Parenting fads come and go. In the past few years alone, we've been introduced to the ferociously competitive Tiger Mom, sophisticated and confident French mothers, and the naturalistic techniques of "Attachment Parenting," among others.
Such methods are often promoted as antidotes to the stereotype of modern American parents as hopelessly permissive, boundary-averse braggarts and tightly wound micro-managers who obsess over the minutiae of their kids' lives.
It's an unflattering portrait, to be sure.
But now another trend has arisen in answer to all the other parenting methods and manifestoes, offering a pushback against the very notion that raising children need be so thoroughly analyzed, organized and philosophically debated. It's the new anti-pretty-much-everything style of parenting.
In the past year or so, this new phase of anti-parenting has been introduced to us by way of some amusing and often rather profane writings. It started with screenwriter and playwright David Vienna's piece on his TheDaddyComplex.com blog that advocates the "Calm the [Expletive] Down" style of parenting.
Vienna suggests that every time parents begin to worry that they aren't supremely successful at parenting, that other children are learning faster than their own, or that their kids sometimes embarrass them in public, the answer is always the same: They must tell themselves to calm the you-know-what down, or what Vienna refers to simply as CTFD, which he assures readers "will guarantee your child grows up to be an exemplary student and citizen."
He's not the only one telling other parents to cool it.
Child psychologist Jasper Lambsharkssen's new book, "Because I'm Older Than You, Because You Have the Brain of a Squirrel, and Because I [Expletive] Said So: Why Being Friends with Your Kids is Dumb," is another entry to the anti-parenting movement, which apparently also includes a liberal use of profanity.
Lambsharkssen offers his tongue-in-cheek answer to parents who have failed to establish sufficient boundaries with their kids. It's what he calls the "shotgunning a beer" method.
Whenever children have unreasonable expectations because they've never heard the word "no," he recommends immediately shotgunning a beer, which he says will teach kids they're not the center of the universe while simultaneously satisfying parents' own needs.
"Shotgunning-a-beer parenting is going to explode as parents discover that it's the simplest way to take care of a complicated problem," Lambsharkssen told the New Yorker earlier this year.
There are plenty of others rebelling against parental hyper-management. On one blog I read, a dad offered his humorously mocking predictions for upcoming trends, which included making earplugs from baby's first hair cut, which could then by used to practice the "Ignorance-is-Bliss-style" of parenting.
Other parenting blogs routinely deride and, in hopeful terms, predict the imminent death of such parenting techniques as unrelenting positive reinforcement, the scheduling of play "dates," and inundating children with lessons and training sessions to try to turn them into little superstars.
At the same time, attention has also been turned to more unconventional parenting methods, such as those offered by sociologist Dalton Conley, author of "Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask."
Conley, who promotes a more improvisational, intuitive — some might say, wacky — style of parenting, famously named his daughter E and his son Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. E, in a piece for Huffington Post, told of growing up with a father who believes exposing kids to germs and cursing is good (again with the profanity), and a mother who rides tricycles in New York City and incubates eggs in her armpits.
"In other words," E wrote, "if you think your parents are embarrassing, meet mine."
Will this new anti-parenting movement take hold?
Many of us would like to think it will have some impact, at least to help us all relax a little and not treat every minute aspect of parenting quite so desperately. It's not as easy as it sounds. As a Newport Beach mom who has raised her kids in an intensely competitive, high-achieving environment, I'm as guilty as anyone of falling into an unattractive pattern of worrying incessantly about my kids' accomplishments and obsessing over whether they are happy and fulfilled. There are plenty of times I could have used a little more CTFD.
But it's going to take a lot more than just a few amusing books and blogs to stop the parenting frenzy.
Indeed, just as these anti-parenting scribes have been generating discussion, others have been making pronouncements about new parenting trends on the rise that would certainly help keep helicoptering and overindulgence alive and well. Among the predictions: the celebration of half-birthdays, birthday gifts for siblings, jewelry made from baby teeth and breast milk, and high-tech onesies embedded with chips that alert parents to the status of their babies' bodily functions.
Then again, considering the eww-factor of that list, the shotgunning-a-beer philosophy seems pretty good right now. Come to think of it, if we're all going to CTFD, we might need something even stronger.
PATRICE APODACA is a former Newport-Mesa public school parent and former Los Angeles Times staff writer. She lives in Newport Beach.