How to be a "Cool Parent"

This weekend we had Girlzilla’s famous Halloween party in our house, which has not fully recovered from the twenty some-odd party teens and the five girls who stayed the night. Looks like we’ll be doing it again next year.

So in the process of pulling this thing off, I had time to meditate on the phenomenon of the mythical “Cool Parent” that every parent of teens in their heart of hearts wants to be. I have some rules I think will help those who wish to pursue this rewarding but foolhardy goal:

Rule 1 — You are not cool. Remember that.

Seems a little counterintuitive, but it’s true. You are old. There is no way you will be cool. Cool is something you can only attain if you do not seek it. You may only be able to fake it for a few hours at a time. In fact I suspect that authentically cool people only fake it for a few hours at a time themselves.

Rule 2 — Enforce the rules.

Kids expect you as a parent to set boundaries and enforce them. If you let them get away with stuff because you want them to like you, that’s very lame.

Rule 3 — Remember what you were like when you were that age.

And plan activities accordingly. Accuracy is very important here. A few years off in either direction can be a disaster.

Rule 4 — Talk to the kids with respect.

Most teens, like most adults, like to talk about themselves. If you can get them on their subject and not try to lecture, teach, or pretend you know what they’re talking about, you too can have a one on one respectful adult conversation with a teen.

Rule 5 — Relish your old fogey status.

To a lot of teens, adults can be kind of one-dimensional. Don’t be afraid to be three dimensional. Be your goofy, nerdy, quirky selves. Go ahead, play the oboe, show off your spoon collection, wear dress socks with tennis shoes. If you are comfortable in your own persona it gives them hope that someday they can be so too.

Rule 6 — Short time span

This is key. It is much easier to be cool with someone else’s children because they’re short term. They will go home soon and you have no responsibility to raise them to be responsible healthy citizens. If they want to take the bowl of Halloween candy upstairs and gorge themselves in bed, hey, it’s just for one night. You can return to being the nutrition Nazi that your kids know and love tomorrow.

Rule 7 — Get Away

Find time away from children of all ages. Go be with people your own age. Teens all know the restorative powers of being away from the likes of you adults. Take a clue from them and find some much needed adult perspective.

So there you go. Sort of works for us. Of course having a brother who’s a Cool Uncle and a DJ helps a lot too.

One thought on “How to be a "Cool Parent"

  1. I guess we have to remember we spent our childhood developing to
    fit into our own generation. Don’t waste your adulthood trying
    to fit into your children’s. Keep the generational gap, kids
    will respect you more for what you can show them about your day
    in their own time

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