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The Infantilization of Parenting


British author Alexander Pope was perhaps the first writer to turn a “bad hair day” into a poem—really, a satirical tragedy.  Modern Americans, bereft of a sense of humor and inclined to view reality through the lens of a selfie, turn their bad hair days into epic farces.

On the way to work in Washington last week, the ad at a bus stop asked me: “what would you do if your kid’s haircut turned into a brush cut?” It offered three options: lend the child daddy’s toupeé; get creative with glue; or try to convince Junior that sweatbands were making a comeback.

The ad went on to assure me that there are no perfect answers to parenting and, bucked up by that wisdom, I should not hesitate about becoming a foster parent. The goal was noble, the ad an attempt at humor. I wish them success in promoting foster parenting—kids need the help.

But I have to ask: are we so infantilized in our approach to parenting as the ad suggests?

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