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What is unparenting? Should you care? Are you going to be tested on that?

(By the way, about the title of this post. After the “the”, feel free to fill in the blank with whatever word you would like. I, of course, being Mrs. Perfect, would fill it in with a word like “duece.” On a bad day, I might say “heck.” But you would never, ever catch me ending the phrase with the “F” word. Oh, no!)


I heard the terms “unjobbing” and “unschooling” years ago. Interestingly, I heard about “unjobbing” first in a book by that title, in which the author explains how to make just enough money to pay the bills and not starve without holding down a regular job.

It would be a couple more years before I would run into the word “unschooling” and realize that the author of Unjobbing had coined the term based on the word “unschooling.” That word I was introduced to in the course of reading over half of the books on homeschooling that our local library had. The book was Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves. I subsequently read a book entitled Christian Unschooling.

(No, I do not unschool my son. Yet. More on that in another post.)

So I’ve been familiar with those words for years. “Unparenting”, however, is new to me. Apparently it’s new to the culture at large, since it hasn’t even made it’s way into Wikipedia yet. I discovered the term at Sue Elvis’ blog, Stories Of An Unschooling Family, where she recently published a post entitled “Unparenting Versus Unschooling.” When I saw that, I asked myself, “What is unparenting? What the heck?” (Yes, the “H” word, I’m sorry. But I’m in my PMS time, so there!)

Actually, Sue made a video and embedded it in her post. In case you’re too lazy loyal to click away from my blog, I have embedded her video right below for your viewing pleasure.

Be sure to read the text below, because I have more and different things to say on the subject than what Sue discusses in the video.

Unparenting defined. Maybe.

I’m not even sure she mentions the word “unparenting.” Does she? I’m too lazy busy to watch the video again to be sure, so if you happen to hear her bring up the term, go ahead and comment below this post and tell me where in the video she says it. Thanks.

Regardless, the scenarios she describes at the beginning of the video, with kids given total freedom to do whatever they want and therefore going wild and consistently making unhealthy choices, is the picture I got in my head when I said to my beautiful, intelligent self, “What is unparenting?” It sounds like parents who decide not to raise their kids.

At the risk of offending somebody, this is bullshit. I know, I know, Mrs. Perfect shouldn’t use such language. But “baloney”, as disgusting as that fake food is, is not strong enough to express how I feel about it. Neither is “bull feces” or “bull excrement.”

If you don’t want to be a parent, don’t have kids!

The decision to raise children is the decision to train them to become healthy and loving human beings. They cannot and will not do this themselves. They will not automatically know what is the best decision in a certain situation, because their brain will not fully mature until they are over 22 years old!

I know this sounds intuitive to my intelligent readers, but some people…well, never mind. You know what I mean.

Conscious Unparenting

After doing a (mostly futile) search in which I tried to find a definition of unparenting, I came across a book entitled Conscious Unparenting. I haven’t read the book and am not planning to. Even if it were more reasonably priced. (Sorry, I ain’t gonna pay $4 for a digital book that’s only about 100 printed manuscript pages.)

Here’s what I glean from the book’s description: conscious unparenting is how mothers mothered back in the ‘70’s, according to the authors. (I’ll have to ask my mom about that.) The premise is that you, as a parent, refuse to make your children the center of your world, and you take the time to make yourself happy.

Uh, yeah, isn’t that what’s called “healthy”? I mean, most authors of books about marriage (who are almost always psychologists) tell couples to make their relationship top priority. If the marriage ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Without reading the book, however, I can’t say whether this is all there is to it. Maybe the authors do believe in letting Junior eat Twinkies all day long in front of his X-Box and have a 2 a.m. bedtime. But like I said (goodness, I can’t believe I’ve picked up that overused Southern phrase!), the description seems to hint otherwise. Of course, they’re talking about conscious unparenting. So maybe parents who practice that philosophy are more responsible than flat-out unparenters. ?

So, what IS “Unparenting”?

You tell me! But the word implies an irresponsible adult who is too lazy to raise their children right, teaching them how to make wise decisions and how to be healthy and other-centered.

Strong words? Yep. Go ahead and get offended if you want.

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