Cry, the Beloved Adjective

Posted by Marian on March 29, 2002

In Reply to: Cry, the Beloved Adjective posted by Bob on March 28, 2002

: : : "Push parenting," a phrase from a review of "The Trouble with Perfect" by Dr. Elisabeth Guthrie (Broadway Books). "It's an unfortunate fallout of 'push parenting' that your high school student really can't take the SATs these days without taking some kind of preparatory course, Guthrie said." From The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.), March 28, 2002.

: : Why not "pushy parenting"? Would it be so hard to add the "y"? This sort of thing drives me nuts.

: I know it's *supposed* to drive me nuts... but I see a difference between the two. Subtle but perceptible. "Pushy" is a vivid perjorative, calling up images of whining, demanding, walk-over-others-because-I'm-Entitled power players. Pushy parenting would be about monster parents (of which there are a few...) But "push parenting" shifts the emphasis (maybe just in my mind) to the children, the victims of the crime, the pushees. The pushers may be over-ambitious over-schedulers, but perhaps with good intentions. They may believe everybody books up every available hour of a kid's week with lessons and appointments. In other words, they push (a parenting style), but they aren't pushy (a nasty character defect.)

It makes me think of "pushbutton" parenting. You know, just get the kid into the right daycare, the best dance school, the correct orthodontist, and you're home free. Parenting job complete.