Why We Love Our Kids Too Much to Settle for 'Whatever' Parenting

I let my boys choose their life. That’s how mama and I–that’s how we are, right. We just say whatever. We say yeah! Choose it! Choose your expression! Choose what you’re into. Choose your sexuality. Choose whatever, and you have my promise…you have my promise forever, to love you and accept you no matter what life you choose. Yeah!

Now there’s a parenting style worth analyzing.

This is looking like it is the next big thing in parenting. If fully embraced, it could minimize so much of the hardship and work involved in being a good parent.

Look at the options on the table right now. Who wants to become one of those obnoxious helicopter parents? To be a good helicopter parent means spending every waking moment attempting to clear all adversity out of your child’s life. How exhausting is that? I can’t imagine how much effort it takes to make the entire world play fair with your kid.

Then, of course, there’s the other end of the spectrum. Free-range parents. They’re lawbreakers, you know. Who takes their eyes off their kid when he’s playing outside? These people believe a child can learn to be responsible by doing things on their own. That’s all fine and good, but mom and dad can end up in jail over their kids walking to the park.

Now we have a new method; a simple parenting style I’m calling the “Whatever!”

This is a parent-friendly philosophy. It changes everything. I wish I had known about this when we were raising our kids. Figures, we’d find the golden ticket just as the last one leaves the house, right?

The Whatever parenting style is an easy one to follow. You don’t need a book or classes. You just have to say “Whatever! Yeah! Let them choose their life without your interference.” Think of the conflicts this will end in the average family. It will just plain solve a lot of parenting issues.

Take bedtime, for example.

My third child did not want to conform to a culturally constructed diurnal lifestyle. She was actually born nocturnal. From her very first night out of the womb, she was totally into the nocturnal lifestyle. Had I been more like Mikki, I would have just gone on social media and proclaimed my love, acceptance and devotion to her choice.

Granted, she wouldn’t have understood my commitment to defending her lifestyle choice at the time, but the internet is forever.

Yeah! If you’re into sleeping all day and playing all night, we just say–Whatever. Choose your lifestyle! Who wants their kids to conform to the rest of the world, or to the dictates of nature? Choose it!

Dinner time would take on a different tone, too.

Do you want to express your individuality by choosing what foods you want to eat? Mom and dad say–Whatever! Yeah! That’s how we roll. Let children be free to choose what they want to put into their own bodies. After all, it is their body. They should be able to make the right decisions. They won’t eat rocks or just plain spaghetti noodles forever — right?

Speaking of their own bodies, how much more peaceful would your family life be if you allowed your child to decide when to take baths? If I had just said, “Whatever! You choose!” my boys would have screamed, “Yeah!” Pretty sure our evenings would have been a lot more pleasant without bath wars.

Young kids are one thing, but can you just imagine how this philosophy would make life so much easier when kids get to the teen years? There is so much to choose from today. When I was growing up, all you could really choose is your hair color. Now, with this Whatever, you get to choose your entire life, including your gender and/or race. It’s whatever you’re into.

It’s easy to see what a teenager’s life could be like with parents who embrace the Whatever parenting style.

Choose it. We love and support you. Yeah. It would have been so much easier to just accept that our little girls weren’t into math. They told us they were born that way, but we didn’t believe them. Sure, we still loved them, but we totally failed to support their choice.

It’s clear now, that we made our lives as parents so much harder than they could have been. We didn’t embrace sleepless nights, poor eating habits, or willful illiteracy. We made demands on our children. We expected them to conform to our family’s standards of cleanliness and social behavior. 

Although my girls and boys played with each other and shared games and toys, it just never occurred to me that this was a revolutionary move. Maybe that’s why it never was.

Our 37-year span of raising children was hard. Apparently we made it hard. We wanted more for them than they wanted for themselves most of the time.

We set boundaries for our children and expected they would stay within them. We encouraged them not to just follow what they were into, but also taught them to look beyond their comfort zones and try new things. We wanted them to dream and reach for more than they thought they were, to embrace not just what they identified as, but what they could one day become as adults. We worked hard. We taught them to work hard too.

We never took the easy road when it came to raising our children. Nor did we ever consider the notion that a five year old knew what was best. Instead, we constantly fought for their future by resisting our human nature to just say Whatever.