Karaoke Parents


Kids need parents, not more friends.

Like karaoke patrons, who grab a microphone and try to sing like Barry Manilow did in the 1970s, karaoke parents attempt to sound like their child, dress like their child, talk like their child, and even be cool like their child. They hunger to be a buddy to their kids and emulate this younger generation. They somehow hope to stay cool and “hip” so they can relate to their children all through their young adult years. They’re at the forefront of a culture-obsessed notion with staying young.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong about this, I’ve seen it create confusion with children who wonder, “Is that adult just my cool older buddy or my leader and example?” More seriously, karaoke parents may not offer kids the boundaries and authority they desperately need. Sadly, children of karaoke parents often grow up needing a therapist at twenty-eight, angry at their impotent parent.

The problem: Karaoke parents often don’t provide their kids the clear parameters that build security and self-esteem. They want to be liked more than respected.

The issue: Frequently, parents assume the karaoke style because of their own emotional insecurities. They may worry about aging, struggle with the need to be liked, or feel uncomfortable with adult responsibilities. These adults rationalize why they do what they do, but in the end, the only remedy is for them to embrace their own age and stage in life. They must relate to the young people in an appropriate manner and focus on the kids’ needs more than their own. And the truth is, kids have plenty of peers. What they need is parents they can admire and respect.

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