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Friday, 13 April 2012

Parent Tag - The game where the names never stay the same

On the subject of parenting, opinion is perennially propositioned; manuals abound and a litany of new labels enter the lexicon at a rate that as a busy parent, it's frankly futile to keep up with.

Further to the previously mentioned 'French Children Don't Throw Food', I recently read an article on Swedish parenting (Rachel Carlyle, The Times 24th March). Not content with cornering the market in flat pack furniture and crime drama, it appears that our Scandinavian counterparts have perfected parenting too. According to the report, amongst the forest frolics is emerging a new type of dad, 'latte papa'. Better family friendly policies for childcare and parental leave have percolated this pop who is freed up to spend time in coffee shops, baby in tow.
A frequenter of the odd coffee house myself, my observations suggest there is no equivalent in the UK. In fact it would seem that there are fewer labels for dads in general, despite a plethora of prefixes for mums and parents in general. 'Sexy domesticated dad' coined by Fiona Neil in Slummy Mummy is the closest that springs to mind but he is fictional and therefore disqualified from the discussion.
We often talk about gender non-equivalence in relation to sexism towards women but it is the men who are under represented when it comes to parenting tags. We have yummy mummy, tiger mother, alpha mum amongst others and plenty of generic parenting labels: helicopter parenting (recently responsible for the cancellation of an Easter Egg hunt in the States apparently (, blackberry parenting, laissez-faire parenting, authoritarian parenting and if another recent Sunday Times Style article is to believed, retro-parenting, which just goes to show how these things come round in the same circles as fashion. In that case, we just need to stick with what suits us and stop trying to keep up with the latest trends. The 'bucket list' for children under 12 published by the National Trust this week goes to show that the simplest ideas are often the best ( while Gina Ford's new contribution to the parenting game demonstrates how it's probably easier to make up your own rules than to pursue publicly prescribed practice.(

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