I recently read an article on how parenting methods have changed these days from helicopter to ‘third-child style’. The latter is a more relaxed style which millennial parents apparently favor, involving more outsourcing and not over-scheduling the kids. (As a self-confessed lazy parent, this just sounds like regular parenting to me). Then I read another article on an even more minimalist approach, which made me LOL (literally). It was the ‘CTFD’ method, meaning Calm The F*** Down. (‘Scuse the French). Paraphrasing what it said:
Kids not on par with everyone else? CTFD.
Kids embarrassing you in public? CTFD.
How do you employ this method? Step 1: CTFD; Step 2: There isn’t any.
Hence I LOL’d (loudly) when I read the article as not only was it spot on, it was SOOO liberating!!! The author was RIGHT! So much of parenting is that!! Only when you CTFD do you begin to have perspective and see the things that really matter. An example was that your kids love you with all their hearts even if they don't yet know the alphabet. Word. I needed to hear that because I stress that my 2-year-old is mixing up English and Mandarin. Seriously?! CTFD.
So now, I joyfully employ this new technique in my ‘weapons of parentry’. Our two-year-old thinks it’s amusing to run naked from me just before a bath and wee on the floor when her training potty is like, just THERE?! CTFD, she’s two and testing boundaries! Seven-year-old’s room looks like she’s emptied her closet everywhere after a play date (she did)? CTFD, its only mess, if you can’t look at it, shut the door and get her to clean up later.
See? I’m totally rocking this technique after only two days of reading the article.
Then one day, our older daughter came home with a bus bully problem. After seeing red, then blue, then green, I waited to CTFD before deciding what I should do, not wanting to act irrationally then regret it. It was just before a week of holidays so I couldn't do much anyway. I discussed the issue with my husband, seasoned parents with older kids, and took into account our daughter’s feelings. Being off school allowed her to get over the issue and gave me the realization that whilst the CTFD method gives you time to get perspective, there were some things you could and should, maintain a healthy and ‘righteous anger’ about.
The Monday we got back from spring break, I went to the Person-In-Charge-of-the-Bus’s office. The next day my daughter came home beaming reporting the bus ride was pleasant. “And Mom,” she said. I beamed back at her, happy the situation was resolved. “I left my soccer t-shirt in the playground and it’s not at any of the lost and founds. You’ll just buy me a new one right?” I stopped beaming. I saw red, then blue then green. I waited to CTFD but also gave a Big Speech on carelessness and taking-things-for-granted.
Like I said, there are some things you just can't CTFD for!!
For more Dragon Mama columns, click here.