Talking To Our Kids About Diversity

Kim Kinzienon-judgment, the '70s2 Comments

I love the ’70s and would happily return to those carefree days as far as parenting is concerned. There are many things, however, the ’70s didn’t get right, and political correctness is one of them. I will admit that I don’t love having to be PC 24/7.  Does anyone? Comedians sure don’t and, I won’t lie, one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes was ridiculously offensive to Native Americans.   Nonetheless, I’m grateful that my kids will grow up in a world that’s slightly more enlightened. Despite the fact that we live in a town with almost zero diversity, I’m doing my best to teach my kids that we’re all equal – the same, but different.   Judging by their reactions to people who look or live differently from them, I think my techniques are proving to be successful. This is quite a feat for me as a kid of the ‘70s who also grew up in a town with almost zero diversity and watched “All in the Family” on a regular basis. I’m finding that it’s easy with regard to sexuality and religion; it’s slightly more challenging when it comes to race, and extremely difficult when it comes to disabilities.  (I admit these are my shortcomings, and that is something I hope write about someday in more detail.) Does this mean I make … Read More

The Gifts Our Fathers Bring

Kim Kinziefathers12 Comments

My dad passed away right after my 21st birthday. Since then, Father’s Day has been a source of pain, and eventually ambivalence. Now that I have children and I’m forced (by society and Hallmark) to recognize the holiday, it’s making me reflect on what it means to have, and live with, a father. My own dad wasn’t really a family man. I don’t blame him; he was 20 years old when I was born and had lost his mom due to breast cancer a mere 3 or so years prior. He was just finishing up college and heading to law school in Washington DC, where he worked, studied and played father and husband – a role for which he was not adequately prepared (through no fault of his own). He was the type of guy who loved to have a good time. He always made me laugh with his quick wit and biting sarcasm. He loved to socialize, whether it be entertaining friends at the house, hanging out at his beloved “Club 44” or spending time with his numerous siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles at the family farm – life was one big party. The problem was, as his child, his life was one big party. All that fun didn’t leave much time for parenting (even if no one really … Read More

Mean Girls

Dawn Michaelfriendship, School issues2 Comments

As a mom, I look to protect my children from physical and emotional harm.  Physical harm hasn’t been a problem yet.  We live in a cozy, middle class town where break-ins are pretty low and violent crimes are few.  Emotionally, however, this town cultivates its mean girls.  I didn’t really understand how this happened as all the parents seem nice.  Am I naive?  Do these people propagate nastiness?  You see, for whatever reason, my daughter is drawn to these mean girls. These girls defy all the values I’ve been trying to teach my children.  Instead of supporting one another, these children rat each other out faster than a stool pigeon.  “Excuse me, Miss Teacher, student X(my BFF) just read.  Why should she get to read again?”  Or, your child forgets her homework and calls the mean girl for the assignment, “Uh sorry.  Gotta go.  Can’t help you now.”  What’s the right thing to teach my child to do?  Often, I scream, “Make new friends!  Play with other kids!  So and so is not kind and doesn’t deserve your friendship!”  Ths doesn’t seem to work as my daughter is repeatedly drawn back to this friend like a moth to a flame. By chance, I come across a book called,”Queen Bees and Wannabes ,” by Rosalind Wiseman.  It was as if the … Read More

There’s Nothing Better Than Being a Middle-Aged Woman. So there.

Kim Kinzieaging, older parents, the '70sLeave a Comment

This is the third, and final installment, on my series on aging. About ten years ago, a friend forwarded to me a NY Times article with the subject line: “isn’t this great?” The article talked about the fact that today’s 30 and 40 somethings no longer relegate themselves to being boring suburbanites who get thick in the middle and wear frumpy clothes. These new age middle-agers are hip and cool, and, unlike their 20 something counterparts, have the money to sustain the lifestyle, able to afford those trendy $400 jeans and tickets to the small venue Def Cab for Cutie show.   Coolness lives on, despite ones age. (Looking back, I believe this article was foreshadowing the hipster movement). For my friend who felt that aging and being uncool were synonymous, this article was like a beacon of hope. For me, however, this was my worst nightmare, as my favorite thing about aging is the fact that, each year I care less and less about other’s perceptions of me.   I’m not cool – never have been – and I thought I could finally stop pretending. Damn you New York Times! The pretense began for me at a painfully young age; 1977 to be exact, when everyone in school loved the band “Kiss.” I couldn’t name any song they sang and was … Read More

Summer: A Great Time to Exploit, I Mean Make, New Friends

Kim Kinziefriendship, non-judgment, summer6 Comments

Last year I started out excited and optimistic for a fun-filled summer, but ended up broke, overweight and miserable, literally counting down the hours until that first day of school.   This year I’m more realistic. I know summer will be like running a marathon. Those first few miles are pure bliss, when you feel like you could run forever. As the miles tick by, you gently move from mild exhaustion to “holy shit – I can’t do this anymore!” Then you hit the homestretch in which you’re dehydrated, delusional and possibly have diarrhea running down your thighs but you’re just too tired to care.   That’s summer with young children when you’re a stay-at-home mom, unless of course, you can afford 8+ weeks of camp. So how can we survive summer? There’s only one way: spend time with friends. You can’t do this alone – seriously – so if you don’t have a host of fellow stay-at-home moms with whom you can spend time, get out there and make some new ones. Forget about trying to find friends who are completely compatible; you’re in crisis mode so it’s time to start seeing the good in all types of parents – enough with the judgment and divisiveness. Here are some of the women you want to couple up with this summer: … Read More

More Fuel for Grounding Those Helicopters

Kim Kinziehelicopter parenting, our bookLeave a Comment

In our book and on our blog, we make the case for moving away from helicopter parenting and toward a style that’s less kid-centric, more laid back.  We recognize that it’s not always easy to let go and give up control, but it’s necessary for everyone. As we here at Conscious Unparenting note, taking a step back is best for YOU, so you can devote some of that freed up energy to taking care of your own needs as well as those of your kids.  As research shows, it’s best for your children to help them develop self-esteem, independence and critical life skills such as conflict resolution, negotiation, and dealing with rejection.  In case you need to hear it from the experts (as opposed to a couple of middle-aged women who seem to want to justify their time away from their families), here’s a new study conducted by Brigham Young.  My only disagreement with this article: the notion that “helicopter parenting is relatively uncommon.”  Not from my vantage point. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you’ve done to ground your helicopter.  Or maybe you feel a bit lost and need some help or suggestions on being more laid-back.  Comment here and we’ll write back. Please like & share: