Yesterday, I happened to attend a kids’ Halloween party with a lot of millennial parents around, and I can tell one thing after coming out of that party: Millennials are nailing this whole parenting thing. Seriously, if you ask me what I wished I had as a kid, it’s the joy of calling the shots.
But one thing many brown kids used to miss out on is their sense of agency. In the name of discipline, brown parents police kids to make sure they do things “the right way,” which often means missing out on the little joys and fun, silly moments. I blame it on the extra-careful, people-pleasing nature of boomers, but things are changing for the better. It might not be a big deal but I loved witnessing kids having more say in their choices – about what to eat, how to paint, or which activities to join in on. With no pressure. There’s nothing quite like the sheer happiness of having things your way as a kid.
So, the next time your 6-year-old princess wants one side of her hair braided and the other in a pigtail, just roll with it. Let your 8-year-old whip up a mint mocktail with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if their taste buds are feeling wild. And if your teenager wants to dress up in a neon yellow tee with even yellower pants, let them do it. There’s really not much on the line here. Stop stressing over the need to be “perfect” to please others. It’s just you seeking validation through your kids, and trust me, as much as you want to deny it, it’s all about you, not them.
No matter how wacky or nonsensical their choices may seem to you, let them have a few things their way, they’ll relish the taste of freedom and agency.
TL;DR: Let kids be.