WHITNEY: My parenting skills won't make the news
There's a lot of ways not to parent, and there are a lot of examples of such circulating online this week.
Take for example the father who traveled to Africa to lay claim to a small expanse of land on the border of Egypt and Sudan. His motivation? To deem it his kingdom, name himself king and legitimize his daughter's dreams of becoming a princess. No, this is not a joke.
“I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true,” Jeremiah Heaton said when interviewed by the Washington Post about his conquest.
The articles goes on: "The next step in Heaton’s plan is to establish positive relationships with Sudan and Egypt by way of converting his “kingdom” into an agricultural production center as his children, especially Emily, wanted."
I'm sure that'll pan out perfectly. Try explaining to the people of Egypt and Sudan that you, an affluent white man from America, just wanted to get this land for your little girl and, ya know, like farm and stuff. It's worth noting that the picture of Heaton planting a flag atop a hill in what's now known as the Kingdom of North Sudan also shows kind of a barren, rocky sandy landscape devoid of water and vegetation.
I've written before about how bothered I am with the princess-ification of our daughters, but that's not what irks me about this situation, and neither are the rather expansive sociological problems associated with this kind of bizarre hegemony. It's the over-indulgence in the girl's fantasies.
For the record, a girl in my preschool class spoke up on career day to say she wanted to grow up to be a kitten. I'm sure her parents satisfied her desire with a set of Halloween cat ears until the phase passed, and I'm sure it did rather quickly.
I suppose dad's sentiments are sweet — the compulsion of parents to do anything and everything for their children is one I share, but I'm thinking I'll just try to help Olivia get into her first-choice college and graduate with minimal debt. The way things are going, that might be a feat on par with seizing a kingdom by the time 2031 rolls.
On the other hand, about a million other moms in my newsfeed who have shared a link to the column, "5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis, According to a British Nanny," which offers cautionary tips for not overindulging your children.
The British nanny claims "we fear our children," and illustrates her point with what she called the sippy cup test. If mom pours her kid a glass of milk in the blue sippy cup and her child demands the red, caving in and pouring the milk into the red cup before the tantrum starts is a sure indicator that mom is too afraid of her child to lay effective ground rules.
Come on. That's dumb.
Obliging your kid's request for a different color cup isn't going to result in a lifetime of her calling the shots, as long as you're not letting her choose her cup AND the colors for her kingdom's national flag.
There's a happy medium that can be reached between claiming favorite colors and receiving a country for your birthday.
That said, the chances of sensible, level-headed parenting practices making the news are unlikely. Even when I write this column, I don't choose to recount the days when we got home from work and daycare at 6 p.m., ate dinner, cleaned up, took a bath and went to bed at 8 p.m. It's not spectacular or audacious, and that's fine, but you're probably not going to read about it my column and, chances are, the Washington Post won't be at my door for an interview sometime soon.
Besides, I'm not fit enough to hike a mountain and claim it for anyone, and all the cups at our house look basically the same. And I'm fine with that.