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“Everything changes, but nothing changes.”

New Parenting Model for the 21st Century – I don’t think so Fellow Toastmasters

I am not a biological parent, I have three step children, a sibling, a nephew and I have two parents, still alive. Plus I was a child once upon a time.

Caroline has indeed set out a well designed and supported case on behalf of her team for a new parenting model for the 21st Century.  I would expect no less.  My team will argue the flaws in her proposal.  We believe that it is wrong to dictate how anyone should parent their child when we know so little about the make up of any one family and the environment in which it exists.  We believe that no one size fits all. And we believe that everything changes but nothing changes.

Bev will cite historical evidence on which to rest our case and for my part I plan to contexturalise the argument. Let me first tell you the story of a teenager I know quite well.

In her early teens she was most often found sat with her back to the radiator in the hall, transfixed by a popular transgender story in preference to (in her terms) the stupid homework set by teachers who teach from text books. Or she’d read under the covers late at night to hide the blue light belying the pretense of sleep.

She’ll be on the phone to her ‘bestie’ who lives exactly four doors down the road for hours at a time.  Then, when that bestie got herself a boyfriend, she was distraught, abandoned, she took to listening to music for hours on end, earphones, on mouthing the lyrics to some seriously dodgy (not sure you can call it) music  by some gender-fluid artistic genius.  

When she started hanging out with boys herself they were tattooed, boy-racing idiots complete with sexual urges, drugs and … knives.

In fact there is this one time when she had a message from one such loser at midnight saying that Armindo had stabbed him.  Frightened, she did tell her Dad about it, Armindo was bestie’s boyfriend.  Dad called the police and forbade her to see that Boyfriend again.  It caused huge friction between the two of them as you might imagine.  

The thing is that this story was set fifty years ago in the late 70s.  The girl of course was yours truly. The transgender reading material was about a Tom Boy called George from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, the gender fluid musical genius, David Bowie.  The boyfriends, well they were just bad boy experiments.  And yes there were knives … even then.  

Kids of all ages test boundaries.  There are things to learn, mistakes to be made, limits to be pushed, independence to be found, and regardless of parental consent kids will find a way to explore.  It is the nature of evolution.  Biologist Van Valen coined the hypothesis “Red Queen” from the book Alice through the looking glass. He contended that populations have to “run” or evolve in order to stay in the same place, or else they go extinct.  The Parent–Offspring conflict arises from differences in optimal fitness of parents and that of their offspring.

Wouldn’t your style of parenting depend on the nature of the child, their physical and mental abilities, the level of natural intelligence, their schooling, the presence of danger, and a myriad of other influences?  Any style of leadership (and this is the nature of parenting after all) is dependent on the situation that the parent finds themselves in.

When we spot the parent chastising their child in the supermarket – who is screaming hysterically – what do we think?  We don’t know what has gone on immediately before, nor do we know any of the other circumstances surrounding the situation. We infer using our own experiences, knowledge and label the parenting on the unfolding scenario.

Categorical labeling is a tool that humans use to resolve the impossible complexity of the environments we grapple to perceive. The trouble is … labels change how we perceive people without taking into account the complexity of a given situation.  

If you had to slap a label on your parenting style, what would it be?  We have heard there are plenty to choose from, from attachment to out-sourcing and free range to French ­–­ and now Caroline’s suggestion.  I’m not so sure that any one of them works in any given situation unless the circumstances are ‘just’ right.  

In conclusion, we dislike the idea of adopting a prescriptive parenting model because when a situation or circumstance changes we have to adapt our style. Remember that it is the nature of evolution for there to be Parent – Offspring conflict, and therefore, the species will continue to fight the status quo. 

We appreciate the thought and work that Caroline has put into her 21st Century Model, but contend that prescriptive parenting is futile and what’s more it sets the parent up for failure.  After all, nobody, especially not a parent likes being told what to do.

Speech 8 from the Presentation Mastery manual – Persuasive Speaking.

This project focuses on helping you to develop and support a viewpoint, and identify the most appropriate type of persuasive speech for your topic. 
The purpose of this project is to understand the types of persuasive speeches and deliver a persuasive speech at a club meeting. This took place in an extraordinary meeting where four members delivered various speeches in the form of a debate. This is the first rebuttal to the proposal.

PS – did you like this? If so, please comment and/or forward to a friend?

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