Though the prevailing approach these days seems to be "gentle parenting," modern parents who attempt to validate their children's feelings were not raised the same way. As a result, they experience conflict between how they want to behave ("Let's take some deep breaths") and how they actually behave ("Don't make me turn this car around!").
Parents are expressing their frustration in hilarious ways on social media. Even a quick glance at TikTok shows that "first generation gentle parenting" videos have 520 million views so far.
The videos show parents' desire to stay calm, cool and collected even when they want to shout one of the following staples of their own childhood:
- "Go to your room!"
- "Because I said so!"
- "I'll give you something to cry about!"
These days, timeouts have been demoted to Voldemort status, and instead, we are supposed to sit with our children while they work through their emotions — which can take longer than reading the entire Harry Potter series out loud.
Sure, we try our best to communicate with our kids and open up channels for them about their feelings ... but man, after saying, "I know you're disappointed" 50 times in two minutes, all you want to do is scream, "I told you what would happen if you let go of that balloon!!!"
As two flight attendants watch and laugh at the holiday chaos that surrounds them, they spot a harried father and his entitled daughter.
Struggling to hold on to his child, the father says, "Your feelings are valid, but Daddy wonders if there's a more productive way to express yourself because we want to have a good Thanksgiving, right?"
"Screw you, b----!" the daughter says in response.
"Sometimes, you just gotta whoop 'em!" says one of the flight attendants. "Whoop 'em!"
Sure, you want to reason with your child and process feelings in a calm and emotionally intelligent way, but what can you do when your kid is asking for it?
Phelyna Ngu (or @thebossbabeexperience on TikTok) created this video that reads, "When I have to remind my children that I am the first generation of gentle parenting and we can do this old school if we need to 😂" along with a video of Vince Vaughn saying, "We can handle this sh-- like gentlemen. Or we can get into some gangster sh--" from the movie "Be Cool."
Children are the future, and we should let them lead the way and all of that, but sometimes it just feels cathartic to rage and yell the same way you were screamed at by your parents who were just doing what their parents did to them. At least in our generation, the threat of a wooden spoon was generally hypothetical.
But parenting in any decade can truly drive a human to the brink.
This video by @thatrelatablemama demonstrates the lengths parents will go to hide the madness by using a meme of a silently screaming woman with the text: "POV: you're a first gen gentle parent and committed to not screaming at your kids so sometimes you have to hide in the pantry and have a menty b before parenting."
A "Menty b," aka mental breakdown, does often feel imminent.
The Bump and @alexandramcfly posted a video of Michael Scott from "The Office" holding up a speaker while DMX's "Party Up" plays in the background with the famous line, "y’all gon’ make me lose my mind." The text reads, "Me letting my kids know that I'm a first generation gentle parent and they need to start gentle childrening because I'm about to lose my cool."
So start gentle childrening, people!
Times have definitely changed from when we were kids. One mom (@followingthefarrars) shows the feeling of realizing that it's a new world for modern parents. In this video, she shows her reaction to "When it randomly occurs to me that I have a 10 year old and at 10 I was basically trusted to raise my siblings alone. "
This clip from "Sixteen Candles" truly encapsulates a modern parent's inner monologue. @truffl3shuffl3 captioned it, "Me doing my best to gentle parent my kids." And in the clip, Molly Ringwald's older sister says, "Darling, is something bothering you?" in a soft, calm voice. Walking across the room, she keeps the tone the same but adds, "You're really acting like ... an a--hole."
Who better to express exploding feelings than a man in a "glass case of emotion?"
Amanda Moss (@pookagt on Instagram) wrote: "When I realize I'm responsible for teaching my kids to regulate their emotions, when I haven't learned how to regulate my emotions." On screen is a gif of Mr. Ron Burgundy, the "Anchorman" himself, shrieking, "Oh no! Grab the children! Save the children!"
(And in case you didn't know, "emotional regulation" is gentle parenting-speak for being able to control your emotional state.)
@Tank.Sinatra perfectly expresses the modern parent mashup of today's gentle approach and yesterday's authoritarian approach with this video.
He crouches down to a child's eye level and with a calm and measured tone, he says, "I know you're frustrated, okay? I know you're having these big feelings that you don't know what to do with. But if you don't shut the f--- up and put your shoes on, then I'm going to start having big feelings and I might start screaming, which is going to make us even bigger feelings. Isn't that scary? Yeah, so let's slip those crocs on, okay?"
Put. The Crocs. On. Children.
So if we don’t want to be the old school parents on the playground, let’s get it all out now:
"Kids, there are starving children in Africa who would love to have those Crocs. When I was your age, I didn't have Crocs. I had sneakers handed down from my three older siblings that were held together with duct tape. Money doesn't grow on trees, you know! if you don't put those Crocs on, you'll go to bed without supper every night this week. Don't make me pull this car over!"