Ask the Expert: Why Should I Want to Be a Cool Parent
Why keeping your cool is very different from being cool.
I saw you the other day on The Daily Buzz and they showed
the subtitle of your book on the screen. I have what may be a silly
question, but how is "keeping your cool" different from "being cool"? I
want to be a "cool" parent, but I also know that it's not a good idea
to be best friends with your kids. Is there any way to be both "cool"
Many of us want to be a "cool" parent for our kids. We'll make lemonade
and have the best toys available, so that the neighborhood kids will
come over and play with ours. As the kids grow up, we'll maybe listen
to their music (and pretend to enjoy it), watch their shows on TV, and
even just "hang out" with them.
None of that is necessarily wrong, but taken to an extreme,
it can be misguided because most of us equate "cool" with "popular".
Instead, let's be the coolest parents we can be by looking at things in
another way. Let's make sure that we don't emphasize our desire to love
or be loved by our children by maybe overlooking some bad behaviors, or
trying to 'relate' to them by agreeing with or allowing potentially
Take teen drinking parties, for instance. Just last month,
two parents in Chicago were found guilty of child endangerment for
hosting a party such as this. Two teens left their house drunk and
crashed their car into a tree just a few feet from the end of the
driveway; both died from their injuries. These parents, and many others
unfortunately, interpret the idea of being "cool" the wrong way to the
detriment of their children.
At ScreamFree, we'd like to reclaim the term cool and we'd
like to redefine it. "Keeping your cool" is not about being the most
popular parent in the room. It's about being the calmest one, in the
midst of making some very unpopular choices in the eyes of your kids.
It's definitely not an easy route to take, but we're sure that it's the
better one. After all, won't it be nice to hear them to say when
they've grown up: "My parents were really cool. Even when I did bad
stuff or was going down the wrong path, they kept their cool, and
taught me the important lessons I needed to make it in life". So, to
answer your question, not only is it possible to be cool and ScreamFree
at the same time, it is absolutely necessary.