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Why I don’t raise my kids “punk”

I was scrolling through Facebook this morning and I saw some pictures of my punk rock friends doing punk rock things with their kids: dying their hair, going to shows, and kids decked out in punk rock shirts. It made me think about my own parenting… why don’t my kids do that? I think it’s awesome when parents share their passions with their kids, so why haven’t I?

I’m a single mom of two boys, ages 9&11, however, I co-parent very well with their dad. We are equal parents and equally involved in decisions about the kids. We get along great, and I’m proud of that. It’s better for everyone that way and I’m very fortunate.

I’ve played punk rock music in the house and in the car and the kids have heard it. They like some of it, tolerate some, and frankly hate some of it. I believe in a democracy, so since there are two of them and one of me, we usually listen to what they want which is Top 40. And, honestly, I like it! I can jam out to Taylor Swift and Lizzo. I can be the embarrassing mom tapping the steering wheel and singing along to Ed Sheeran. These songs do nothing for my soul. They don’t touch me the way punk rock does, but I really don’t mind it. (Now, if it was country or techno, that would be a different story and I would have to veto!)

My kids play sports, act in the school play, play the recorder (oof!), collect stuffed animals, watch YouTube, play video games and hang with their friends. In other words, they have diverse interests and are well-adjusted. They have different personalities, and I do my best to praise and encourage their individuality. They are still figuring out who they are.

So, they aren’t “little punk rockers”. At least, not at this age. They take after their dad a little bit more right now, who is, decidedly, not punk rock. I’m just glad they are close and have a dad who is involved. However, and this is a big however, I teach them what I believe to be “punk rock values”: individuality, compassion, kindness, empathy, emotion, respect, and love. As they walk out the door each day I say, “Be a good friend.” And when my son stood up for another kid the other day and was made fun of by the bullies, we talked about how proud I was of him for doing the right thing. Fuck bullies.

I’m proud of the young men my boys are becoming. I go to their baseball games, listen to Doja Cat, and volunteer at their schools. Occasionally I take over the radio and listen to what I want, but my kids’ happiness is what matters most to me.

I respect that my kids don’t want to dye their hair or listen to punk rock. I encourage them to be themselves. What’s more punk rock than that?


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