you’ll hear something like, “Sally says you don’t want your child to come to her party because we aren’t going to be home. Is that correct?” Or you may even get the occasional snide remark like, “We allow our child to stay home for the weekend because we know we can trust him. That’s too bad if you can’t trust your child.”

Don’t feel as though you need to give other parents lengthy justifications for your parenting practices. You likely have different values and their child may have different needs. So it’s okay to simply say something like, “We’re not comfortable with that right now,” if another parent tries to pressure you to bend your rules.

If you decide to allow your child more freedom, or you choose to change some of your parenting practices, it's important that you arrive at that decision after careful consideration. Avoid giving in or changing your ways simply because others don't agree with your parenting style, no matter how uncool that may be.

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